Singapore GP: Alonso holds off Vettel
The Spaniard has now moved up to second in the championship, just eleven points off the leader, Mark Webber after bring 40 points behind just 3 races ago. The Australian also finished on the podium in third place, behind his Red Bull team-mate, Sebastian Vettel who never let Alonso pause for breath, tailing him by never much more than a second for this grueling and very long race, that nearly went to the two hour limit.
Despite securing another fantastic win, the situation in the Constructors’ championship has not got any easier, with four races remaining. With both Red Bulls on the podium tonight, they slightly extend their lead over Ferrari in third place.
Although harried all the way by Vettel, the Spaniard started from pole position. controlled the race from the front and set the fastest lap in another ideal weekend for Ferrari. His back-to-back wins on two diametrically different racetracks after his win two weeks earlier at the fast and flowing Monza - Ferrari it seems ready to run down the Red Bull of Webber.
Webber survived contact with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren that saw the former world champion crashing off a rival's car for the second race in a row to seriously dent his title aspirations, while the Briton's teammate Jenson Button drove his McLaren home fourth from the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Rubens Barrichello's Williams.
Alonso managed to keep Vettel at bay to the finish; the Spaniard's cause being helped by yellows for Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus burning on the main straight. "It was very difficult - we knew that Singapore physically is the toughest race this season," Alonso explained. "Two hours in humidity on a street circuit was tough to drive.
"We know Singapore is a unique track - we could confirm the car is performing well so we can stay in the fight for the championship. "There are four races to go and it seems we can be competitive on any track - so it's a great job by the factory and the team to get 100% of potential all the time - Forza Ferrari!"
"I tried to push him into a mistake, but he never made a mistake," Vettel admitted. "It's difficult to overtake here and it would have been too risky. We got good points. There was a bit missing yesterday and that is probably what was missing today - but in the drivers' championship everything is open."
"Lewis was quite a long way behind," Webber explained of his contact with Hamilton (see below). "This can happen sometimes - fortunately I could continue."
At the start, Alonso took the lead from pole-position from Vettel, Hamilton, Button and Webber. Kubica got by Rosberg the start, but the German got the position back on the first lap. Barrichello fell back to 8th.
Felipe Massa pitted at the end of the first lap to switch to the hard tire - trying to take a different strategy from the back of the grid.
Vitantonio Liuzzi came to a stop on the circuit with suspension damage. On lap 3, the Safety Car was deployed, in order to clear the Force India. Of the top runners, only Webber pitted for hard tires. Many of the runners further back in the field come to the pits.
Under the Safety Car, the order was Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Rosberg, Kubica, Barrichello, Schumacher, Kobayashi and Glock in tenth. Webber runs 11th, Massa up to 15th.
At the end of lap 5 the Safety Car pulled in and the race resumed. On lap 6 Webber passed Glock for tenth place.
At lap 10, Alonso sets fastest lap again, as he leads Vettel by 1.8 seconds, followed by Hamilton (3.7s), Button (7.6s), Rosberg (9.4s), Kubica (10.5s), Barrichello (15.2s), Schumacher (16.0s), Webber (16.5) and Kobayashi (17.9s) in tenth place - Massa (25.2s) runs in 14th place.
Alonso and Vettel continued to set fastest laps at the front, trying to get enough of a gap to pit and still come out clear of Webber, who has already pitted.
At lap 20, Alonso continued to lead Vettel by 3.2 seconds, followed by Hamilton (14.4s), Button (20.9s), Rosberg (24.2s), Kubica (28.0s), Barrichello (36.4s), Webber (37.3s), Schumacher (43.4s) and Kobayashi (44.6s) in tenth place - Massa (60.3s) in 13th.
On lap 29 Hamilton pitted from third place for tires - coming out in eighth place
On lap 30 Alonso and Vettel pitted from the front, as well as Button from third. Vettel's crew makes a faster stop, but the German is bogged down, leaving in second gear, but doesn't stall. Alonso maintained his lead.
On lap 32 Kobayashi spun into the wall and a moment later Senna came around the corner and ran into the stopped car. The Safety Car was deployed.
Under the Safety Car the order is Alonso, followed by Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Button, Rosberg, Kubica, Barrichello, Sutil, Hulkenberg and Massa in 11th place.
On lap 36 the race resumed. Webber got slowed up by a backmarker. Hamilton got a run and attempted to pass Webber for third. Hamilton was 2/3rds of the way ahead of Webber as they braked for the corner, Hamilton on the outside and Webber on the inside. Webber slid a bit wide and the two made contact which damaged Hamilton's left rear suspension and he was out. The incident came under review by the race Stewards. A furious Hamilton got out of the car - his championship hopes dimmed by his second retirement in a row.
On lap 37, Schumacher and Heidfeld made contact - Schumacher limped back to the pits with front wing damage while Heidfeld ended up in the barriers, out on the spot.
At lap 40, Alonso continues to lead Vettel by 1.4 seconds, followed by Webber (9.7s), Button (11.7s), Rosberg (14.4s), Kubica (15.3s), Barrichello (18.3s), Sutil (24.3s), Hulkenberg (25.0s), and Massa (26.0s) in tenth place.
Vettel was slowly closing on Alonso as the laps ran down. Vettel closed to under one second behind Alonso - the two drivers trading fastest lap.
The stewards of the race announced that no further action will be taken in the incident between Webber and Hamilton, deeming it a racing incident.
At lap 50, Alonso led Vettel by 1.0 second, followed by Webber (18.4s), Button (21.5s), Rosberg (27.2s), Barrichello (36.6s), Sutil (61.3s), Hulkenberg (61.9s), Massa (62.5s) and Petrov (64.0s) in tenth place.
Vettel pushed all the way to the end, but Alonso stayed ahead to take the win.
Jenson Button (4th): "At the start, I thought I'd take it easy on the rear tires, because we saw earlier in the weekend how quickly they were going away, and I think doing that helped me towards the end of my first stint when I was pulling in Lewis. On the Prime tire, I had a similar issue with rear-end stability, so not being able to challenge a Red Bull car that had 30 extra laps on its tires showed us that they were very quick around here today. But it's a circuit where we knew they'd be competitive, and probably one that was going to be difficult for us, so I go to Japan pretty happy. We've got a good upgrade for Suzuka: we'll have something that we tried to put on the car this weekend but couldn't - for reliability reasons. Coupled with our planned-for-Suzuka upgrade, it should hopefully be a bit of a double-whammy. My championship hopes were dented a little bit by Mark [Webber] finishing ahead of me, but the points gap to the front is just a race victory away. It shows there's still everything to play for - one bad race can cost you a lot of points."
Lewis Hamilton (DNF, Damage): "I'm still not exactly sure what happened with Mark and me. But, telling it from my point of view, I saw that he'd made a mistake, and had got caught up with the backmarkers, so I was in position to slipstream him. I was on the outside going into Turn Seven, and he was in my blind-spot, just behind me. I thought I'd got sufficiently past him, though. I braked, turned in, and tried to leave enough room for him on the inside - and the next thing I knew I'd got clipped, my tire was blown, and that was it. But, as the saying goes, I guess that's motor racing. So, there are still four races to go. I'm 20 points behind Mark, and that's a reasonable gap, but it's not an insurmountable one. I guess I'll just have to keep my head down and hope for the best. I'm not going to think specifically about the world championship right now, I'm just going to try to enjoy the rest of the season - and whatever happens happens. But I'll keep fighting to the end, because it's the only way I know."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Jenson drove an impressively solid race to bag 12 valuable world championship points, and was unlucky to miss out on a podium finish so narrowly. Lewis, too, drove a great race. We reckon he has good reason to consider himself rather unlucky, since he appeared to have pulled off a sound overtaking maneuver only to be bumped out of the race by the car he'd passed. But I guess that's motor racing. He's disappointed - we're all disappointed - but we'll regroup and continue to fight for both the drivers' world championship and the constructors' world championship. There are four grands prix left to run - four grands prix left to win in fact - and both our drivers are within a win of the drivers' world championship lead. So, yes, we're still within striking distance of taking both the drivers' world championship and the constructors' world championship, and that's what we're still intending to do our utmost to achieve. That's what Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is all about, in fact."
Nico Rosberg (5th): "It was extremely tough out there but we achieved the best possible result for us today. Our aim for the last few races is to finish as the best behind the top three teams and today we were able to profit as two of them had issues with Felipe in qualifying yesterday and Lewis in the race today. So fifth place is good for us and it's very satisfying for the team. I could push Jenson a little at some points which was good to see. We will be aiming to finish the rest of the season as strongly."
Michael Schumacher (13th): "I am not particularly happy about my first experience of racing in Singapore this evening. I had two encounters with other cars which were racing incidents and meant that I had to make my stops at times which were not ideal and consequently my race was heavily compromised. I suffered with the rear tires on my first set of options which made me slide rather than drive through corners which was tough, so I would probably say that I only enjoyed the second part of the race."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We had a small grid advantage starting from the clean side and Nico was able to make up a place which was good. We then stayed out under the first safety car when almost every car behind us came in which made us a little vulnerable but I was very pleased with our pace which enabled us to control the situation. Nico drove an excellent race today with a competitive performance that saw him pushing the McLaren-Mercedes at various stages. Michael had a more eventful race and whilst it didn't quite go his way today, he persevered to the end of the race. It was a very good team effort to improve the car over the course of the weekend and another well-deserved points finish."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Nico drove a very clever race and brought home the best result we could have achieved under our existing circumstances. Michael had an action-packed first night race in Singapore but he kept going which speaks for him and his car, posting some competitive lap times after his second stop for a new nose. Thank you to everybody in the team for the hard work that was done here in difficult conditions when working in the garage was like being in a sauna at times. Singapore is one of the very best places to stage a race and on behalf of Mercedes-Benz, I would like to give our compliments to the organizers who have built up a benchmark race in a very short period of time. Our learning process is taking our team in the right direction and I am sure that we will have a better car and results next season. We are looking forward to the last four races and everyone will work very hard so that our team and drivers can compete with the leaders in the seasons to come."
Sebastian Vettel (2nd): "Towards the end of the first stint my soft tires were pretty much finished, so the car was sliding a lot. We came in on the same lap as Ferrari and unfortunately I made a little mistake at the pit stop; otherwise I think it would have been very close. That's the story of the whole race. I tried to push Fernando as hard as I could into a mistake, but he didn't make a major one and it's hard to overtake here - it would have been too risky. In the end we got second and some good points. The most important thing is that the car was quick and competitive all weekend. There was something missing yesterday in qualifying, which is the only thing that affected us today. Some people had been commenting on our starts, but I had a very good start, so we made excellent progress with that. It's good to get points for the team, it helps us a lot in the Constructors' Championship and the Drivers' Championship is still open."
Mark Webber (3rd): "Our start was very good, so well done to the team for that. It was good for us to get away well, as it sets you up well for the race. I settled into the first stint and we had an early safety car. The team told me to pit, which I questioned, but they assured me it was the right thing. I wasn't sure and knew it was going to be a long stint on the primes, but when we came out and re-queued behind the safety car I realized I was in a reasonable position. I passed a few guys, then got to Rubens (Barrichello) who was driving very well and I couldn't clear him. We then had another restart and it can be difficult to get away cleanly when you have back-markers involved. I got caught up behind one the Virgin cars, he was doing his best, but Lewis (Hamilton) got a good run on me and unfortunately we made contact. It's obviously not desirable, as it was a key part of the race for me to maintain my position. Fernando (Alonso) and Sebastian (Vettel) drove fantastic races today. They drove well all weekend and it was a good race for everyone to see, I'm very happy with third."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "First of all a fantastic team performance to get a double podium with second and third. Both drivers drove excellent races today. We took a bold decision with Mark early on to stop him behind the pace car, which meant going a long way on the prime tire. He managed to make it work by making some great passing moves and he had great pace. The incident with Lewis Hamilton was a racing incident. It seemed to be caused by a back-marker who cost Mark a lot of time and enabled Lewis to get a run. He squeezed Mark too much, so Mark didn't have anywhere to go through the corner and there was contact. Sebastian made a good start and harried Fernando for pretty much two hours. It's very, very hard to overtake here in Singapore and he gave it his absolute best. We were going for the undercut, but unfortunately Ferrari covered us, which meant we had to overtake on-track. Sebastian continued to push Fernando all the way to the checkered flag. It's a great team result on one of the hardest circuits on the calendar and we've extended our lead in the Constructors' Championship and Mark has extended his lead in the Drivers', with Sebastian closing in also. It's a positive weekend and congratulations to the team who have put in endless hours at the circuit and a lot of hard work at the factory."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "An excellent result and a very good recovery from yesterday. Our strategists again did a very good job by choosing to stop Mark during the first safety car. It was a big risk, but was rewarded. Due to that and the big performance from Sebastian we got a second and third, which is very good for both Championships. Congratulations to the whole team, we are in very good shape for the last four races of the season."
Fernando Alonso (1st):
Felipe Massa (9th):
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal:
Rubens Barrichello (6th): "It was a good race and a good collection of points today. It was a pity to drop places off the line, but while my brakes were hot, the lap times were good and I was catching Kubica, but with the interruptions of the Safety Cars I kept losing brake performance, so it was difficult to make any more headway than we managed. In summary, though I think we can be pleased with our performance this weekend."
Nico Hulkenberg (8th): "If someone had offered me eighth place and some points after how qualifying went yesterday, I would have grabbed it! It has been a hard day's work out there, huge concentration needed for a long race with a car close in front and another close behind for pretty much the entire race distance. But I am pleased with fighting my way through from the back to eighth place and helping the team to move ahead in the championship."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a good points score from both cars today. Rubens start was poor so he lost two positions immediately. Nico had a great start and first lap. Then on the first Safety Car we decided to split the cars on strategy and it worked out for both of them. Nico did well to score points from his grid position. FW32 has been progressively stronger, and we intend to continue the trend in Suzuka."
Robert Kubica (7th): "The last few laps were definitely the most exciting part of the race. The engineers spotted a right-rear puncture on the data - it must have been some debris that cut the tire, because I didn't touch the wall and couldn't feel anything in the cockpit. That stop dropped me from sixth to 13th position. I had much fresher tires than the cars in front in those last laps, but it's still not easy to pass in Singapore, so it was good fun picking them off one by one. In the end, I got back to seventh place, which meant we only lost one position compared to our maximum this afternoon. Ultimately, if somebody had said that I would finish seventh today, and make one more pit stop than the cars around me, then I'd definitely have taken it."
Vitaly Petrov (11th): "I made a fantastic start and was running in 10th position early in the race. We stopped under the first Safety Car period and I was the first runner on prime tires behind Webber, so things looked good. I need to look at the video to see what happened afterwards with Hulkenberg and why he pushed me out in turn seven, but his move cost me three positions. I was then stuck behind Massa, in the queue behind the Force India, and it just wasn't possible to overtake because we had all changed tires at the same time. It was a tough race, but my luck went away from me yesterday in qualifying. I hope things will come back in my direction starting in Suzuka, so that I can put together a consistent weekend in qualifying and the race."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "Overall, it's a disappointing and frustrating result because we scored very few points, while our nearest rivals Mercedes did a better job than us and stretched their lead today. Robert's puncture forced him to make an extra pit stop, and he drove superbly to fight back to seventh: it was the highlight of the race to see him make up six positions in nine laps. As for Vitaly, his race was compromised by a very ambitious maneuver from Hulkenberg, which cost him three places and some valuable points. We now must look forward to Suzuka and hope for a better level of performance across the weekend."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "It was a pretty exciting afternoon - but we'd have preferred a more boring race and more points. Our car didn't have the pace to stay with Rosberg today, and it was hard to do anything creative with the strategy when everybody was making just one stop. Robert was headed for a sixth place finish before his puncture, and he then did an excellent job to climb back up the order. We stopped Vitaly under the first Safety Car on lap three, and he was in a very good position when he tangled with Hulkenberg. That cost him a guaranteed points finish."
Remi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations: "It was a tough race for both cars. Robert and Vitaly both made very competitive starts and were in good positions in the opening stages, but we ultimately lost ground to our main rival in the championship. For the engines, it was a very easy race: the temperatures were well under control, and we had no problems to push all the way through. It was the second race for both engines and, as per our plan, these units will not be raced again."
Adrian Sutil (10th * given a 20-second penalty (after the race) for cutting turn 7 to gain an advantage on the opening lap): "It was a really hard race today, in the heat and the humidity and having to race the whole way - I always had a car following really closely behind! Starting from 15th on the grid, I think this was the maximum we could have done. It's a fantastic result, particularly after the disappointment yesterday. I said before it is very important to score every single point we can so we can keep ahead of Williams in the constructors' championship. That's why I tried so hard to keep Hulkenberg behind - any points we get are very important. We now go onto Suzuka, one of my favorite tracks, where I'll try my best to keep everything on track until the end of the season."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (DNF, Damage): "It was a difficult first lap. I had a good start and I was trying to overtake Heidfeld, who went straight on into turn seven side by side with Adrian. I was holding my line but after the corner they both came back on the line and I was squeezed into the wall. I had some contact with Heidfeld and damaged the front wing a little and then I must have cracked the rear suspension as well as the lap after it broke completely and I lost the rear end. It's really disappointing as looking at how the race developed I think we could have picked up a good finish. Anyway, it will be onto Japan now where I hope we can have a much better race."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "We knew Singapore wouldn't suit us as much as other tracks but we got the best outcome we could today. We got back in the points again - every single one counts at this stage in the championship. Adrian drove a great race, keeping a whole stream of cars behind him on very used tires, and deserved his eighth position. Unfortunately Tonio retired early on after a racing incident. Given how qualifying went yesterday, to get one points finish is satisfying and we can now move onto the circuits that should work more to our advantage."
Jaime Alguersuari (12th): "I am satisfied that I finished the race, but to be honest, it was possibly the most boring race of my career. I was stuck in a train of cars and there was virtually nothing I could do. It should have been a good opportunity for us to score points today, having qualified eleventh, but it went wrong before the start with a coolant leak on the car, which meant I started from pit lane after the others had gone by. At that point, my hopes of having a good day disappeared. At least I managed three overtaking moves. Looking on the positive side, I think our car has improved in terms of performance and it's not so bad to start last and finish twelfth."
Sebastien Buemi (14th): "It was a very tough race. I made a good start, but on the opening lap I had a contact with Kobayashi, which I think might have done some damage because from that point on I had a lot more understeer. So we decided to stop and change the front wing to be on the safe side and at the same time we also changed the tires. I came out behind Petrov and spent most of the race behind him. Later on, I had to pit another time to pressurize the hydraulic system and we again changed tires, which meant I was able to catch and pass Jaime and close on Petrov again. I tried to pass him, I didn't manage it and I was caught by Kubica, who was on fresh tires. Another pit stop was needed, where we fitted the soft tires and after that I was able to do some good lap times. I am disappointed because I think that, without the difficulties I had, tenth place should have been within my grasp. However, generally the car has improved which is encouraging for the next race."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Unfortunately, on his laps to the grid, we noticed there was a water leak on Jaime's car and as we were unable to fix it before the pit lane closed, he had to start from the pits. This was a shame, as it meant he was unable to make the most of his best qualifying performance of the season, which had seen him secure eleventh place on the grid. After that, he drove a good race. As for Sebastien, on the opening lap, he told us he thought he might have a problem with the front wing, after making contact with another car. Therefore, we called him in during the first Safety Car period, changing his tires and the nose section. Later on, he was unable to get past Petrov, so we decided to bring him in again for fresh tires, after which he passed his team-mate. He was still unable to catch Petrov and when Kubica, on fresh tires passed both our cars, we again brought Buemi in for new tires, in the hope this would give him a performance advantage, but the strategy did not work. Overall, we should have got a better result, as the car had performed well throughout the weekend. Unfortunately, this evening a variety of circumstances kept us out of the points positions."
Heikki Kovalainen (16th, Fire): "That was not quite how I thought my race would end! Until the fire, I was having a really strong run and the car had felt good throughout. We were looking good for 15th, but then I had a coming together with Buemi towards the end of the race. I spun the car to get back onto the track which I think cracked the fuel tank pressure release valve and it looks like that caused an airbox fire. I didn't want to come into the pits as it definitely wasn't safe enough to do so, and pulled over on the main straight. A couple of guys from Williams gave me an extinguisher, so I put the fire out on my own - I told Tony and Mike that they maybe need to pay me more as I'm now a fireman as well..."
Jarno Trulli (DNF, Hydraulics): "I had a very good start and was running well with Heikki but then the problems started. I had a puncture just after the first safety car which brought me back in early, and then the hydraulic problems that have affected me quite a few times this season struck again. It's been a difficult weekend to be honest, but now we go to Suzuka which is a track I really look forward to, so hopefully I'll have some better luck there."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "The race tonight marks a major step forward for us. On the pitwall we were talking about beating Michael and Buemi in a straight fight on track, and we told Heikki to take the fight to them - not to take the conservative approach. If we'd taken the safer option maybe Heikki wouldn't have hit Buemi, but we're here to race, and that's what I mean about a big step forward. This is all part of our learning curve, but coming here and racing the Toro Rossos and Mercedes at the end of a pretty hardcore race is a sign of how far we've come. We'll take all these lessons into next year, and it can only help us be an even more potent force in 2011."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "It was a very eventful race and a real shame at the end to see Heikki's race brought to an end with the fire. Both cars made a great start and got themselves in front of the Virgins which is obviously what we wanted to do. We stopped them both during the first safety car lap, which seemed to be the right call, and the pit crew did a great job to get them both turned around as quickly as they did. Unfortunately Jarno then picked up a puncture from some debris on track and then a hydraulics problem brought his race to an end. We tried to get him back out, but after having done so the problems started again straight away so he had to come back in. Heikki clearly had a pretty dramatic race. When the fire started he made the decision not to come into the pitlane for safety reasons, and did very well to put the fire out himself. Until that point he was having a fantastic race and we were looking forward to fighting with Michael and Buemi right to the end, but unfortunately the fire put paid to that. The main thing really is to say thanks to him for being brave enough to put it out, and be thankful that he's fine after what was a pretty spectacular end to his race. After such a good race performance from him and the whole team, we will take some real positives from this weekend, and look forward to the last four races."
Christian Klien (DNF, Hydraulics): "I really enjoyed being back in Formula One again even though a comeback here in Singapore might be one of the most difficult. Due to the humidity and the challenging circuit, it has been a tough race today. At the beginning I got off to a good start, could win some positions and was 18th in the meantime. I want to thank the whole team for their great job and also for giving me the opportunity to race."
Bruno Senna (DNF, Accident): "As soon as I came out of the corner and into the braking area the flags came out, but it was too late and there was no way to avoid the accident. The marshals were just too late and I didn't have any notice of what was going on. It's just one of those days. But we have to keep on working hard for Japan."
Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "It was an unlucky weekend because we did not finish the race. As we knew that a lot of things could have happened on this track, we were in a good position after deciding to have an early pit-stop during the first safety car period. One car crashed in an unfortunate situation, and the other one had a hydraulic failure on the same lap. Now we have to look forward and think of Japan, which I think is one of the best tracks."
Nick Heidfeld (DNF, Accident): "Of course I would have hoped for a better result and wanted to finish the race. But, in my view, Michael (Schumacher) was braking a bit too late and knocked me out of the race. My race was compromised soon after the start anyway. Vitantonio Liuzzi wanted to pass me from a long way off on the outside in corner four. Then I believe he braked early and unfortunately I crashed into him. The car wasn't easy to drive with the missing rear wing endplate and, anyway, the set-up had not been ideal because you are not allowed to change anything after qualifying. However, having said that, the lap times were not too bad for a while in the race. I'm now looking forward to my favorite circuit, Suzuka."
Kamui Kobayashi (DNF, Accident): "It was clearly my mistake. After I overtook Michael Schumacher I knew I had to push very, very hard to score a point, but meanwhile the tires were completely gone. I misjudged this in that corner and crashed into the barrier. Then Bruno Senna crashed into my car as well. The overall damage is quite bad. At the start it was very close and I lost one place to Vitaly Petrov. Against Mark Webber I had no chance, and then I was tenth behind Michael. I could have gone faster but had no chance to overtake. When I saw an opportunity I attacked him and it worked. Then, as I said, I pushed like hell and ended up in the barrier."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "Everything went against us today. We shall quickly leave that behind us and concentrate on Kamui's home race in Suzuka, which is important for our team."
James Key, Technical Director: "It's ultimately a shame not to finish. Our drivers had a split strategy to make use of the relative positions they were in. So we started Nick on the prime tires, and Kamui was on the option compound from qualifying. With the very early safety car period we had to decide whether to pit Kamui or leave him out, and, like the guys around us, we decided to leave him out. Kamui got stuck behind Michael Schumacher, who was really slow and that cost Kamui an awful lot of lap time. Once he got passed Michael, Kamui had to push to the limit to get a gap to the cars behind him and to make the strategy work. Unfortunately in pushing he had an off, and that was the end of his race. Nick had a problem with his front wing and a puncture after a first lap incident, so we had to bring him in and give him the option tires to catch up on. He then came in again during the second safety car period, and we put him on prime tires, which would have taken him to the end. But then there was a racing incident which unfortunately saw him pushed out when he was the car in front."
Lucas di Grassi (15th): "A very good result overall and I have achieved my target for Singapore. We opted to pit during the first safety car period but we were very unlucky with the second, which made us lose a lot of time in the race. After that I just focused on getting to the finish. The car was feeling better and better and I was improving my lap time, so overall I'm happy with my performance today."
Timo Glock (DNF, hydraulics): "I got a reasonably good start to the race but both Lotus cars were able to overtake me. I was then able to retake Trulli at turn 7 and it was quite good putting pressure on Kovalainen. At the first safety car we tried to stay out, which worked out okay and I was running as high as P10. I stayed in front of all the other guys for a few laps but when Sutil overtook me there was no chance to keep the others in the pack behind me. When he passed I couldn't recover quick enough because the tires were dirty as a result of having to go offline. We were just unlucky with the second safety car. I had to come in for tires and we just ended up behind. Then a few laps from the end we had a problem with the hydraulics and our race was over. So now we look forward to the next one in Japan where we have more of our upgrade package and that should help us a lot."
John Booth, Team Principal: "Well done to Lucas who had a solid run to the flag to be the leading finisher for the new teams. He also set the fastest lap of the new teams. We tried a different strategy with Timo, starting on the Prime tire and staying out during the first safety car. He had a good battle with the midfield cars early on, but was unlucky with the timing of the second safety car. Unfortunately he suffered a hydraulic problem towards the end of the race. Overall though it has been a positive weekend and once again the teamwork has been great."
* Sutil given 20-second penalty (after the race) for cutting turn 7 to gain an advantage on the opening lap.
Fastest lap: Alonso, 1:47.976
World Championship standings, round 15
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