Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is back to his championship form, and he demonstrated this with authority in Singapore. First, he out-qualified Red Bull Renault’s Sebastian Vettel, who’d been fastest throughout practice and early qualifying. On race day, Alonso slammed the door on Vettel into the first corner and never looked back, winning the race from the pole despite two safety car periods that tightened the field and added the complication of slower cars into the mix. Vettel finished in second position, followed by his teammate Mark Webber in third.
The race didn’t go nearly as well for McLaren Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Starting from the third position, Hamilton was keeping pace with the cars of Alonso and Vettel in the early stages of the race. When the safety car was dispatched on lap three, Red Bull Renault’s Mark Webber pitted early for his mandatory tire replacement. Subsequent stops from the leaders under green track conditions shuffled the order until it was Webber in third, followed by Hamilton in fourth. Hamilton’s car appeared quicker, and he was able to get by Webber for third position. In the next corner, Hamilton came down on Webber, who was still alongside. The subsequent impact drove Hamilton into the high curbing of the Singapore street circuit, damaging his rear suspension and ending his race. Hamilton was livid, and race stewards reviewed the incident but didn’t penalize Webber. I think it was a good call on their behalf, since both drivers are still in contention for the championship. It was an aggressive move from both drivers, but best chalked up to a “racing incident”.
Hamilton’s inability to capture driver’s championship points on the weekend has shuffled the championship standings, but it’s still up for grabs among the top five drivers. Heading into the Japanese Grand Prix on October 10, Mark Webber leads the championship standings with 202 points, followed by Fernando Alonso with 191, Lewis Hamilton with 182, Sebastian Vettel with 181 and Jenson Button with 177.