| Sebastian Vettel, on Sunday |
Singapore: Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel cruised to a third straight Singapore Grand Prix victory on Sunday and moved 60 points clear of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso after a dominant drive under the floodlights at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The German led from pole to flag and lapped on average almost two seconds quicker than his rivals to finish 32.6 seconds clear of Alonso and take another big step towards a fourth successive title with six races remaining.
Kimi Raikkonen shrugged off back pain to climb from 13th on the grid to third for Lotus in a challenging race that was held up by one decisive safety car period when Daniel Ricciardo crashed his Toro Rosso into the barriers on lap 26.
“Yes, yes, that’s what I call in control,” Vettel shouted over the team radio after chalking up his seventh win of the season and 33rd of his career in the heat of the Singapore night.
“The car felt absolutely fantastic. This is absolutely a team effort.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Vettel, who was again booed on the podium from some in the crowd below, had been in a league of his own after “one of his best ever drives”.
It was also one of his most dominant, even if the possibility of a safety car intervention was an ever-present concern.
“This is a long race so there are a lot of things that can go wrong so you can't afford to lean back,” Vettel said in a podium interview.
“At the end, I was just controlling the gap. It was hard work out there but we like it because it is one of the most challenging tracks.”
Vettel was challenged briefly by fellow-German Nico Rosberg, who was second on the grid, on the run to the first turn but once he held off the Mercedes, he controlled the race.
Alonso again used a charging start and brilliant strategy to climb from seventh on the grid and keep his title hopes alive.
He gambled on pitting for a change of tyres during the safety car period and nursing his Ferrari all the way to the flag on medium tyres.
Paul di Resta suffered his third retirement in a row and Adrian Sutil sneaked into the top-10 in the last lap as Force India added one point to their tally