Alonso soaks up the pressure for supreme Singapore win
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso secured a supremely impressive Singapore Grand Prix victory this evening in a thrilling 61-lap race. Starting from pole position, Alonso was under constant pressure from fellow front row starter Sebastian Vettel but soaked it all up to take a memorable win.
Despite a sub-standard start, Alonso kept his lead off the line by moving aggressively across the track to block the fast-starting Vettel, and quickly settled into a rythm at the front of the field. The emergence of the safety car on lap 3 to clear Liuzzi's abandoned Force India closed the pack up again, but Alonso was able to comfortably keep his lead.
Throughout the first stint of the race, Vettel kept within three seconds of Alonso, the gap briefly rising to 3.5 seconds at one point, but when both drivers pitted simultaneously on lap 29, Red Bull lost their chance of leapfrogging their rival for victory. Vettel was unable to take advantage of a second safety car period between laps 32 and 35 and despite closing to within half a second at the start of the last lap, the German had to settle for second.
Completing the podium in third was Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber, thereby extending his championship lead. The Australian gambled with a tyre change during the first safety car period, but it paid off thanks to a handful of impressive overtaking manoeuvres allowing him to climb from 11th to eighth, before climbing to third when those ahead of him pitted for their mandatory tyre change.
Webber was involved in a controversial collision with Lewis Hamilton on lap 36 just after the safety car pitted after its second run. The Briton, having lost a position to Webber during the pitstops, pulled alongside the Red Bull on the approach to turn 7, but failed to leave enough room and collided with the Australian at the apex, forcing his own retirement while Webber continued with a vibrating front end.
Jenson Button was unable to match the podium finishers for pace, finishing in fourth place just a second behind Webber, followed by Nico Rosberg and Rubens Barrichello. Renault's Robert Kubica provided fans with some late-race excitement after pitting with 15 laps remaining from sixth place. With fresh tyres the Pole worked his way up from 12th place to 7th within five laps, easily scything his way by Buemi, Petrov, Massa, Hulkenberg and Sutil. Sutil, Hulkenberg and Massa rounded out the points finishers.
Webber's third place and Hamilton's failure to score means the Australian extends his advantage at the front of the championship to 11 points, while Alonso's victory elevates him to second place. Hamilton drops to third place, 20 points adrift, while Vettel sits 21 points behind in fourth and Button 25 points behind in fifth.
F1: 2010 Drivers & Constructors Standings