Fernando Alonso wins Singapore Grand Prix to close in on championship lead

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Alonso wins F1 Singapore GP, edges Vettel

SINGAPORE — Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso held off Sebastian Vettel in a thrilling finish to the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday and moved within 11 points of the Formula One championship lead.

The Spaniard led from the start but was pressured throughout by Red Bull’s Vettel, who closely trailed in the final two laps.

Alonso won his second Singapore GP, crossing a finish line clouded in smoke. Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen had just stopped nearby with the rear half of his Lotus on fire.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber finished third — escaping a mid-race collision that eliminated McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. With four races remaining, Webber leads with 202 points, followed by Alonso at 191.

Hamilton nosed in front of Webber approaching a corner on lap 35 of 61, but the Australian did not yield the inside line and collided with the McLaren. While Hamilton’s race was finished, Webber’s Red Bull was undamaged.

The collision was investigated by stewards, but they chose to take no action, deeming it fair racing.

Hamilton entered the race just five points off the championship lead, but his second straight non-finish put him 20 points behind the leader.

McLaren’s Jenson Button finished fourth, ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Williams’ Rubens Barrichello.

Robert Kubica of Renault was seventh after pitting late and passing several cars on fresh tires. Force India’s Adrian Sutil was eighth, Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg ninth and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa — who started from last on the grid — got the final point for 10th.

Alonso won the inaugural 2008 Singapore GP, but that victory was tainted by the “crashgate” scandal that emerged the following year. Alonso’s then-Renault teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered to deliberately crash to bring out the safety car to manipulate the running order and help Alonso win.

His 25th career victory puts him even on the all-time list with Niki Lauda and Jim Clark.

The next race will be in Japan on Oct. 10.

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