Guest Author - Christine Blachford
From the moment Free Practice began, Singapore was an incident filled weekend. Webber had the first big crash into the wall, with his car being craned back to the pit lane.
By the time we got to qualifying, there had been several more incidents, with Fisichella’s Force India still being rebuilt as the drivers hit the track for the first shoot-out. Things progressed normally until the second session of qualifying, when Lewis Hamilton struggled to set a lap time. He was caught in traffic, and then had a couple of bad laps, and he only just managed to squeeze through in tenth place. When the third session was over, he had regained form to line up on the grid second, with Massa first and Raikkonen third.
There was rain predicted for all three days in the week leading up to the race, but thankfully all three days were clear. We had enough going on without another variable to add to the mix. The race began cleanly, with Massa pulling away a lead at the front. Alonso, who’s Renault had broken down in qualifying, started from 15th with a light fuel load, and immediately overtook his way to 12th. Team mate Piquet, however, smashed into the wall, and brought out a safety car.
Once the safety car hit the track, chaos ensued. It was about the time of the first round of pit stops, so Rosberg and Kubica had to pit illegally, otherwise they would have run out of fuel. They both received penalties for doing so. Massa, meanwhile, was having a really bad day. His stop was going okay, the light went green and he pulled away from the garage, only to find the fuel hose was still attached. He ripped the hose off and carried on down the pit lane, stopping just before he crossed the white line. The Ferrari mechanics sprinted their way to him, and spent much too long trying to free the jammed rig, before finally sending him on his way. He was knocked straight down to the back of the pack.
At the front, though, the combination of one-stoppers and those taking their penalties, meant that car after car peeled away from the lead and left Alonso out in front. He pulled out a good lead, which was then cut down by another safety car towards the end of the race. This one was to clear Sutil’s car, who had crashed into the wall. Alonso kept in front, though, and held his position to the end of the race. He takes his first win of the year, his best result since rejoining Renault. Rosberg finished 2nd for Williams, and Hamilton stretched his championship lead by finishing third.
Raikkonen was running in fifth, but crashed into the wall just a few laps from the end of the race, allowing McLaren to take the constructor’s championship lead as well.