Sebastian Vettel shines in Singapore Grand Prix for second successive season as Lewis Hamilton retires

Rollercoaster run continues for Hamilton with his last five races reading - retired, first, retired, first, retired

Sebastian Vettel shone in Formula One's night race for the second successive season, but for Lewis Hamilton the lights may have gone out on his championship chances.

Vettel capitalised on Hamilton's retirement with a gearbox problem on lap 23 when comfortably leading the Singapore Grand Prix to take the chequered flag.

This latest win for the reigning world champion ends Vettel's longest winless run of nine races since joining Red Bull in 2009.

As team principal Christian Horner pointed out to Vettel after crossing the line: "Well done, you're back in the championship again."

The 24-year-old now trails Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 29 points, the Spaniard claiming the 81st podium of his career - only Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost have more - by finishing third behind McLaren's Jenson Button.

For Hamilton, his recent rollercoaster run now leaves him 52 points behind Alonso, and with his last five races reading - retired, first, retired, first, retired.

Just when Hamilton garners belief he has a chance of the title, he finds his hopes cruelly snatched away.

In Germany, Hamilton retired 11 laps from home with puncture damage, albeit after an unhappy start when he was forced into an early pit stop after running over debris from a lap-one incident.

A superb victory in Hungary followed before the summer break, after which his Belgian Grand Prix ended at the first corner as he was one of four cars involved in a major pile-up.

The 27-year-old bounced back a fortnight ago with his win in Italy, and back-to-back triumphs appeared on the cards when he grabbed his 24th career pole yesterday.

The threat at the start for Hamilton was from Williams' Pastor Maldonado alongside him on the front row of the grid given the Venezuelan's penchant for poor judgment and errors this season which has resulted in many penalties.

But when the five red lights disappeared Hamilton's getaway was as sweet as he could have dreamed of, instead leaving Maldonado to deal with Vettel and Button.

From the perspective of both men they quickly managed to blast their way past Maldonado through the opening corners, dropping the 27-year-old to fourth ahead of Alonso who was unable to follow suit.

Leading comfortably from Vettel, however, Hamilton's gearbox gave way on lap 23, the Briton grinding to a halt down an escape road.

There was a clear shake of the head from Hamilton and a moment when he put his head in his hands.

That promoted Vettel into the lead ahead of Button and Maldonado, but the latter was also forced into retirement during the first of the two safety car sessions that followed in quick succession.

Narain Karthikeyan sparked the opener, maintaining Singapore's 100% record for safety cars over its five-year run, sliding his HRT into a wall on entry into Anderson Bridge from which there was no recovery.

The safety car pitted after running for five laps, but not for a moment of drama as Button nearly ran into the back of Vettel at one point shortly before the restart.

However, it was not long before safety car driver Bernd Maylander was back on track as for the second successive year at this track, Schumacher ran into the back of a rival.

On this occasion the seven-time champion was late on to the brakes of his Mercedes, hurtling into the rear of Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso.

After clambering from their cars Schumacher and Vergne embraced one another rather than engaging in any finger pointing.

Although both cars had slid down an escape road, there was enough debris on track to force the safety car quickly back into play.

But once it disappeared, for the leaders the rest of the race was fairly routine, with Vettel finishing 8.9secs clear of Button, with Alonso grinding out another podium.

Behind the trio, Force India's Paul Di Resta grabbed a career-high fourth, followed by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus, the Finn now 45 points adrift in the title race.

Team-mate Romain Grosjean was seventh, followed by Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo in his Toro Rosso and Red Bull's Mark Webber, surely out of the title running now as he is 61 points down.

Following his 23rd career win, an ecstatic Vettel said: "This is one of the toughest races all year, two hours, the circuit is a killer and the race seems to go on forever.

"Obviously we benefited from Lewis' retirement, the pace was there, so I'm incredibly happy and proud.

"I'd like to dedicate it to a very special man, Sid Watkins (former race doctor and FIA medical delegate who recently passed away), a big thank you to him."

Button said: "That was a pretty tough two hours for us. It's a good second place. We all want to win, but you can't win them all.

"For us as a team another failure is not great for us."

Alonso, who continues to hang on to the lead as his rivals trip over themselves, said: "This is one of the best tracks to drive, it was a fun race again."

PA

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit