• Sep 25, 2011
What makes Formula 1 stand out above all other forms of motorsport is not the level of competition, and it's not the glitz and glamor. It's the combination of the two. The race action keeps the hardcore fans coming back, while the allure draws in new fans from all walks of life. But the two need to be present in equal measures in order for the formula to work.

Many of those die-hard fans, however, have bemoaned some of the newer tracks on the calendar – circuits that offer great panoramas in exotic locales, but that don't make for particularly close race action. The Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore is one such track. While offering plenty in the way of glitz and glamor – particularly under the spotlights and a starry sky – it doesn't quite measure up on the racing action side of the equation.

That was, unfortunately, the case this weekend for the fourth running of the Singapore Grand Prix since its resurrection in 2008. Follow the jump to see what we mean.
The qualifying order settled over three sessions on Saturday left things in a nice tidy package, with the Red Bulls (Vettel and Webber) at the front, followed by the McLarens (Button and Hamilton), the Ferraris (Alonso and Massa) and the Mercedes-Benzes (Rosberg and Schumacher), with the Force Indias (Sutil and di Resta) leading the midfield in the starting order.



The formation lap went off without a hitch, but once the race began in earnest, Button moved up from third to second and Alonso from fifth to third. Webber dropped from second to fourth trying to fend off his challengers, and Hamilton was relegated from fourth to seventh. Schumacher briefly took that seventh position from Hamilton on the second lap, only for the young Brit to regain position on the elder German two laps later.

Eleven laps in, Webber took back third from Alonso as Timo Glock became the first of a handful of DNF classifications that would, by race's end, claim Alguersuari, Trulli and Schumacher as well.

A hard-fought battle unfolded between Hamilton and Massa on the subsequent laps, the two exiting pit lane in close proximity until the McLaren champ clipped the back of his Ferrari rival going through the chicane. The collision punctured Massa's tire and decimated Hamilton's front wing, sending both back into the pits almost as soon as they'd been released. The stewards later found Hamilton at fault and handed him a pit-lane drive-through penalty that would ratchet his stop count up to five, where the leaders ran on three. He was forced to battle his way back up the grid over the course of the race distance.




Sauber's Perez got himself in the middle of the Mercedes duo around thirty laps in, taking seventh place from Rosberg, who subsequently took it back, but Schumacher fared worse and ended up in the tire wall after a failed passing maneuver.

Past the halfway mark, Hamilton was surging back up the field, passing Sutil, Rosberg and di Resta to land back in fifth place – only one down from where he started. The same would unfold again in the closing laps after his final pit stop.

That would be as far as Lewis would make it, though, as Vettel sailed unchallenged under the bright lights to take the checkered flag from pole. Button followed him in for second, with Webber in third. Alonso had to settle for fourth, Hamilton behind him in fifth. Paul di Resta made a strong finish in sixth place for Force India, showing up not only the Renaults but also both Mercedes and a Ferrari. The remaining points went to Rosberg, Sutil, Massa and Perez.



With these results tallied, Vettel is even further in the lead with 309, his nearest challengers Button, Alonso and Webber way behind with 185, 184 and 182 points, respectively, and Hamilton – suffering the consequences of his own aggressive driving style – relegated to fifth with 168. That leaves Red Bull just as far in the lead for the constructors' title with 491 points to McLaren's 353 and Ferrari's 268. And so we sail up the Pacific coast to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix, where we hope for a higher level of competition on October 9.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      Arli
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's honestly starting to annoy me how Lewis Hamilton can be so reckless in almost every other race and manage to ruin someone else's race.
        The Law
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Arli
        Schumy made the same mistake but, cash out the race instead it's a night race things are going to happen accept it.
      The Law
      • 3 Years Ago
      just give Vettel the dang drivers champ already and be over it. No one can match him or that Red Bull this year. I hope Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes cars can close the gap in 2012.
      Myself
      • 3 Years Ago
      What no action! Hamilton was amusing us again throughout the weekend. This time he chose Massa :-) And by amusing, I don't mean entertaining....
      Agilis
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've been an on/off Formula One fan for years and I was always team Ferrari but because of time, I don't always keep up with the latest in the world of Formula One. But if someone can clarify this I'd appreciate it. Ferrari used to dominate the Formula One standings so rules were changed after many years to even out the playing field, right? And now Ferrari is no longer #1, Red Bull seems to be, but Red Bull seems to be dominating races bi weekly. Like Ferrari and Schumacher used to do before other teams complained. Can someone explain to me why there always seems to be huge gaps between the teams in Formula One and why there can't be close battles between first and second and third. The only close battles seems to be further down in the field. And why hasn't any of the teams complained about Red Bull's dominating performance? Now, I understand Vettel is young and is a great driver, but his team and the car I would say is a pretty big reason why he's leading by so many points. How come other teams don't copy off other teams and make the racing even more exciting? The allure to me was always the battle between first and second. With Vettel being almost a full lap ahead of the field, that's not very exciting at all.
        AJB
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Agilis
        Others teams don't just copy off the winning teams for one very obvious reason, money. It takes hundreds of millions of dollars to compete at the highest levels that Ferrari, Red Bull, and McLaren set, and considering that Toyota and Honda pulled out of the sport citing financial reasons, that gives you an idea of just how much money you sink just to get on that podium. As for the huge gaps, one, Vettel is just that good, we are witnessing a young man blossoming with incredible talent, and two, the Red Bull car is just so well designed for high speed corners that it leaves most of the competition far behind. Yes, McLaren is faster on the straights as is the Mercedes team, however, as you know being a former fan, this is a sport where those who can turn in and out of turns the fastest wins, and that suits the Red Bull cars perfectly.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      nedly
      • 3 Years Ago
      People always make negative comments regarding Hamilton because he's always doing something stupid. The guy drives like a jerk and there are never any consequences, probably because race control think the same way you do junkyard willie.
        ufgrat
        • 3 Years Ago
        @nedly
        Wow... You must be watching a different sport with a different Hamilton. He does drive aggressively yes although compared with, say, Senna, or even Schmumacher v 1.0, Hamilton is the soul of politeness on the racetrack. As for no consequences, aside from the completely ridiculous verdict at Spa in 2008, it's been demonstrated that Hamilton will get a more severe penalty than any other driver on the grid, for identical behavior.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's the most boring race yet this car. I'm 41 laps into it (of 61) and I can't see how I'll possibly watch the rest. I think the race is boring and the camera work/race management too. Due to the camera placements and night setting you never see a single fan. There's virtually no one visible by the side of the track either. It makes the whole thing so sterile.
        Doug
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Unlike the classic tracks, there were no long-shots or overhead shots (like spa or monza) which made for jumpy cuts for a live broadcast... I watched enough of coverage of IRL this year to say I'm not a fan of street courses, and F1 cars don't alter that conclusion
        Myself
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Like ... WHAT? At the time of your post, the race was 6 hour over.
      Govis
      • 3 Years Ago
      F1 has become a self fulfilling prophecy. The 3rd worlders lavish money on it and are excited by it because the sophisticated Euros seem so into it. The sophisticated Euros are into it because it's been going on for 60+ years now. No one points out that, as far as actual interesting racing, F1 jumped the shark about 15 years ago.
        rfnv
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Govis
        i'm from singapore and we're anything but third world.
          Govis
          • 3 Years Ago
          @rfnv
          Right next to Malaysia and Indonesia? Repressive controls on the press? A one party state for the 50 years of its existence. Luxury shopping mall mania? Despite your riches, you guys fit 3rd worldism to a T.
        rfnv
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Govis
        i agree with you on the crap that the ruling party pulls but our infrastructure is anything but third world, really.
        chino
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Govis
        Govis has a 3rd world mentality too...
      Justin B.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I could hardly stay awake while this snooze fest unfolded! "Mr. Awveeusly" will of course take the title so give it to him now. Better yet, make a few more trophies for 2012 and 2013 so we can get it over with now. Boring. Boring. Boring. No matter how great Red Bull is I just cannot get interested in this team. And why is Vettel being praised by every single F1 TV presenter? There is no doubt the he is one of the best drivers out there but without the RB7(and RB6 last year) this kid would be going nowhere. Just look at Mark Webber! He sucks and he still finishes second or third 9/10 times.
        Nowuries
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Justin B.
        I disagree Justin--I think Vettel would be on top as long as he was in one of the top cars (obviously not in a Virgin), and that Webber is a fabulous driver as well (other than at race starts)--he really knows how to pass well and go through the ranks. I hope he has his championship in years to come!
          ufgrat
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Nowuries
          Last year, Vettel made far too many mistakes... Button summed it up best when he asked "how does someone t-bone you while trying to pass?!?" This year, he hasn't made as many mistakes, because he's been too far out in front... In Canada, however, when Button started putting serious pressure on him... he spun out. Personally, I think this season has been bad for Vettel, because he hasn't had to worry about traffic for most of the season. I believe there have been 5 front-row lockouts for Red Bull this season... and I don't think anyone's going to say that Mark Webber is a faster driver than Hamilton or Alonso. So the speed of the RB7 is definitely a factor in Vettel's dominance this season. At least the race for second place has been interesting.
      Cornel001
      • 3 Years Ago
      I cant remember the last time I watched a F1 grand prix. From some point in time, it became so booooring.
      WatchF1
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't bring myself to be a Vettel fan, but really appreciate how much he's grown in the 2 years I've paid attention to him. I remember him apologizing to the team when he lost a wheel and tried to limp back to the pits at Australia '09, and how he speared Button at Spa '10. He's made ONE mistake, as far as I can tell, this year; the slip at Canada '11 that allowed Button to get his win. Button has fast become my favorite driver. He drives with poise, and doesn't give up. His drive at Canada and Webber's drive at China were the most impressive races I've seen yet. A melancholy season due to Vettel's domination (and Newey's brilliant chassis).
      Flat4
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wonder why the whole 'exhaust engin mapping' rule was dropped? I guess Red Bull would not have had the advantage anymore. It seems like FIA has a favorite team and that is who wins the season. Braun, Red Bull, and now, Red Bull again. And the itre strategy is crap! Let them use all the tires they want. I root for a team, but now its anyone but Red Bull.
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