Alonso wins drama-filled Singapore Grand Prix
Spain's Fernando Alonso snapped a year-long win drought to take the
Singapore Grand Prix Sunday, winning a drama-filled first ever night
race as a comical error cost Felipe Massa dearly.
It was the Renault driver's first victory since the Italian Grand
Prix last year and capped a remarkable weekend that saw him top two of
the free practice sessions but start 15th on the grid after a mechanical
problem in qualifying.
He claimed his 20th career triumph by 2.95 seconds over Germany's
Nico Rosberg in a Williams and Britain's world championship leader Lewis
Hamilton in third.
Toyota driver Timo Glock was fourth with Toro Rosso's Sebastian
Vettel following up his win in Italy this month with fifth. BMW Sauber's
Nick Heidfeld took sixth.
The race was a new experience for every driver on a street circuit
under powerful spotlights and it turned out to be one of the most
exciting of the season.
Despite dark clouds lurking, Singapore's notorious tropical downpours
stayed away and the whole race was run in dry, but hot and humid
Ferrari's Massa started from pole but a disastrous mistake cost him
the race and valuable points in his push for the world title.
His 13th place finish means he is now seven points behind Hamilton in
the championship hunt with just three Grand Prix left at Japan, China
The Brazilian was in the pits on lap 15 when he was given the green
light and drove off with the fuel hose still attached to his car,
leaving one of the pit crew floored and subsequently carted off in a
Massa ended up sitting in his Ferrari at the end of the pit lane as
the crew ran after him and managed to pull the hose free, but it ruined
his chances. He was given a drive through penalty and rejoined in 18th
It was a miserable night for Ferrari with defending world champion
Kimi Raikkonen ramming his car into the barriers with just four laps to
go, ending his race.
The Massa drama occurred after the cars came in when Nelson Piquet
careered into the wall on the exit from turn 17, bouncing into the
barriers on the other side of the track, causing massive damage to his
He climbed out unscathed but the safety car was deployed.
Massa was leading at the time with Hamilton second but at the
restart, Rosberg was in front followed by Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo
Fisichella, with Robert Kubica fourth and Alonso fifth. Hamilton was
ninth, but Rosberg and Kubica were subsequestly slapped with a 10-second
stop penalty for coming into the pits after the Piquet crash before it
The complicated scenario saw Toyota's Trulli in the lead on lap 28
but without having pitted with Alonso second, Rosberg third and Hamilton
charging in sixth.
With Trulli taking his first pit stop soon after Alonso, who started
from 15th on the grid, amazingly found himself in front just after the
halfway mark with a 4.9 second lead over Rosberg.
Alonso came in for his second pit stop on lap 41 and came out still
in the lead, marginally ahead of David Coulthard and Hamilton.
Remarkably, when Coulthard pitted soon after he too drove off with the
fuel pipe attached, knocking over a mechanic who was stretchered off
with an injured ankle, dropping the Scotsman to ninth.
There was more action to come. Alonso was cruising with a 23 second
lead when Adrian Sutil shunted his Force India into the wall, bringing
the safety car out again and wiping out the Spaniard's advantage.
When they restarted with seven laps left it was a sprint to the
finish and two-time world champion Alonso made no mistake, writing his
name in the record books as the first winner of a Formula One night