ALONSO WINS IN THE DARK - LEWIS ON HIS WAY TO TITLE
(Image taken from Yahoo)
It was time for another addition to the Formula 1 Grand Prix calender. Singapore. With the European season over it was the first of three races in the Far East. Unlike the later two though, European fans did not have to get up early for this one! Bernie Ecclestone presented, for our entertainment and conveinience, Formula 1's first ever night race! Complete with drivers and other team staff trying to live on European time, massive floodlights and some bumpy city streets. The title race was tight as anything, it was effectively a two horse race between the two title contenders, nowhere near over with four races to go. Such was the backdrop for the biggest experiment in F1 history.
All three Brits survived to make it into Q2 which was brilliant, leaving Piquet as the biggest name to bite an early bullet. Q2 was an interesting session, particularly as we came very close to having no Brits starting in the top 10 for the second race in a row, Lewis got in by the skin of his teeth after some complacent runs and Jenson started P12 while DC started P14. In Q3 it was Vettel that came up with the first flyer but that proved to be nothing Raikonen couldn't handle. Lewis then beat that time before being edged by Massa. Lewis came but to set a new quickest time only for his Brazilian rival to beat him at the last, claiming his fifth pole of the season, Lewis settling for P2.
Jenson didn't have the best of starts, dropping down to 14th but after that, things started to improve for him. A crash by Piquet led to a safety car period during which Jenson pitted and wound up making his way up to 10th! He dropped down to 12th after a second pitstop only to get back to 10th when the Safety car was called out once again. Generally he had a very quiet race but the end result was still impressive, Raikonen crashing out pushing him up to 9th, only his second top 10 finish of the year even if it didn't give him any points. Great work from the Honda driver all the same with strong races for him coming up before the end of the season.
DC's start wasn't anything amazing but like Jenson, things improved for him during the Safety Car period, particularly as Red Bull called it as soon as Piquet crashed, and responded by getting their guys in early. That did woners for both RBs, putting them in the points for starters and then benefitting when drivers ahead of them were called in for drive-throughs. That got DC as far as 3rd with Lewis on his heels, and I dared to dream of two Brits on the podium for the first time in hell knows how long. As it was, DC was forced into the pits for what turned out to be a messy stop but still, he was able to come back and finish 7th, picking up points for only the second time this season.
Lewis started OK but it soon became obvious that there was no way in hell he was going to catch Massa, before the safety car came out for the first time. Lewis came in but wound up dropping a few places untill those that had pitted illegally had drive-throughs. That got him as far as 4th but DC was in the way. I really didn't care who won that particular battle but Lewis wound up having the last laugh there. The next target was Rosberg who'd somehow come out unaffected by his drive through but Lewis couldn't find a way round him, not without risking what he'd already picked up. So he wound up settling for 3rd place which is nothing to complain about.
Particularly not after what happened to Massa. During the first round of pit stops he drove away...with the fuel hose attached! Some idiot in the Ferrari pit crew had greenlighted the Brazilian too early! That effectively knocked him out of the race, he still finished but way out of the points - wasn't even making an effort after that. Rosberg led briefly but he had to take a drive through after pitting when the pitlane was meant to be closed and that left Alonso as the man to beat for the night. And sure enough, the Spaniard(who started P15) managed to hold on to take the lead and went on to claim his first win of the season! Rosberg held on to finish 2nd.
Well those events allow Lewis to not only retain his position leading the championship but extend his lead to seven points! Further down, DC stays in 16th place, now on 8 points while even further down Jenson falls to 18th on 3 points.
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