Sebastian Vettel claims victory in Singapore
German Red Bull driver moves 60 points clear with three races to go
Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Infiniti Red Bull racing celebrates after his victory in the Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images
Sebastian Vettel, almost inevitably, won the Singapore Grand Prix as he took another step towards his fourth Formula One world championship.
It was the Red Bull driver’s third victory in as many races, his third straight win in Singapore and the 33rd of his career as he extended his lead in the championship to 60 points with six races to go.
He won his seventh race of the season by over 32 seconds as fireworks and plumes of multi-coloured smoke illuminated the Marina Bay circuit.
No one else, it seemed, had a chance. Next came next year’s Ferrari pair, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.
Jenson Button appeared to have a chance of third place. It would have been McLaren’s first podium position of the season and the British driver’s 50th. But he was overtaken by Raikkonen a few laps from the end and then the British driver’s tyres suffered.
This is the longest and hottest grand prix of them all. But nothing, it seems, can stop the champion – not even the introduction of a safety car when Daniel Ricciardo, the Toro Rosso driver who will partner Vettel next season, crashed on turn 18 shortly before the halfway stage .
Vettel was leading by 10 seconds at the time. But after the safety car eventually came in – it seemed to enjoy itself for a little too long under the 1,500 artificial lights in F1’s only night race – the German immediately pulled out another two seconds on the first lap following the restart, and after nine laps he had extended his advantage to 20.4sec.
Nico Rosberg got off to a terrific start when the race got under way, sliding past Vettel on the inside but the Red Bull driver soon retried his position.
The most spectacular action on the opening lap, however, came from Alonso, who improved from seventh to third place.
Vettel, though, soon looked unbeatable. By the end of the second lap he had pulled out a lead of 4.1sec and that had become seven seconds after six laps. That opening skirmish with Rosberg was the only trouble he had all afternoon.
Behind Raikkonen came the Mercedes pair of Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, with Felipe Massa sixth and Button seventh.
1 Sebastian Vettel German Red Bull Racing-Renault 247
2 Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari 187
3 Lewis Hamilton British Mercedes 151
4 Kimi Räikkönen Finnish Lotus-Renault 149
5 Mark Webber Australian Red Bull Racing-Renault 130
6 Nico Rosberg German Mercedes 116
7 Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari 87
8 Romain Grosjean French Lotus-Renault 57
9 Jenson Button British McLaren-Mercedes 54
10 Paul di Resta British Force India-Mercedes 36
- Guardian Service