2009 Singapore Grand Prix
|Race 14 of 17 in the 2009 Formula One season|
|Date||27 September 2009|
|Official name||2009 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix|
|Location||Marina Bay, Singapore|
|Course length||5.073 km (3.152 mi)|
|Distance||61 laps, 309.316 km (192.209 mi)|
|Weather||Hot and Dry|
|Time||1:48.240 on lap 53|
The 2009 Singapore Grand Prix (formally the 2009 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on 27 September 2009. The race, contested over 61 laps, was the fourteenth round of the 2009 Formula One season. It was the second Singapore Grand Prix to be part of a Formula One Championship and the tenth Singapore Grand Prix overall. It was also the second Formula One race to be held at night. The race was won by McLaren-Mercedes driver and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton. Toyota's Timo Glock finished second and 2008 race winner Fernando Alonso took third position, making this the only race of the season with neither a Brawn nor a Red Bull driver on the podium. This was also the last race of 2009 for Glock, as he was injured during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix and was replaced by test driver Kamui Kobayashi.
As a consequence of the race, Championship leader Jenson Button extended his lead by one point finishing in fifth, one position ahead of Brawn team-mate and Championship rival Rubens Barrichello. Fellow rival Sebastian Vettel had been challenging Hamilton for the lead before a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane scuppered his strategy.
Fernando Alonso of Renault was the only previous winner of the race but recent controversy has surrounded the race. Last year's pole sitter Felipe Massa sat out the race with injuries sustained in the Hungarian Grand Prix. The previous street circuit races this year were won by Brawn GP with Jenson Button taking the chequered flag in Monaco and Rubens Barrichello victorious in Valencia.
Prior to the race, Button led the Championship by 14 points from team-mate Barrichello, with Brawn's closest challenger Sebastian Vettel lying 12 points behind the Brazilian and 26 behind Button. Kimi Räikkönen of Ferrari was looking for a fifth consecutive podium, having scored three quarters of his 40 2009 championship points in the previous four races.
Brawn led the Constructors' Championship on 146 points (and could have clinched the Constructors' title in Singapore), whilst Red Bull were 40.5 behind on 105.5. Ferrari and McLaren were 3rd and 4th respectively.
The circuit was also reprofiled slightly, including modifications to turns 1, 2, 3, 13 and 14 to aid overtaking, and also at turn 10 where high kerbs caused many accidents in 2008. The entrance and exit to the pit lane were also changed. The cars entered the pit lane before turn 22 while the most significant change was the exit of the pits with the cars now joining after turn 1. As a result, the total length of the circuit increased by 6 metres.
Turns 1, 7 and 10 were now known as "Sheares", "Memorial" and "Singapore Sling" respectively. The namesake of these names are as follows: "Sheares" is named after the Benjamin Sheares Bridge that spans on the expressway above the circuit, which is in turn named after ex-President of the Republic Benjamin Sheares. "Memorial" is named after the WWII War Memorial in the middle of the city, and "Singapore Sling" is the name of Singapore's signature drink.
Announced on Thursday evening (UTC) that title sponsor ING and Mutua Madrileña had terminated their sponsorship deals with Renault with immediate effect. This move followed the previous year's Singapore Grand Prix race-fixing scandal that resulted in a suspended ban for the team. Renault removed the sponsors' logos from their cars before they ran them on track. Mutua Madrileña continued however to back 2005 and 2006 World Champion Fernando Alonso.
The first session of the weekend ended as the previous race finished with the two Brawns on top, Rubens Barrichello in front of Jenson Button. Renault's Romain Grosjean caused the session to be stopped after losing control of the car at the same corner that Nelson Piquet, Jr. crashed out during the race at last year's event. Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen were the others who had on track incidents. Fernando Alonso split the two Red Bull's in fourth, Mark Webber finished the session in third and Sebastian Vettel in fifth. Giancarlo Fisichella continued to struggle as he finished the session P17, around 1.6s behind team-mate Kimi Räikkönen.
The second session was also red flagged this time with Red Bull's Mark Webber. A big accident on the pit straight as the nose, front left wheel and the wing took the impact as a lot of debris was put onto the track. However the other Red Bull of Vettel finished the session top 0.2s ahead of Alonso. Kovalainen took third, Heidfeld fourth and championship leader Button finished the days final session in fifth. Jenson's team-mate Barrichello struggled to take eleventh almost one second slower than Vettel. Although Webber crashed out with one hour remaining in the session he managed to sixth.
The final practice session got under way with no cars posting a time for the best part of 15 minutes. With the first session of the weekend not being red-flagged it was Lewis Hamilton who finished top of the time sheets. Sebastian Vettel finished second trying to make the most of this Red Bull car as his team-mate Mark Webber struggled for pace finishing down in thirteenth. The Williams of Nico Rosberg came third with Hamilton's team-mate Heikki Kovalainen in fourth. Rubens Barrichello finished in sixth behind the two BMW's of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld. Rubens' team-mate and championship leader Jenson Button struggled and only managed fourteenth. The two Force India drivers didn't look quick at all as the high down-force circuit of Singapore didn't seem to suit the car. They ended the session P16 and 17. Giancarlo Fisichella seemed to be struggling a lot being 1.2s behind team-mate Räikkönen and 2.4s behind Lewis Hamilton.
Very early on the first session Renault's Romain Grosjean went down the escape round at turn 17, as his brakes had no efficiency. Rosberg was the one who set the early pace but Button, Vettel and Hamilton responded quickly. Both Ferrari's were struggling until Räikkönen took second with three minutes remaining. This left Fisichella stuck in the bottom 5 and was eventually eliminated only managing eighteenth.
Mark Webber was the early pace setter in this 15 minute knock-out, but an amazing lap by Nico Rosberg easily secured his place into Q3. Button was struggling all through the session and ran wide and almost put the car into the wall on his final lap. He eventually finished a dismal twelfth. And with Barrichello having to drop 5 places down the grid after changing his gearbox before qualifying it wasn't looking to good for Ross Brawn's team. Barrichello left it late and jumped from eleventh to sixth to book his place in the top 10 shootout. The others to be knocked out were; Nakajima (P11), Räikkönen (P13), Buemi (P14) and Trulli in P15.
The top 10 drivers set their early quick laps. Hamilton took the early lead with Vettel and Rosberg close behind. With only two minutes to go it looked to be a close to who would take pole position. The top three were unchanged with Vettel very quick on track while Rosberg was going even quicker. However, Barrichello spun off and hit the wall hard, destroying much of the left side of his car, which brought out the yellow flags meaning anyone who was on a flying lap had to slow down unless they had already passed the scene of the accident. The red flag was brought out with 26 seconds remaining on the clock. As no other cars crossed the line, Hamilton took pole position ahead of Vettel, Rosberg and Mark Webber. Although Barrichello qualified fifth, he started the race tenth after his gearbox change. The session was restarted with only 26 seconds left there was no time to start a flying lap so no one rejoined the circuit. This session was the third of four to be red flagged during the weekend, only the third practice session was not interrupted.
Approximately three hours before the scheduled race start it was announced Nick Heidfeld would be starting the race from the pitlane, after his team discovered insufficient ballast had been fitted to his car. This promoted all the cars behind him one position on the grid, significantly moving both the Brawn cars onto the 'clean' side of the starting grid, on the racing line.
The race began shortly after 8pm local time with Lewis Hamilton making a clean start from pole position. Nico Rosberg took advantage of being on the clean side of the track to overtake Sebastian Vettel into the first corner. Fernando Alonso attempted to also pass Vettel but was unsuccessful, giving Mark Webber the opportunity to overtake Alonso on the outside of Turn 7. Both Alonso and Webber went off track as Webber completed the move. Stewards deemed Webber's move illegal and on lap seven he was told to hand the position back to Alonso, which also meant letting Timo Glock through as the German had also passed Alonso on the first lap. Alonso's Renault team-mate Romain Grosjean was not having any more luck, having to retire at the end of lap three with a recurring brake problem.
With Barrichello in seventh and Button out of the points scoring positions in 10th, Vettel looked to capitalise and try to close Button's 26 point lead in the Championship. By lap 13 he was 2.1 seconds behind Rosberg, who was in turn 2.5 seconds behind Hamilton. Vettel was the first of the leaders to stop, on lap 17. A lap later Rosberg pitted but he misjudged the level of grip on the pit exit, causing his car to cross the white line that distinguishes the pit lane from the race track, an offence that is punished by a drive-through penalty. Rosberg was issued with the penalty on lap 20 and would have to serve penalty within three racing laps. Hamilton also pitted on lap 20.
The following lap, an accident involving Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld necessitated the deployment of the Safety Car to remove debris from the track. Sutil spun attempting to pass Jaime Alguersuari on the inside of Turn 14 and, with his car facing the wrong way, attempted to rejoin the circuit as Heidfeld was taking the corner, causing a collision that forced both cars to retire, Heidfeld's first non finish since the 2007 United States Grand Prix. Sutil was later reprimanded and fined $20,000 by stewards for dangerous driving.
Most cars that had thus far not pitted for fuel and tyres did so under the Safety Car conditions, including both Brawn cars. The Safety Car did not benefit Rosberg, as Formula One regulations prevent a drive-through penalty being served under Safety Car conditions, meaning he would have to stop within two laps of the restart when the field was still closely bunched. During this round of pit stops, Alguersuari repeated the infamous mistake made by Felipe Massa at the 2008 race by attempting to exit his pit garage with the fuel hose still attached.
The race restarted on lap 26, with Vettel now pressurising Hamilton for the lead. Rosberg served his penalty on lap 28, demoting him to 14th position. Hamilton and Vettel traded fastest laps with the gap between them hovering under a second. Behind Vettel the longer-fuelled Timo Glock was being encouraged to keep pushing as his team believed they could leap-frog the Red Bull in the pits.
Vettel pitted for his second stop on lap 39 and was clearly pushing very hard, running over a kerb on his out lap and damaging the underside of his car, having already lost his right wing mirror. However, worse was to come, as on lap 40 the stewards handed him a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
This left Hamilton 9.2 seconds ahead of Glock, who was in turn 7.6 seconds ahead of Alonso as Vettel served his penalty on lap 43. Red Bull's afternoon went from bad to worse three laps later as Webber spun out at Turn 1 after a right-front brake failure.
McLaren brought in both Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen for their second stops, and Timo Glock also pitted. The Safety Car was not deemed necessary to clear Webber's car, giving Jenson Button, who had been following Kovalainen, the opportunity to put in a series of fast laps before his pit stop. With Barrichello running in seventh after a small problem at his second pit stop, Button had an opportunity to stay ahead of his team-mate and extend his Championship lead. He pitted on lap 51, emerging in a net fifth position behind the impressively recovering Vettel and ahead of Barrichello.
Button seemed to have the speed to catch Vettel, who was concerned about his brakes following the retirement of Webber as well as that of Alguersuari, of Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso, also with brake problems. Button closed the gap to under two seconds before he too appeared to develop brake problems. Fortunately for Button, his attempts to catch Vettel had given him a ten-second cushion over Barrichello with two laps to go.
Nearly two hours after the race started, Hamilton completed the final lap to take the chequered flag, ahead of Glock and Alonso. Vettel and Button held on for fourth and fifth respectively, ahead of Barrichello, Kovalainen and Robert Kubica in the final points paying position. Button extended his Championship lead by one point to 15 ahead of Barrichello, with just three races remaining. Vettel was 25 points behind Button while Webber's crash meant he was now officially out of the running for the World Championship. Brawn would need 12 points from the remaining three races to clinch the Constructors Championship, while Ferrari's poor race, with neither driver scoring points, allowed McLaren to close the gap to Ferrari to three points in the battle for third.
Interestingly, under Bernie Ecclestone's proposed 'winner takes all' medals system, Button would have been declared World Champion after this result, with no other driver able to match his tally of six race wins. The Olympics-style system was planned to be used to decide the 2009 World Champion but was dropped after pressure from teams in favour of the traditional points method.
Cars that use the KERS system are marked with "‡"
|Pos||No||Driver||Constructor||Part 1||Part 2||Part 3||Grid|
|2||15||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:47.541||1:46.362||1:48.204||2|
|4||14||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:47.646||1:46.328||1:48.722||4|
|8||6||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||1:47.347||1:46.832||1:49.307||202|
|9||5||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||1:47.615||1:46.813||1:49.514||7|
|14||12||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:47.677||1:47.369||13|
|16||20||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:48.231||15|
|17||11||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:48.340||16|
|20||21||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1:48.792||19|
- 1.^ Rubens Barrichello was given a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change prior to qualifying.
- 2.^ Nick Heidfeld was disqualified for being underweight after qualifying. He has also had gearbox and engine change prior to race, and he started from the pit lane.
Cars that ran KERS are marked with "‡"
Standings after the race
Bold text indicates who still had a theoretical chance to win the championship after this race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
F1 Rocks Singapore With LG
The inaugural F1 Rocks concerts was held in Singapore. Headlining acts include Beyoncé, The Black Eyed Peas, ZZ Top, Simple Minds, N*E*R*D, No Doubt, Jacky Cheung and A*Mei which took place 24 to 26 September nightly at Fort Canning Park. This also included Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button doing fun challenges and it was hosted by Lindsay Lohan.
Fuel Festival Singapore
Another massive SingaporeGP Season event Fuel Festival featured headliners Underworld, will.i.am, Peter Hook ex-New Order, Bloc Party, Guru Josh, Darren Emerson, Freaks, Hybrid, Samantha Ronson, and Johnny Vicious and was hosted by Lindsay Lohan which takes place 24 September at Suntec Convention Centre as well as 25 to 27 September nightly at the National Museum of Singapore.
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