Hamilton strolls to win as rivals make mistakes
Mercedes
Hamilton strolls to win as rivals make mistakes
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Sep 2009   |  3:54 pm GMT  |  145 comments

Lewis Hamilton won the Singapore Grand Prix with a faultless drive from pole position to redeem himself after his last lap crash in Monza. But his task was made easier by key errors made by his two main rivals, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.
Picture 33

Both made mistakes in pit stops which brought them drive through penalties; Rosberg had done the hard work at the start, passing Vettel off the line to take second place, but then he got into trouble when he made a slip after his pit stop and crossed the white line on the pit exit.

Vettel was penalised for speeding in the pit lane. Rosberg was doubly unlucky as his penalty was handed out just as a safety car was deployed and it meant that he had to serve it when the field was all bunched up, which dropped him down to 14th place. Any hope of that first victory were gone.

Vettel had a little more luck. Although he lost second place through his error, his drive-through happened later on in the race and he was able to rejoin in seventh place and then pick off other cars when they made their second stops. He ended up fourth. “It’s all we could do in the end. I had a chance of a podium. I was surprised when I got the call for speeding in the pit lane. It’s disappointing because the car was quick.”

Apart from Hamilton, the happiest man in Singapore tonight will be Jenson Button. He extended his lead over Rubens Barrichello in the points table to 15 with three races remaining thanks to a strong recovery drive from 12th on the grid. He had quite severe brake problems at the end of the race and had to nurse the car home, but managed to finish in fifth place, one spot ahead of Barrichello. Button was helped by a call from the pits not to pit after Mark Webber had a crash. Many drivers thought that a safety car might come out so they dived into the pits, but Button stayed out, correctly as it turned out and jumped both Heikki Kovalainen and Barrichello.

For Hamilton it was a second victory of the season and proof that he and McLaren are ending the season as consistent front runners, “I came here wanting to redeem myself after the last race and I did it, ” he said. “The race was straightforward for me. I built a big enough gap and was never under serious pressure. I felt it was a nicely controlled race. I had not problems in the car but the team came on the radio and said there was a fault with the KERS so I had to disable and then re-engage it but it was no problem. The focus you need here is as much as you can get, it’s just corner after corner, there is no let up and it’s bumpy.”

Arguably the driver of the day was Toyota’s Timo Glock, who equalled his best ever result in second place. He drove a perfect race, which was made by his audacious pass on Alonso at the start. His luck was really in as Mark Webber was told to let Alonso through as he had retained his position by going off the race track and in order to do that he had to let Glock through first. So Glock gained two key places.

Alonso being passed by Glock was a decisive moment because he was never able to get back on terms with the Toyota driver. Nevertheless after the two weeks Renault has just endured, it is appropriate that they should get their first podium of the season here.

“The result is great for us, first podium of the season and it was a great race, ” said Alonso.

Webber didn’t finish the race, he clearly had brake problems when he made his second stop, but the mechanics inspected his right front brake and sent him back out. Shortly afterwards he had a brake failure which pitched him off the circuit.

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1

I think it was ridiculous and sad for Alonso to dedicate the podium to Briatore.

I understand that Alonso feels Briatore is partly responsable for his success and to have hired a lot of the Renault employees.

But he also shouldn’t have forgotten so easily that Briatore was also responsable for the biggest fraud in the sport’s history, endangering the jobs of the same 600 employees, damaged a huge car maker’s reputation, the all sports credibility not to mention the lifes of drivers, spectators and marshals.

And in the scene of the crime, Alonso talks like it was none of his business, still think’s his last year win was fair and legitimal. Then in this year’s race, he gets a podium and what does he do? He treats Briatore like a Hero. What is this? Unbelievable

He may be a good driver, but he’s a shameful guy.

2

i think to say glock was driver of the day is very generous. he got given position by a bad call by charlie whiting on webber, and then lucked into the safety car.

i’d say that vettel getting 4th despite a drive through and broken diffuser drove better.

also, i think the drive through penalty is way too harsh for such minor discretions. why not just make the drivers drop 5 seconds over 3 laps, should be easy enough? and the webber penalty was a joke. firstly, having a little kerb in a bit expanse of asphalt is clearly a crap way of making a circuit. secondly, loads of drivers went wide when side by side, it’s part of racing. but they didn’t get penalised for doing essentially the same thing, but to a slightly lesser extent. this post spa ruling is still totally arbitary (tho i guess it’s representative of a lot of FIA decisions).

to answer a question above, about why NPJ got no punishment whatsoever for coming up with the idea of crashing, and then going through with it, knowingly endangering other drivers, marshalls, and spectators safety, for the sole purpose of trying to secure a contract for the following year, is that the FIA in their wisdom* decided to grant him immunity if he pointed the finger at someone else who was involved to a lesser extent, that they could punish instead.

*unbound determination to remove flav, who had happened to upset max, from F1

3

…and didn’t Vettel break his own diffuser?

I kinda agree with you that the punishment for a ‘minor’ infringement in the pitlane is harsh, but Vettel knows the rules and the penalty, it was a rather silly error to make.

4

Yes but look at the relative pace of the cars they were driving

5

So … Jenson can win the championship in Japan, right? 5 points more than Rubens and it’s all over ……

6

That’s it

7

Boring, Boring, Boring, How can they build a new track without overtaking places?? Get rid of the designer.

Well done Jenson, the drive of a champion!!

8

i think button has emerged as a ‘don’t crack under pressure’ guy…he’s hardly had any mistakes this year ,and as you can see vettel is the one who gets the penalties ,barri the one who pulls the trigger on the wall..and yet jenson comes up with valuable points for the championship…

i can see him get the crown in brazil in front of ecstatic rubinho fans…how’s that?;)

a champion’s drive from hamilton and a champion’s ride to the world championship from button…sums up the race and season so far…

9

What a good race – really enjoyed it – despite minimum action.

A much better spectacle and asset to the Calendar than Valencia.

10

Actually… if this year’s Valencia and Singapore GPs were the first GPs held on each of these venues, I might have voted on Valencia being the most interesting new track..!

11

The race was typical for a street circuit; an exciting couple of opening laps and then a procession with little chance of overtaking. This is where viewing the race from the onboard cameras is far more exciting. Street circuits like Singapore and Monaco pose a real challenge for the drivers as there is little room for error, because of the bumpy surfaces and walls. With onboard cameras you truly get to appreciate the skill of the drivers. Very entertaining.

12

Well done ‘Nando!

Nice result, and it’s always great to see a great driver behaving like a brave person, and not back-stubbing his mentor, as the little Little Liar (aka LH) and his little Daddy did after the LiarGate 🙂

Oh, and looking forward to Ferrari’s announcement!

13

What? Just like the driver who declared that “The team don’t love me anymore” when they were delivering him a WDC in 2006? The same one who tryed to blackmail his boss with Ferrari technical information that HE had actively been cheating with? The same driver who is famed for dictating his race strategy etc., yet strangely forgot to in Singapore 2008?

I see plenty of toys leaving the pram at Ferrari……

14

Also, you want us to believe that half the McLaren team knew about the data, and the other half not?? In particular not LH??

And not that there was some short of deals to keep their star-of-the-future clean?? Exactly as the did with the LiarGate??

I see…

15

I see plenty of wins and championships coming at Ferrari!

PS: I don’t recall RD being FA’s mentor or something. But i recal RD saying “we were racing against Fernando”… great team spirit…

16

Perfect race for hamilton.

Button world champ. He might not win another gp in his career. But 2009 was his lucky year.

Next year we’ll watch the fight everybody wants to see. Hamilton-alonso.

Both at the top of their game.

Make your bets…

17

If Raikkonen does return to McLaren and Massa recovers to join Alonso at Ferrari I’d suggest we’re looking at a scintillating 4-way title battle next year. However if Red Bull and Brawn produce outstanding cars again, then the title could be wide open with up to eight drivers in with a realistic chance – roll on March 2010.

18
Just A Bloke (Martin)

Morning all,

Part 1-Given what happened with Rosberg, who clearly gained no advantage and made best endeavours to get back inside the white line, can someone explain where the demarcation of the track is at La Source.

Webbo gets told to give back two places for being pushed wide, Rosberg gets a drive through yet Kimi seemed to gain massive advantage by deliberately using the run off. I seem to remember Mansell doing the same years ago.

Part 2-I know the pit lane exit is slightly different to the main race track in terms of regulations but surely even the most bone headed official could see that there was no danger and that there had been no malice in his move. Perhaps a fine or warning would be more appropriate given the implications of the drive through. Any thoughts on alternative punishments ?

19

For me personally this race easily wins the category of most boring races of the year. It is not a secret that real F1 fans do not like races lie Valencia, Singapore, etc.

There is no racing, the track is dirty and bumpy, there is no overtaking, pit lane exit is a disaster, etc

I need to say it was a pleasure to watch Spa – it always is….but….it looks like racing is not the most important element of the game. Glamour certainly is.

20

There was no overtaking (apart from off the start, and apart from Rosberg fighting his way back a few places) but that doesn’t mean there was no racing. Clearly there was. What was Button doing in the 4-5 laps before his last pit stop? Racing to take 5th place from Barichello and Kovalainen. And how did Vettel hold on to 4th despite a drive-through? By racing.

I would suggest that real F1 fans appreciate the strategic aspects of the formula, and understand that drivers can be racing one another without necessarily being in the same camera shot all the time.

21

The battle between Sutil and the Torro Rosso was pretty good too. Someday, I do believe they will formulate some rules to assist overtaking – 15 years ago I heard the likes of Max Mosely talking about the same issue, but so little has been done because of the self-interested people involved. The talk of the mid-nineties was about putting two cars into a wind tunnel together to learn about turbulence effects…fast forward to 2009 and they’ve come an embarassingly small way with it, if they indeed did that work at all. If there can be great racing in GP2 at Valencia then Singapore will come into its own when the cars are changed.

I love Spa too – but I don’t want a calender of 19 Spa’s – variety is the key and Singapore is unlike anything else out there. On the other hand, I’d be quite happy to see the end of featureless tracks like Barcelona.

22

I’m surprised at the criticism of the Singapore circuit. I think it’s fantastic, and not just because of the spectacular scenery. It’s the type of circuit that you can really see a driver attack; locking wheels in the bumpy braking zones, fighting powerslides on the corner exits while keeping it inches from the wall, with sparks and dust flicking up from the diffuser down the straights. Even when there’s no passing, I feel I’ve seen a great race.

23

And Me. Attendance is great too.

25

And me…

It’s the aero packages that prevent a car from getting in close to make a pass on a car in front – not specifically a track (although sure, Monaco’s a nightmare – but then, that’s a different challenge entirely).

The first lap or two (when the tyres are outside their operating range) or when someone’s on a considerably different fuel level, is when we see on track passes. Other than that, I’m not sure the regs have worked re: over-taking. I’m not sure they ever will.

It will be different (to begin with) next year to see how full-tanks affect tyre-wear and thus race-pace. But you can guarantee, the engineers, designers et al, will solve the problems and we’ll be back to less over-taking.

It’s inherent, if the fast cars start at the front and the slow at the back. [In quali they should soak the track and put some randomness into the grids ;-)]

People bang on about Button being shoddy… but go back to his pass on Hamilton – I think it was in Bahrain – earlier in the season, it was immense… and Lewis had KERS too. Button had to get past, so did Vettel; Jenson made it, Seb didn’t and spent the race looking at Lewis’s exhaust. These are the little things that combine to make a WDC… im(h)o.

26

Not the best Grand Prix ever by any stretch but I must say the night race/city circuit makes for spectacular viewing and needs to be applied elswhere (Imagine a Tokyo/Hong Kong/Las Vegas street circuit at night).

One question I have is on the differing paths Mclaren and Ferrari seem to have taken. Mclaren has continued to pour improvements into this year’s car while Ferrari seem to have given up and say they are working on next year’s car. Mclaren claim that the stability in the regulations for next year will mean all the work on this year’s car pays off next year as well. If that is indeed the case, why would Ferrari stop improving their car now and miss the opportunity to use the rest of this season as a extended test session? Surely one of the two teams is badly wrong here.

27

Maybe Ferrari is secretly developing next year’s specially designed for Alonso.

28

Apparently Ferrari have gone on record saying they made fundamental design errors with this years car, so they need to design theirs from the ground up for next year.

McLaren on the other hand, whilst starting the season with a dog of a car, have got a good foundation for 2010.

29

I thought it was a great race….I’d backed Glock & Alonso to finish in the top 3 kerrrchinggggg!!!

30

In the history of F1 there are only 30 champions. Think about that for a minute. Think about all the drivers that have competed in F1 and those in junior categories trying to break in. Becoming an F1 champion is entry into a very exclusive club. At the end of the season, we typically see the major title protagonists trading blows – ie dividing the wins amongst themselves. However, this year we are seeing the “title contenders” picking up the lower placings. Why is this? Simply because a rule aberration has resulted in an effective tier 2 talent championship. Button’s poor performance has gone unpunished because he is being chased by F1’s lesser talent. Button is certainly the weakest WC in the last 20 years and maybe the weakest ever.

31

I’m sorry but this is utter boo-larks!

Unless you count “F1’s lesser talent” as a bunch of unbelievably talented drivers belonging for teams who a, missed a trick last winter…b, can’t put together a reliable racing car…or c, are already channeling all their attention on 2010’s effort.

32

“…this year we are seeing the “title contenders” picking up the lower placings. Why is this?”

Well, it’s because of a whole host of things…

It’s because Ferrari and McLaren, spent time on their 08 car, when others were developing their 09 car – in particular Brawn.

It’s because F and M were shocklingly bad at the start of the season and others weren’t – Brawn, Red Bull, Williams & Toyota.

It’s because in previous seasons, cars have been evolutions of a previous car… you find\design a good car, thus you keep a good car as the seasons pass by. The changes are evolutionary thus those in-front stay at the front – F & M have been dominant in the past decade or so, because of this.

It’s because in this season the reg changes were massive… McLaren have only just caught up relatively speaking (and only on certain types of track). Ferrari have abandoned this years car and are looking at 09. Look at BMW, last year contenders; this year, nowhere – they had “in essence” a brand new car in Singapore.

This also means that last years (and previous seasons) “car based” data is nigh on meaningless e.g. 08 – grooved tyres and aero “tweaks” here, there and everywhere; in 09, slick tyres and totally different sized wings… Have you noticed how more “tweaks” are appearing on the front wing and sidepods as the year progresses? The engineers etc are clawing back the aero losses.

It’s because, the lack of in-season testing has restricted the bigger teams, from spending hour upon hour on the test track refining their design and solutions. This also means a solution which in the wind-tunnel looks fantastic, doesn’t always transfer to the race track – Brawn’s mid-season stumble.

Further to this, you could say that certain teams have made certain upgrade\changes for certain types of track – Force India were flying in Spa & Monza with their new low down-force config; yet in Singapore they struggled.

And I haven’t even mentioned KERS in all of this… Ferrari and McLaren have run it throughout the season.

All the drivers in F1 are great drivers generally speaking (I ignore those who have “paid” for a drive or have got in through “connections”!) – the car makes the subtle difference.

You state “we typically see…” – well, that says it all… as this is not a typical season!

If Massa or Hamilton had won last years WDC earlier in the season… both Ferrari and McLaren would’ve turned to their 09 cars sooner… thus they may have been in the hunt earlier in the season.

Totally unfair and subjective to say “Button’s the weakest WC in the last 20 years… maybe ever”… it’s totally unfounded. If Brawn were the only car with a DD, then I could understand your rationale, somewhat, but they weren’t.

I’m loving this season… it’s refreshing to have Brawn and Red Bull battling for the WDC and WCC. Next year, those two will be strong, due to “evolution of their 08 cars”… and Ferrari and McLaren (whoever their drivers may be) will be strong too… so 09 bodes well too.

33

Thanks for that, Stevie. Interesting read.

34

Hee, hee, hee. I started typing a quick response… and “War and Peace” (Tolstoy’s BIG book) came out. Sorry!

F1 is convoluted – ok, make that very very convoluted. There are many reasons why we’ve had a season like this, in 2009, and for some it’s been a shock – I was trying to indicate some of these “reasons” and how they entwine.

35

In my opinion he was the best of the rest behind Schumacher in 2004. This year Button has been very consistent, more so than Massa or Hamilton 2008. He has made decisions and passes that have made a difference.

36

Wrong! Raikkonen didn’t really look like a contender until the last three races in 2007. JB destroyed everyone on in the first 7 races. If that had continued we would all be saying how boring F1 has become, again!

37

Just my thought – How come poor Rosberg had his race ruined by a drive through for the mistake he obviously tried to correct at the time yet NP gets away scot-free for deliberately stacking the car?

38

I laughed at Alonso’s remark about Flav. He obviously thinks the punishment didnt fit the crime.

I really, *really dont like all those kerbs in the middle of the street around the course. They’re just stupid. Theres no reason for that. It’s as if they want to race in a parking lot with little white lines outlining the course.

39

Have to agree about all the chicanes, they have taken the bravado out of the sport, now no there are no huge fast corners are balls out! Silverstone in particular was ruined by all the infield twiddly bits.

Best way to regulate the sport for the future and green as well, would be to reduce the total race fuel per car every season by 10%. (compound obviously.)

Take away the engine restrictions just the fuel limit will achieve more technical development in the next few years than all the other regs put together and all about fuel economy, energy conservation (KERS and similar)and ultimately being green.

40

If you limited the fuel then people would complain about it being ‘an economy run’ not a race.

When Champcars had driver-adjustable boost and limited fuel they always had this strategy option and people *always complained. Dunno about current IRL rules

41

Please can someone do something about Leggard. The BBC should be embarrassed at just how poor he is at his job. Dull, repetitive, and if he says “push on” once more then the TV gets it. The “Ant and Crofty” show puts Leggard and Brundle to shame. Brundle actually sounds as if he doesn’t want to be there anymore. And who could blame him? For goodness sake we need some enthusiasm back. Someone who sounds as if they are enjoying the sport. JA you need to knock on some doors for next year. Please.

42

Anthony Davidson is a top pundit, I tend to be in my car during Friday Practice and I am allways impressed with him. I’m not sure David Croft could do the tv gig, but they do complement each other. Having waffled all that, I’d much rather see AD in a F1 Car!

James,

Have any of the new teams approached him yet?

43

I think they have yes

44

Cars looked great, but with the changes to the circuit, I think it should have been 5 laps less in total.

I missed the 2nd Safety Car though, or was it Lee McKenzie’s imagination..?

45

James,

Question for you – do the teams stay out in the far east including yourself as suzuka is only a few days away. As I guess the teams are usually at a circuit tues/weds before the GP anyhow and it seems pointless to fly home to europe and then back pretty much straight away.

I know the drivers prob stay out there – but was interested in what the team personnel do.

Cheers

46

Yes most people stay out, the mechanics get the cars stripped down and then travel Monday to Japan. Some people go on holiday to Thailand, which is jus north of Singapore, all kinds of things really. A popular option is to go to Tokyo for a few nights, that’s what the drivers mainly do

47

Great drive by Lewis, perfect antidote to Monza. James, i’m really off topic here but will the pit crews be wearing shirts and shorts for tyre changes next year? Those boys must get so hot in those overalls!

48

Good question, don’t know, but I guess they don’t need firesuits any more

49

Whatever Briatore is or isn’t deserving of blame for, after two world championships and a good career by any standard of any sport Alonso has a lot to thank Flavio Briatore for.

At $40 million + a year a driver clearly can keep his mouth shut if told, and as a human being, he can speak his mind but I think today he probably was speaking for the feelings of the team and not just himself.

50

Sutil’s fine is not what we want, we need another form of penalty that means something. I suggest a second added to his complete race time in the following race or a 5 place on the grid penalty.

Also I would like to know who calibrates the pit lane speed radar and how they do it, Vettel was obviously very surprised at his speeding infringement, which ruined a possible exciting later part of the race as did Rosberg’s stupid mistake. Two front runners kicked out undoubtedly changed the colour of the race. Although the right bloke won.

Alonso first refusing to admit that he won by his team cheating last year and then dedicating this race to the one who led the cheating is basically sticking two fingers up at the FIA (one finger if you’re USA based)

Agreed that Timo Glock’s was the drive of the day, but Lewis held it together very nicely too as did both Brawns after a shambles of quali.

It was notable that of the Red Bull teams only Vettel survived with usable brakes. Even the McLarens were starting to have high brake temperatures. Yet this has not been a visible issue to date this year. James, is it possible to find out and list which teams are using brakes please.

As was said afterwards by Martin Whitmarsh, the brake sizes allowed in the current regs will be not sufficient to cope with the extra loads next season (No refuelling, cars starting with 2-3 times the current fuel load)

51

AFAIK all the teams use brakes…..;-)

52

Ah I wondered who would be the first to spot that, you stupid boy!

As you all should know, brakes are banned for next year, except for Ferrari and Renault. 😉

Since It’s quite possible to race a goKart without using the brakes, (Don’t argue I’ve done it myself in a big warehouse in Guildford.) then it should just be just a slightly different technique for F1 cars. ;-P

53

Actually he may have just hit on a plan to get a faster lap time. Why didn’t the designers think of that?!

54

“James, is it possible to find out and list which teams are using brakes please.”

i would’ve thought every team is using brakes on their cars!

55

Alonso owes a lot to Flabbio, it didn’t surprise me when he dedicated the podium to him.

People slag Hamilton off for being too political, then do the same to Alonso for speaking his mind, they cant win.

Kudos to Glock, I cant believe how far ahead of Trulli he’s been this weekend.

56

“James, is it possible to find out and list which teams are using brakes please.”

All of them I hope 8)

57

Having visited the Singapore race circuit as a long term F1 and Lewis Hamilton follower, I then proceeded with my brother to Newton Food Market for a celebratory meal. When leaving the establishment we walked past and found yourself, some other TV crew and Mr Eddie Jordan. Whilst leaving, Mr Jordan was highly disrespectful to me and my brother, and it appeared you all had had a little too much to drink. I find this, even though not your personal behaviour a stain on your own reputation, and believe you in future should think about the company you keep.

Ted Kravitz was also present and had previously chatted with us and shared our enthusiasm for the sport. This has happened upon chance meetings on more than one occasion. I feel you and Mr Jordan should take heed of this, and think about how you represent the sport in general. After all F1 needs all the fans it can get! Having travelled 9000 miles this has left me deeply saddened, and if yourself or other respective parties wish to reply to my contact e-mail address I would gladly hear your comments.

Thanks in anticipation of a reply.

Terry.

58

Sorry, I have no idea what you are referring to. I wasn’t there. Are you confusing me with Joe Saward, who posted on his blog that he’d been out with Eddie Jordan and the BBC guys?

59

It wasn’t a great race. Somehow Monaco still seems to be the grand daddy of the street circuits as it usually provides an exciting race even without much overtaking. Having said that, there have been a few good moves at Monaco over the last few years and I’m surprised it still keeps that reputation so strongly.

Alonso’s comments about Briatore surprised me and kind of highlighted why I don’t think Ferrari should have signed him. He is too much of a trouble maker and being involved in the two biggest scandals of the last few years can be no coincidence. I fear we have seen the last of Massa being allowed equal treatment.

Things had better go well for Alonso at Ferrari because his options won’t be great otherwise.

60

It is nice to see Alonso not playing the political correct game.

61

Maybe he´s not a correct guy himself.

62

I don’t think political correctness comes into it. It was incredibly inappropriate to endorse Briatore at the same venue that the scandal started, in the same week that Briatore was given a life ban.

What transpired in Singapore 2008 was incredibly damaging to the sport, and Alonso would have been wise to keep quiet rather than dedicate a podium to a cheat.

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