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2011 Singapore Grand Prix.
Night race at Singapore this weekend, here's hoping for a good result!
Sebastian Vettel leads Fernando Alonso in Singapore practice
Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Friday, 23 September 2011 17:39 UK
E-mail this to a friend Printable version By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport in Singapore
Singapore Grand PrixVenue: Marina Bay, Singapore Date: 23-25 September Coverage: Saturday 24 September: Third practice 1155-1305 BBC Red Button/BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online; Qualifying 1400-1630 BBC One/BBC Radio 5 live and online; Sunday 25 September: Singapore Grand Prix: 1210-1530 BBC One/Radio 5 live and online; F1 forum: 1530-1630, BBC Red Button/online; Highlights: 1900-2000 BBC Three
Highlights - Singapore GP second practice
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel beat Ferrari's Fernando Alonso to the pace in an incident-packed Friday practice at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel, who can win the world title on Sunday if results go his way, was 0.201 seconds quicker than Alonso, who beat him into second place here last year.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was fastest in first practice but third in the second.
Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button missed half of the afternoon session after going off the track.
Button locked up his brakes heading into Turn 14 and had to take to the escape road after 40 of the 90 minutes.
Button eager to forget practice error
The 2009 world champion was advised by his race engineer that he could engage reverse gear but he replied: "Not working", before climbing out and walking away, clearly annoyed at the turn of events.
"I locked up into Turn 14 and just kept out of the barriers and selected reverse and started to go back slowly and suddenly had no drive in reverse," said Button.
"I tried to turn the car around but there wasn't enough room, then I tried to go backwards again and there was no reverse.
"So I'm guessing that something's not working correctly.
"I only ran the prime tyre and didn't have a great set-up, so it was disappointing to not do more running because I couldn't improve it.
"We have some good ideas for what we can do with the car tomorrow.
"Sebastian and Red Bull are very fast, and Ferrari are very fast over a long run as well.
"Looking at the TV and the times, everyone is going to struggle with tyres in the race. It seems everyone is overheating tyres after only three laps.
"You'd say the tyres are maybe a little bit too soft around here, but then again you don't have the grip on lap one.
Tough but 'mega fun' day for Hamilton
"It's going to be a tough race for everyone."
Another man to push beyond the limits of the demanding, bumpy street track here was Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi.
The Swiss ran wide at the exit of the chicane before the final two corners on his run on the faster super-soft tyre, and clouted the wall, taking off his right front wheel and suspension.
Hamilton and Vettel swapped fastest times in the first session, with the Englishman emerging 0.406secs ahead.
Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber was third fastest ahead of Alonso.
In the second session, Vettel set the pace from the outset, and after 40 minutes the German was a second faster than anyone else - with team-mate Mark Webber his closest pursuer, with Hamilton third.
Hamilton, who won in Singapore in 2008 after starting on pole, said: "Tough. We were competitive in P1 and then P2 there was a big gap between us and Sebastian.
"We feel like we were doing pretty well, but we're struggling with the rear tyres on the long runs, they're dropping off very quickly on the long runs.
"These tyres, this track, you need very good downforce. We've got good downforce. I don't know what the Ferraris were running; they were massively quick. We don't know how light they were going.
"I didn't get the first lap on my options, and when I came to my second attempt the rears had given up.
"It's difficult for people to understand but if you've ever done those computer games with the rallying and you're sliding, that's what happens with these tyres. You get to a point where they don't work any more."
Emphasising Vettel's superiority, at one point, Hamilton came on the radio to this team to ask: "Where are we?" He was told: "Red Bull 1.6secs quicker than us - most of the time to find is in the final sector."
Vettel not getting carried away after impressive practice
At that time, Vettel was a massive 0.7secs ahead in the final section, which comprises seven mostly right-angled corners and the final two corners, taken as one double-apex left-hander.
That margin was reduced later on in the session, but Vettel and Red Bull appear to have an advantage over their rivals, particularly on single-lap qualifying pace.
However, Alonso's pace on his race-simulation run with a heavy tank of fuel late in the session was highly impressive and appeared at first glance to be faster than Vettel's.
"We are more or less happy with the car both sessions, but here it is difficult to exploit the potential of the car there are only one or two laps when the car gives you maximum performance," said Alonso, a two-time winner in Singapore.
"Plus there is the traffic and in this situation there were red and yellow flags. So it was a mix of many things happening and during the last [session] I think maybe the times can be a little bit mixed."
Vettel said he had not been happy with the car in the first session, but that the team had improved it for the afternoon.
Webber was clearly concerned to be 0.9secs a lap off his team-mate on headline times, although he was only 0.3secs behind on heavy fuel.
He said there was some "low-hanging fruit that we can get from the car overnight" in terms of set-up improvements.
The first session was delayed twice by problems with the circuit's kerbs, which came loose at several points around the track.
The session started 30 minutes later and was shortened to an hour after loose kerbs were found following a support race, and a recurrence caused a five-minute stoppage towards the end of the session, too.
Governing body the FIA removed the kerbs on the apex of Turn 13 in a successful effort to prevent the problem recurring in the second session.
SINGAPORE GP WINNERSContinue reading the main story 2010 - Fernando Alonso - Ferrari
2009 - Lewis Hamilton - McLaren
2008 - Fernando Alonso - Renault
However, race officials have admitted that they have work to do overnight to ensure the kerbs stay in place during qualifying and the race.
Although his rivals are resigned to the fact that Vettel will win the title sooner or later, Ferrari and McLaren are still determined to beat him as often as possible in the remaining six races.
McLaren have a new rear wing here, and Ferrari a new front wing as they continue to develop their cars.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "We enjoy winning and I think we can be competitive, we have some new parts on the car, we have six races left and we'd like to win them.
"Both the drivers are motivated and I think we can do a decent job.
"Lewis is quite relaxed and I think he's very determined. He has had a difficult season, and he did everything he could to try to stay out of trouble at the last race.
"I told him that was a very disciplined drive but I would like the old Lewis back."
Sebastian Vettel on pole ahead of Mark Webber in Singapore
Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Saturday, 24 September 2011 18:01 UK
E-mail this to a friend Printable version By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport in Singapore
Singapore Grand PrixVenue: Marina Bay, Singapore Date: 23-25 September Coverage: Sunday 25 September: Singapore Grand Prix: 1210-1530 BBC One/Radio 5 live and online; F1 forum: 1530-1630, BBC Red Button/online; Highlights: 1900-2000 BBC Three
Vettel's pole lap at Singapore
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel stormed to his 11th pole of the season at the Singapore Grand Prix with another scintillating qualifying performance.
The German, who can become world champion on Sunday if results go his way, was in a league of his own, 0.351 seconds ahead of team-mate Mark Webber.
Jenson Button out-qualified McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton to take third, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso fifth.
Hamilton lost second place when he did not go out for a second run.
The team had a refuelling problem and ran out of time to get him out of the pits.
That allowed Webber and Button to sneak ahead of him but it was very close behind Vettel, with the gap between second and fifth places only 0.142 secs.
The top three drivers give their views after Singapore qualifying
Hamilton said: "We probably could have been on the front row, which is good for tomorrow. The pace is good. I feel good. We can only go forward from there, hopefully."
It was an eventful evening for Hamilton, who had a run-in with Ferrari's Felipe Massa at the start of the final session and also had a scare in the second part of qualifying.
In the top-10 shoot-out, Hamilton was behind Button, Alonso and Massa as they prepared for their first runs, but was determined to get by the Brazilian before starting his flying lap and the two nearly touched before the Ferrari driver finally let him by.
"I didn't understand what he wanted to do," said Massa. "There were three cars slow, preparing their laps. He was in the condition to touch with somebody on the out lap - I think he didn't use his mind. Again."
Hamilton said: "The guys always try to back you up and I was ready to get going. I was trying to get past but he kept blocking and blocking and eventually I got past."
He added that he had lost some time because he was too close behind Alonso on his quick lap.
In the second session, Hamilton had run on the slower 'soft' tyres early in the session while the other front-runners did their runs on the faster 'super-soft' tyres early on and sat out the final few minutes.
A puncture in his right-rear tyre meant he did not get a run on the super-softs and he had an anxious wait while lying in eighth place to see if anyone would knock him out of the top 10.
Hamilton's troubles meant it never became clear how close he could get to Vettel, whose advantage in final qualifying was not as big as it had been for much of the weekend.
The German was 0.6secs quicker than any of his rivals in the first and second parts of qualifying, but that margin was trimmed when it mattered.
Vettel might have gone quicker but he made a mistake pushing too hard on his final lap, when both Webber and Button improved.
Hamilton happy despite drama
"The last one I tried a little bit too much," Vettel said. "I think I could have made it but I decided to abort. I went wide.
"I was quite happy with my first lap. I think it was possible to go faster and I'm very happy around here. It's a fun challenge."
If Vettel wins the race, he will become champion if Alonso is lower than third and if Webber or Button are lower than second.
Webber had appeared to be struggling for much of the weekend, but said he had been pleased with his performance in the end.
"It's a very challenging venue," he said, "not one I would choose to come to every week. One of my best sessions on Saturday here. A few 10ths off Seb."
Button, who was compromised by missing more than half of Friday's second practice session, added: "If I had put (the best of my two laps) together it would have been good but you struggle to get it all together round here through all three sectors. It's something I've been fighting all day.
"I didn't get much running yesterday so I'm pleased to be in the top three and it's a good position to be in for the race. It's going to be a challenge."
Alonso was Vettel's closest rival on Friday - but Ferrari lost ground overnight and the Spaniard was clearly struggling for pace throughout Saturday's running.
He said he had been right on the edge in qualifying - he came out of the final corner sideways on his final lap - and described his performance as "a perfect lap; a normal lap would have been 0.3-0.4secs slower".
Ferrari's Felipe Massa ended up sixth, ahead of the Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.
Both Force Indias made it into the top-10 shoot-out but chose not to go out on to the track, so Adrian Sutil qualified ninth ahead of team-mate Paul di Resta on their times from second qualifying.
BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle said: "That's not right. The fans have paid to see 10 cars battling it out for pole. Not impressed, Force India."
Co-commentator David Coulthard added: "We want to know, on this day in history, was it Sutil or Di Resta who was fastest."
Button banking on good start
But Di Resta said the team had no choice - they were not quick enough to beat any of the teams in front of them and they were already compromised for the race by having to use an extra set of the quicker tyres earlier in qualifying.
Di Resta got into the top 10 at the last second by demoting Sauber's Sergio Perez to 11th place with the final lap of the second session.
The Mexican's team-mate Kamui Kobayashi was last in the second session because he failed to complete a lap, crashing at Turn 10.
The incident caused the session to be stopped for six minutes while the car was recovered.
"Kobayashi clipped the kerbs too hard, took a little fly and straight into those barriers," said Brundle. "It can hurt so much when you land."
The Williams drivers Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado line up 12th and 13th, with Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi 14th, ahead of Renault's Bruno Senna and the second Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari.
Renault's Vitaly Petrov was the unlucky midfield runner who joined the three back-of-the-grid teams in being eliminated after the first section of qualifying.
He was in 17th place - which would have got him through to the next stage - only to be demoted by his team-mate Bruno Senna, who went 15th fastest with the last lap of the first session.
Petrov blamed a mistake on his fastest lap for his lack of pace.
3rd and 4th is OK, but front row would have been better. But it will be a long race, so let's see what happens.
Sebastian Vettel wins in Singapore but title must wait
previousLIVEF1 ForumLIVETV + BBC Radio 5 live Schumacher's Singapore smash1:32 minHighlights - Singapore GP qualifying7:28 minHamilton's Grand Prix prep5:16 minVettel's pole lap in Singapore2:00 minSingapore GP qualifying - top three drivers3:50 minButton banks on solid start1:13 minWin not impossible - Alonso1:07 minHamilton happy despite drama1:33 minDi Resta explains Force India strategy3:28 minSingapore spin: Webber and Coulthard trike round circuit4:31 minHighlights - Singapore GP second practice2:45 minHighlights - Singapore GP first practice3:28 minButton eager to forget practice error1:33 minTough but 'mega fun' day for Hamilton2:28 minImprovements to be made - Vettel1:27 minVettel primed for title bid3:16 minVettel and Red Bull have been the best - Alonso1:56 minClassic F1 - Singapore Grand Prix 201010:20 minLIVEF1 Forumnext
By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport in Singapore
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel took a dominant victory in an incident-packed Singapore Grand Prix to move to the brink of the world title.
The German's ninth victory in 14 races means he needs just a point from the remaining five races to seal the title.
The only man who can mathematically beat him is Jenson Button, who finished second ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fourth from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who recovered from a drive-through penalty
Force India's Paul di Resta drove superbly on his debut at one of the toughest races on the calendar and the Scot took an impressive sixth place.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won a breathless battle for seventh place in the closing laps from Force India's Adrian Sutil, who just held off Ferrari's Felipe Massa after the Brazilian passed Sauber's Sergio Perez for ninth at the start of the last lap.
The pace was pretty good but there was no catching Seb. Second is as good as it can be
McLaren driver Jenson Button
Vettel's victory has put him 124 points ahead of Button with only 125 still available in a season in which he has finished first or second in every race except one - and he was fourth in that.
BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard said: "He's got a great car and a great team, but how he is using it. It's fantastic what we're seeing this year."
It has been a story of almost total domination by the reigning champion, and this grand prix encapsulated it.
Vettel stormed off from pole position and had a 4.4-second lead over Button after three laps. He extended it to 12 seconds before the drivers made their first pit stops - which was on lap 14 for the two leaders - and kept it there for the rest of the race until easing off towards the end.
Button closed on him rapidly as the chequered flag neared, but the illusion of a race was just that - Vettel was in control.
Schumacher's Singapore smash
A safety car introduced after Michael Schumacher's Mercedes was launched into the air after running into the back of Perez had no impact on Vettel. Schumacher emerged unhurt from his wrecked car.
With Button held up behind Jarno Trulli's lapped Lotus at the restart, Vettel again left his pursuers standing and was a massive 8.9 seconds clear after just one lap following the resumption of racing.
"When the safety car came out it didn't really fit to our plan because we had a big gap," said Red Bull's defending world champion.
"I was quite lucky there was some backmarkers because I was able to pull a big gap again, that was lucky because towards the end there was traffic and it is not that easy to get through. I love the track, I love the challenge, so great. The car was fantastic.
"Last year was a tough fight with Fernando all the way, shadowing him, I felt I could have gone a bit quicker, so it was nice to come back here and get the job done."
Button's race was spent controlling the margin behind him to Webber, who had to pass Alonso twice to take third place.
"Pretty happy to be second," said Button. "I couldn't really find the grip with the car. I needed to find a pace that was comfortable in the car and not damaging the tyres too much.
"The pace was pretty good but there was no catching Seb. Second is as good as it can be. "
Webber took Alonso's Ferrari with a cleverly worked moved into Turn 15, after challenging the Spaniard on the outside into the previous corner.
It was nice to come back here and get the job done. This is one of the toughest challenges we face
After losing the place again when stopping during the safety-car period, Webber then surprised Alonso into Turn 10 after the Ferrari driver was held up by the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari.
"The battles with Fernando are enjoyable, but I don't want to sign up for them all the time because it means I'm with him when I probably shouldn't be," Webber said.
"Ultimately it cost me a place today but Button put in a very good last stint so that would have been a good battle if I had had track position."
It was another eventful race for Hamilton in what has been an unhappy season for the 2008 world champion.
Hamilton, who started fourth behind Vettel, Webber and Button, lost ground at the start, because he had to back out of an attempt to pass the slow-starting Webber.
That dropped Hamilton to eighth place and in his attempt to come back through the field, he collided with Massa when refusing to give up a move around the outside of Turn Seven that was never going to come off.
Hamilton damaged his front wing in the incident, while Massa's rear tyre was punctured. That meant Hamilton needed to pit for a new wing, but he also then received a drive-through penalty, which left him stranded down the field in 15th place.
Coulthard added: "It was just a bit clumsy from Lewis unfortunately. I was talking to Lewis this morning about street tracks and I said: 'You sit very low in car, do you get enough visibility?'
"He said: 'Although I sit low the visibility is fine'. But I wonder if he's missing out in close-quarter racing by sitting so low."
After his earlier indiscretion, Hamilton was initially dispirited as he fought with the lower midfield, and asked his team over the radio: "Would you please give me some info on how I'm doing, what I'm racing for?"
He was reassured that he was still fighting for points, and fought back in clinical style - and with the help of the safety car - up to fifth place by the end of the race.
Massa made a meal of it as usual, in fact he turned in on Lewis.
Yes...check this out!
Originally Posted by Swami
Looks like daddy wants another piece of the action since he has made up with Lewis.
Lewis does need to change his approach a bit, he can't go on like this with constant collisions.