Alonso proves the prince of darkness to keep heat on Webber in title race

Fernando Alonso didn't need a team-mate to crash for him this time as he beat Sebastian Vettel by a hair in a slow-burn Singapore Grand Prix. The race did not explode into life until just past half distance when a collision between the world championship leaders, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton, saw the Englishman pitched out of the race with a broken suspension and the Australian increase his advantage in the title fight.

"We knew that with two hours in this heat and humidity, and with no time to breathe, this would be the toughest race of the season," said Alonso. "This win means a lot, coming as it does from the win at Monza. We wanted to confirm that, on a normal track and with more downforce, the car would still perform well. It did, so it seems we can be competitive on any track and will keep fighting for the championship."

After the first lap Alonso was a second ahead, but it didn't take long for the first safety car to be deployed. This came on the third lap as Tonio Liuzzi's suspension-damaged Force India was cleared away from its resting place just past the chicane.

Like Felipe Massa at the end of the first lap , Webber took advantage of the hiatus to switch from the soft-compound Bridgestone tyres to the more durable hard rubber, hoping to avoid stopping again. By the time racing resumed on the sixth lap, Webber was already back up to 10th.

At the front Alonso quickly regained his rhythm, holding Vettel at bay by 1.3sec as Hamilton maintained third and Jenson Button began to drift back in fourth place.

Webber's recovery took him past Michael Schumacher when the former champion made a mistake under pressure on the 11th lap. Webber's team-mate, meanwhile, was steadily losing touch with Alonso, who had a 2.3sec lead after 12 laps as Hamilton followed a similar distance behind the Red Bull. Over the radio, Red Bull told Webber he was now racing Hamilton for third place rather than for the lead.

McLaren's hopes of victory had also evaporated by now as their rear tyres wore and both Hamilton and Button settled into lonely races, neither challenging nor being challenged. Behind them a similar stalemate had set in as Renault's Robert Kubica chased Mercedes' Nico Rosberg for fifth place.

However, what had become a very dull race suddenly came alive when Hamilton became the first of the front runners to make a tyre stop. It came, on the 28th lap and went very smoothly, but even so it allowed Webber to comfortably move ahead of the McLaren. Once again, some brilliant strategy by Red Bull had won track position, just as it did for Vettel at Monza a fortnight earlier.

Alonso and Vettel both swept into the pits a lap later, the gap between them having shrunk from three seconds to 1.8sec as they lapped Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus on the 28th lap. Vettel's car was slow away, rather as Webber's had been at the start of both the Belgian and Italian races, but he shredded Alonso on their out lap so only 1.2sec separated them again when racing resumed by lap 30.

By half distance, the fight for the lead was back on as Vettel was hounding Alonso mercilessly, less than a second behind. But at the very moment that he seemed set to pounce, Kamui Kobayashi lost control of his Sauber and hit the wall in Turn 18, a lap after he had punted Schumacher into a wall.

Bruno Senna was unable to avoid the Sauber as he rounded the corner, and as the track was partially blocked the safety car was deployed for the second time. That prompted both Kubica and Rubens Barrichello to make their pit stops, so now the order was Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Button, and Vettel was looking very aggressive on the harder-compound tyres.

It was like a replay of Button versus Alonso at Monza, but now it was Alonso who was the hunted. Webber was right there to take advantage, too. And he did, but not in the manner that had been expected.

He had two lapped Virgins between him and Vettel at the restart and as he and Hamilton threaded their way by them Lewis got alongside and moved into third place – until they got to Turn Eight. As Hamilton left some room and turned in, Webber, riding the kerb, tapped the rear end of the McLaren, sending it over the kerbs and into retirement.

Hamilton's mood was evident as he hurled his steering wheel away and clambered angrily out. But, as the stewards rightly saw, it was a racing incident between two hard chargers.

In the ensuing mayhem, which also saw Schumacher turf Nick Heidfeld into retirement, Alonso opened up a another lead over Vettel, but not for long.

Soon Vettel was on the attack again as the race completed its 61 laps before the two-hour mark. The Spaniard kept the German at bay as they completed their penultimate lap but by only two-tenths of a second. And, as Alonso won his fourth race of the year to move into second place in the title hunt the gap between them stayed the same.

Singapore results and standings

FIA Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, Singapore (61 Laps):

1 F Alonso (Sp) Ferrari 1hr 57min 53.579sec;

2 S Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1:57:53.872;

3 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:58:22.720;

4 J Button (GB) McLaren 1:58:23.965;

5 N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:58:42.973;

6 R Barrichello (Br) Williams 1:58:49.680;

7 R Kubica (Pol) Renault 1:59:20.138;

8 A Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:59:45.995;

9 N Hulkenberg (Ger) Williams 1:59:46.370;

10 F Massa (Br) Ferrari 1:59:46.876;

11 V Petrov (Rus) Renault at 1 Lap; 12 J Alguersuari (Sp) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 Lap; 13 M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP at 1 Lap; 14 S Buemi (Swit) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 Lap; 15 L di Grassi (Br) Virgin Racing at 2 Laps; 16 H Kovalainen (Fin) Lotus F1 at 3 Laps. Not Classified: 17 T Glock (Ger) Virgin Racing 49 Laps completed; 18 N Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 36 Laps completed; 19 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 35 Laps completed; 20 C Klien (Aut) HRT-F1 31 Laps completed; 21 K Kobayashi (Japan) BMW Sauber 30 Laps completed; 22 B Senna (Br) HRT-F1 29 Laps completed; 23 J Trulli (It) Lotus F1 37 Laps completed; 24 V Liuzzi (It) Force India 1 Lap completed. World Championship Standings: 1 M Webber 202pts; 2 F Alonso 191; 3 L Hamilton 182; 4 S Vettel 181; 5 J Button 177; 6 F Massa 125; 7 N Rosberg 122; 8 R Kubica 114; 9 A Sutil 49; 10 M Schumacher 46; 11 R Barrichello 39; 12 K Kobayashi 21; 13 V Petrov 19; 14 N Hulkenberg 18; 15 V Liuzzi 13; 16 S Buemi 7; 17 P de la Rosa 6; 18 J Alguersuari 3; 19 H Kovalainen 0; 20 L di Grassi 0; 21 K Chandhok 0; 22 J Trulli 0; 23 B Senna 0; 24 S Yamamoto 0; 25 T Glock 0; 26 N Heidfeld 0; 27 C Klien 0. Manufacturers Standings: 1 Red Bull 383pts; 2 McLaren 359; 3 Ferrari 316; 4 Mercedes GP 168; 5 Renault 133; 6 Force India 62; 7 Williams 57; 8 BMW Sauber 27; 9 Scuderia Toro Rosso 10; 10 Lotus F1 0; 11 Virgin Racing 0; 12 HRT-F1 0.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil