Special win for sluggish Vettel
SEBASTIAN VETTEL: Gearbox failure on Lewis Hamilton's McLaren on lap 23 gave the Red Bull driver the 2012 Singapore F1 GP. Image: AFP
Author: Patrick Johnston
SINGAPORE, Malaysia - It's just as well, for World champion Sebastian Vettel, that the Singapore F1 GP was a marathon and not a sprint as the German overcame a self-perceived lack of pace in his Red Bull to win the two-hour night race.
A poor final qualification meant he started Sunday's race third place but he slipped past Pastor Maldonado's Williams by Turn 2 before benefiting from the gearbox failure of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren to stride to victory in Singapore for the second consecutive year.
"It was great to win in 2011 but to repeat it is even greater," he said after the 23rd win of his F1 career. "I'm very happy, especially with the 2012 championship being very tight. We didn't have the fastest package this weekend but still we won the race."
The victory helped Vettel cut the deficit to championship leader Fernando Alonso to 29 points; Alonso finished third but was delighted with the podium finish after once again showing he could win with an inferior car.
Vettel dominated the three practice sessions but couldn't match Hamilton's blistering pace in qualifying. He did stick with the Briton in the opening stages of Sunday's 59-lap race (reduced from 61 when the two-hour time limit was reached) before flashing past on lap 23 when the McLaren's gearbox failed.
McLaren's Jenson Button tried to challenge Vettel in the closing stages but the German responded with his fastest lap of the race to ensure a comfortable victory.
"It is a bit of a different race, very tactical," Vettel said of the challenging Singapore event. "Not only racing at night, it is also the circuit, a lot of corners, a lot of bumps, making it extremely difficult and making it a great challenge for us. Very happy with the result."