Sebastian Vettel (Infiniti Red Bull Racing) gave a street racing master class in today’s Singapore Grand Prix. The reigning world champion dominated the 61 lap race, starting from pole position and pulling out a 15 second lead over the field by the first safety car period. He again built up another time cushion to give the luxury of pitting and rejoining in the lead and ultimately won by a margin of more than 30 seconds over championship rival Fernando Alonso. Lotus F1 Team’s Kimi Raikkonen put a second Renault-powered car onto the podium with third position, clawing his way back from 13th on the grid thanks to bold overtaking moves and an inspired tactical strategy.
Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus F1 Team) puts second Renault-powered car onto the podium with third position.
Unfortunately, after showing good reliability this season there were two engine-related issues for Renault-powered teams in Singapore. Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber was on for a top four finish until his engine developed a water leak five laps from the end. The team tried everything to get to the end but with no water in the system the engine overheated and he pulled up on the final lap of the race. Romain Grosjean retired on lap 37 with an engine pneumatic system issue. High air consumption meant the Frenchman needed to stop on lap 33 for an air top up, but after just one more lap he returned to the pits to retire from the race.
Caterham F1 Team – who announced an extension of its engine partnership with Renault Sport F1 this afternoon – had a storming evening, racing with Williams at points throughout the race. Giedo van der Garde ultimately finished in 16th while Charles Pic was 19th. Pastor Maldonado missed out on the points for Williams F1 Team in 11th, while Valtteri Bottas was 13th.
Vettel’s lead in the drivers’ championship is now 247 points to Alonso’s 187 while Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s advantage in the constructors’ title race grows to 377 to Ferrari’s 274. Lotus F1 Team is fourth with 206 points.
Today is bittersweet if I am completely honest. A double podium for Red Bull and Lotus is a real pleasure, but we had a couple of issues today that we have not seen in some time. Despite Romain Grosjean having a brand new engine for this race, the air consumption over the first part of the race was very high. We asked the team to pit to top up the air in the pneumatic system but the fix was only temporary and we had to retire the car the next lap. - Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
For Mark, his engine developed a water leak very close to the end. With the chequered flag being so close we tried everything we could with the team to get to the end but with no water in the system the engine overheated and he had to retire. While there is not a particular concern as these are isolated issues, we will look at both in detail and put in place fixes ahead of Korea, should we need to.
In the meantime, congratulations to Sebastian and to Kimi for outstanding drives this evening and we look forward to Korea to get a full complement of cars to the finish line.