2010 Singapore Grand Prix
|Race 15 of 19 in the 2010 Formula One season|
Marina Bay Street Circuit
|Date||September 26, 2010|
|Official name||2010 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix|
|Location||Marina Bay, Singapore|
5.073 km (3.15 mi)
|Distance||61 laps, 309.316 km (192.209 mi)|
|Time||1:47.976 on lap 58|
|Second||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault|
|Third||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault|
The 2010 Singapore Grand Prix (formally the 2010 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on 26 September 2010. The race, contested over 61 laps, was the fifteenth round of the 2010 Formula One season and the third Singapore Grand Prix to be held as part of the Formula One World Championship - the eleventh overall.
It was won by Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who led every lap from pole position and also set the fastest lap. The Red Bull cars of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber completed the podium, after finishing in second and third positions respectively. As a consequence of the race, Alonso moved into second in the Drivers' Championship by obtaining his second successive race victory. Webber's third place ensured he maintained and extended his championship lead.
Fernando Alonso's victory at Monza, combined with Lewis Hamilton's first-lap retirement, Jenson Button's second place and a poor performance from Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel meant that Singapore was predicted to become a critical race in the championship as all five drivers would be able to take the championship lead with a victory. The situation was made difficult for Alonso as, following the Italian Grand Prix, he had used up all eight of his allocated engines, and to replace one would incure a ten-place grid penalty while his rivals all had at least one untouched engine in reserve, with Mark Webber having two. Data projections by Mercedes suggested that Singapore would be the least-demanding on the engine, with just 48% of the lap being run at full throttle, the only circuit on the calendar where drivers use full throttle for less than half a lap.
Nick Heidfeld replaced Pedro de la Rosa at BMW Sauber, a month after he had commenced tyre testing for Pirelli ahead of their 2011 return to the sport. Shortly before the race meeting, Sakon Yamamoto was replaced by test driver Christian Klien at Hispania Racing after Yamamoto contracted food poisoning. Virgin Racing's Jérôme d'Ambrosio also replaced Lucas di Grassi and Fairuz Fauzy stood in for Jarno Trulli for the first practice session.
In the days before the race, Singapore had been inundated with monsoonal storms, with several drivers expressing concerns over low visibility from the rain combined with the glare from the circuit lighting. The first practice session was declared wet, although the rain had stopped by the time the session started. Only a handful of drivers set times during the first hour and twenty minutes of the session, with Vitaly Petrov, Michael Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi exchanging blows as they learned the circuit; Petrov was the first to break the two-minute barrier. More drivers took to the circuit as a dry line started to appear, with lap times improving by twenty seconds over the course of the ninety-minute session. Petrov and Kobayashi fell away as the championship contenders emerged, while Schumacher went on to set the second-fastest time behind Mark Webber; Petrov and Kobayashi finished tenth and twelfth respectively while Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were eleventh and 19th after a limited-run campaign. Nick Heidfeld was thirteenth – a tenth of a second behind Kobayashi – on his return to the cockpit, while the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest of the new teams, two and a half seconds ahead of the Virgins of Timo Glock and d'Ambrosio. Christian Klien was eight seconds behind Webber on his debut for Hispania, while Fairuz Fauzy was eleven seconds off the pace; both Klien and Fauzy were the only drivers who failed to break the two-minute barrier.
The second practice session was also declared wet, though there were only a handful of damp sections around the circuit. Despite claims from their rivals that the FIA's newer, more stringent testing procedures for front wings and floors had hurt Red Bull, the Austrian team continued to dominate, with Sebastian Vettel over half a second quicker than team-mate Webber, who was also half a second faster than third-placed Jenson Button. By the end of the session, Fernando Alonso appeared to be on the verge of setting the fastest time when he was fastest in the first two sectors, but made an uncharacteristic mistake at turn seventeen – the scene of Nelson Piquet, Jr.'s controversial crash in 2008 – and ended up sliding down the access road at the next corner. The Spaniard then stalled while attempting to rejoin the circuit, forcing him to abandon his car and the session. Adrian Sutil also ran afoul of the circuit when he made a mistake at the notorious turn ten chicane, the 'Singapore Sling'. His Force India bounced violently over the kerbs, damaging his suspension. The German was later fined US$10,000 by the stewards as he attempted to limp back to the pits with a damaged car. Lewis Hamilton was critical of the reprofiled corner, claiming it was dangerous and unnecessary. The corner was originally conceived to force the cars to take a single-file approach into the next sequence of corners and the narrow Anderson Bridge, but Hamilton claimed that a brake failure could result in a serious accident. The only other driver to have trouble in the session was Renault's Robert Kubica, who experienced a hydraulics problem that limited his track time in the dry. Heikki Kovalainen was once again the fastest of the newcomers.
The third session was once again declared wet despite a lack of forthcoming rain, with different sections of the circuit drying out at different rates and the surface making it difficult for drivers to tell precisely how wet or dry certain corners were. Vettel was once again fastest, this time ahead of Alonso and Hamilton while Jenson Button struggled to place better than thirteenth. Bruno Senna spun twice, once at the chicane and again at turn eighteen, the same place as Alonso's incident in second practice. Alonso and Kubica almost made contact as the Ferrari driver left the pits while Schumacher experienced a heavy landing in the chicane and Nico Hülkenberg had several sideways moments. Timo Glock was the fastest of the newcomers.
The first qualifying period was marked by Felipe Massa stopping on the circuit and failing to set a time, the victim of a gearbox fault. Ferrari later elected to replace his engine and gearbox as a precaution, using his ninth engine of the season. As Massa was already starting last on the grid, the ten-place grid penalty was nullified. With Massa out and the newcomers circling four seconds off the pace, the seventeen remaining drivers had to do little more than set a time to progress to the second period. Timo Glock and Virgin led the newcomers despite a late charge from the Lotus drivers, with commentators remarking that it was the first time all season that Virgin had the upper hand over the other teams, aided in part by a new aerodynamic package for the race. Heikki Kovalainen split the Virgins, with Lucas di Grassi followed by Jarno Trulli; the four cars were separated by less than a second. Both Christian Klien and Bruno Senna had minor moments in the first period, with Klien out-qualifying Senna by over a second on his return to the cockpit.
The second qualifying period opened with another driver in trouble, this time Renault's Vitaly Petrov who spun at turn five and tagged the barriers, damaging his right-rear suspension. Unlike Massa, Petrov was able to set a lap time and would end the session thirteenth, which became twelfth after Nico Hülkenberg's gearbox penalty was applied. Despite running at the front through most of the practice sessions, the Williams driver could only managed twelfth, his five-place penalty demoting him to seventeenth. Nick Heidfeld qualified fifteenth, ahead of the two Force Indias – Adrian Sutil ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi – who had a disappointing qualifying to finish 16th and 17th; like Petrov, both would be promoted after Hülkenberg's penalty. The two Toro Rossos were also eliminated, with Jaime Alguersuari upstaging Sébastien Buemi by a second to qualify eleventh.
The final period was dominated by Alonso and Ferrari, with Alonso appearing to be untouchable for most of the session. Sebastian Vettel challenged him on several occasions, but had to settle for second place by the time the chequered flag fell. The McLarens of Hamilton and Button filled third and fourth place, with championship leader Mark Webber once again struggling around the Singapore circuit to finish fifth. Rubens Barrichello in the second Williams put in an unprecedented lap to finish sixth, ahead of Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica, with Kubica electing to only do a single timed run despite limited running in free practice meaning he had several sets of tyres spare. Michael Schumacher returned to the top ten for the first time since Silverstone to qualify ninth ahead of Kobayashi.
Sebastian Vettel got the best start from the line, but an intimidating move from Alonso forced Vettel back into position. It would be as close as Vettel would get for the next 60 laps as Alonso quickly pulled out a three second lead. The early momentum of the field was broken up by contact between Nick Heidfeld and Vitantonio Liuzzi, which forced retirement for Liuzzi with rear suspension damage, while Heidfeld was forced to pit for a new front wing. The safety car was deployed as Liuzzi's car was removed from the circuit and most of the field dived for the pits, with Mark Webber leading the early round of stops. Any chance at playing the long strategy card was put paid to by a road block in the shape of the non-stopping Timo Glock in tenth and the harder compound tyres now run by those who had stopped, that were three seconds per lap slower than the softer options. Webber was soon locked in a race to stay in touch with the McLarens in the hopes of leapfrogging them during their stop.
Minor incidents occurred around the circuit, with Nico Hülkenberg making contact with Vitaly Petrov at turn seven; Hülkenberg escaped unscathed, but Petrov fell down the order to fifteenth from seventh. Jarno Trulli retired from the back of the field with a hydraulics problem, while Felipe Massa – who had pitted on the first lap before the safety car was deployed – was caught in a train in tenth. At the front end of the field, Alonso and Vettel kept pulling out ahead of the McLarens before Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Senna triggered a safety car halfway into the race. Kobayashi went wide on the approach to turn 18 and tagged the outer wall before spinning around to block half the circuit; Senna was slow to react into the blind corner moments later and buried his Hispania nose-first into the barrier alongside Kobayashi.
The cars were quickly cleared and the racing resumed, but it quickly became apparent that as the cars burned off fuel, Vettel was steadily reeling in Alonso. Both drivers pitted on the same lap despite Vettel potentially having the pace to overhaul Alonso and leapfrog him in the stops, but it was later revealed that both Red Bull and Ferrari were reacting to the McLarens and were attempting to avoid encountering them. Vettel's car bogged down coming out of the pit box, once again giving Alonso an advantage. Meanwhile, the McLarens pitted too late to avoid falling into the clutches of a recovering Mark Webber, but McLaren were able to get Lewis Hamilton back out onto the road close to the Australian, a move that would have serious ramifications for the championship. With fresher tyres than Webber, Hamilton attempted to pass him at turn seven on the restart lap, and the two made contact. The Red Bull driver escaped without damage, but Hamilton's suspension was broken and he was forced out, his second retirement in as many races. It was later revealed that Webber was incredibly fortunate to make it to the finish line at all, as his right front tyre was in serious danger of losing all pressure and deflating. It finally came apart in the post-race parc ferme, just one lap after the race as the car returned to the pits.
Nick Heidfeld fell victim to a similar fate as Hamilton at the very same corner the next lap. Engaged in a duel with Michael Schumacher, the Sauber and the Mercedes came together, resulting in Heidfeld hitting the outer barrier and Schumacher being forced to limp around with a broken front wing trailing sparks as it skimmed the surface of the track. Both incidents were investigated by the stewards, but no further action was taken. Christian Klien also retired, never emerging from his scheduled stop as his car was hamstrung by a hydraulics failure; Timo Glock later joined him with a similar problem. As Alonso and Vettel settled into a routine – both nursing brake issues of varying severity – Robert Kubica was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop with a right-rear puncture. Having pitted from sixth, he was able to make short work of Alguersuari, Buemi, team-mate Petrov, Massa, Hülkenberg and Adrian Sutil in the space of a few laps to make up seventh place as he enjoyed the extra grip of his new tyres.
The final drama of the race came when Heikki Kovalainen and Sébastien Buemi made contact in the final sector of the lap, with the Lotus driver spinning around in front of the Toro Rosso, who was quick to avoid a head-on collision. Kovalainen's car suffered damage to the fuel system and he limped back to the pits, the rear of his Lotus catching fire during the final few turns. Kovalainen aborted the pit entry, but did not make it much further as his car was consumed by the fire. The Finn stopped on the main straight and put out the fire himself. As he was off the racing line, yellow flags were waved in the final corners instead of a safety car deployment. Alonso made a mistake here on the penultimate lap, allowing Vettel to draw within two tenths of a second going into the final lap. The presence of the Sutil-Hülkenberg-Massa-Petrov train compounded the problem, and while both drivers made short work of Petrov, Alonso was able to hold on into the final sector when they encountered Massa, and he was content to hold position for the remainder of the lap. The yellow flag for Kovalainen's car meant that Vettel's final chance of an overtake – into the final corner – was denied, and the Ferrari driver won the race by 0.293 seconds, securing the first Grand Chelem – leading the entire race from pole position with fastest lap – of his career, and the first since Michael Schumacher in the 2004 Hungarian Grand Prix. Webber retained third place and the championship lead but Button's fourth place meant that he would need a win simply to draw level with Webber. Nico Rosberg claimed fifth place ahead of Barrichello, with Kubica leading home Sutil, Hülkenberg and Massa.
|Pos||No||Driver||Constructor||Part 1||Part 2||Part 3||Grid|
|2||5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:46.960||1:45.561||1:45.457||2|
|5||6||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:47.088||1:46.908||1:45.977||5|
|10||23||Kamui Kobayashi||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:48.908||1:47.559||1:47.884||10|
|11||17||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:48.127||1:47.666||111|
|14||16||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:49.063||1:48.502||13|
|15||22||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||1:48.696||1:48.557||14|
|16||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:48.496||1:48.899||15|
|17||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1:48.988||1:48.961||16|
|20||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||1:51.107||20|
|24||7||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||no time3||244|
- ^ – Jaime Alguersuari started from the pitlane.
- ^ – Nico Hülkenberg was given a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox after the Monza round.
- ^ – Felipe Massa failed to set a lap time after stopping on the circuit in the first part of the qualifying session.
- ^ - Ferrari replaced Massa's gearbox and engine – his ninth for the season – after his stoppage in qualifying; Massa could not be penalised because he had already qualified last after failing to set a time.
- ^ – Adrian Sutil was penalised 20 seconds post-race for illegally gaining an advantage at turn seven on the first lap.
- ^ – Following a protest by Force India, Nico Hülkenberg was penalised 20 seconds post-race for illegally gaining an advantage.
- ^ – Jaime Alguersuari started from the pit lane following a water leak before the race.
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- Holt, Sarah; Benson, Andrew (2009-08-29). "Bahrain set to start 2010 season". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Rae, Richard (2010-09-26). "Fernando Alonso reigns supreme for Ferrari in Singapore". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- Collantine, Keith (2010-09-18). "No new engines left for Alonso while championship leader Webber has two". F1 Fanatic (Keith Collantine). Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- "Nick Heidfeld replaces Pedro de la Rosa at Sauber". BBC Sport (BBC). 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Beer, Matt (2010-09-24). "Klien to deputise for Yamamoto". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Beer, Matt (2010-09-24). "Webber tops damp opening practice". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Elizalde, Pablo (2010-09-25). "Ferrari to replace Massa's engine". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- "Sutil handed 20-second penalty". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- Elizalde, Pablo (2010-09-26). "Hulkenberg given 20-second penalty". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- "Singapore GP – Sunday – Race Notes". GrandPrix.com (Inside F1, Inc.). 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
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