Vettel dominates for third Singapore win
22 September 2013 – Sebastian Vettel took his third Singapore Grand Prix victory with a dominant display at the Marina Bay circuit on Sunday evening. After fending off Nico Rosberg through the opening sequence of corners, the Red Bull driver went on to survive a Safety Car period and lead home chief title rival Fernando Alonso by more than half a minute. Lotus' Kimi Räikkönen battled through back pains to claim third.
As the lights went out, it was second-placed Rosberg who got the best start, slipping up the inside of pole-sitter Vettel into the first corner. But the Mercedes man went too deep, running over the exit kerbs and relinquishing the position at Turn 2. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso made a storming start to rise from seventh on the grid to third.
Having narrowly held his position on the opening lap, Vettel's weekend-long pace advantage was clear from the offset, the German pulling away from his compatriot at a vast rate of knots. And when the opening pit-stop phase arrived, his lead was only strengthened thanks to slick work from the Red Bull crew and rapid in and out laps.
The first point of concern for the reigning World Champion arrived on Lap 25, when future team-mate Daniel Ricciardo hit the barriers at Turn 18 and sparked a lengthy Safety Car period. But there was no reason for Red Bull to worry, as Vettel produced a phenomenal restart to re-establish a comfortable lead within just a handful of laps.
With Vettel, Rosberg, Webber and Lewis Hamilton opting to stay out during the Safety Car phase, they were forced into another pit-stop before the chequered flag. Vettel had built up such an advantage that he maintained track position, but the latter three fell down the order and had a string of rivals to overtake throughout the final stint.
While Vettel steered his way to a 33rd Formula 1 victory, and Alonso secured a lonely second position, the battle for the remaining places was a fierce one. Kimi Räikkönen ultimately grabbed the final rostrum spot with a stunning move on McLaren's Jenson Button, the latter helplessly falling back in the closing laps amid severe degradation.
Webber had looked set to take fourth, but repeated warnings to short shift ultimately gave way to a fire on the final lap, the Australian getting a lift back to the pit lane from Alonso. Rosberg and Hamilton took fourth and fifth with late moves, while Massa outplaced Button, who had to settle for seventh ahead of team-mate Sergio Pérez.
The final points went to Nico Hülkenberg and Adrian Sutil, with the former's Sauber team-mate ultimately unable to turn his positive qualifying performance into a maiden points finish. Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean were the other two men to retire, the former crashing late on and the latter enduring an air consumption issue.
In the championship standings, Vettel increases his points total to 247 and now heads Alonso by a margin of 60. Hamilton sits third, a further 36 points in arrears.
The 14th round of the 2013 season takes place in Korea from October 4-6, with practice, qualifying and the race covered via the GPUpdate.net Live Report