Vettel wins Singapore Grand Prix as Hamilton retires

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel wins an incident-packed Singapore Formula One Grand Prix after world champion Lewis Hamilton retires early and an intruder strolls on to the track.

SINGAPORE (SEPTEMBER 20, 2015) (FOM) – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won an incident-packed Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday (September 20) after world champion Lewis Hamilton retired early for the first time this season and an intruder set heart rates fluttering when he strolled on to the track.

Hamilton was running fourth approaching the halfway point of the 61-lap race when he lost engine power, rapidly dropping back through the field before he was told to return to the garage and call it a night.

Starting from pole position, Vettel had no problems, leading all the way to take the chequered flag for the fourth time at the floodlit Marina Bay Street Circuit, despite twice losing the big advantage he had built up when the safety car was deployed.

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo finished second for Red Bull, his best result of a frustrating year, while Vettel’s team mate Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line third.

Nico Rosberg finished fourth for Mercedes to cut Hamilton’s championship lead to 41 points with six races remaining.

Vettel trails Hamilton by 49 and Raikkonen is 145 adrift with a maximum of 150 available. No other driver has a chance of winning the championship.

Vettel’s win was the German’s third this season and the 42nd of his career, enabling the quadruple world champion to overtake the late Ayrton Senna into outright third place for the most lifetime wins, trailing only Michael Schumacher (91) and Alain Prost (51).

“The car was fantastic yesterday with one lap. Amazing, the feeling I got you know so much adrenaline in qualifying and then the same today, I was able to look after my tyres, control the pace so yeah, all in all obviously a perfect weekend so very, very happy,” said Vettel after his victory.

A proven master on the slow and twisty Singapore track, Vettel gave his rivals no chance when he planted his foot on the accelerator and made a flying getaway from the front of the grid.

The 28-year-old opened up a three-second lead over Ricciardo on the opening lap and was never seriously challenged even when the safety car was introduced.

Its first appearance came on the 13th lap when Felipe Massa exited the pits and was hit from the side by Nico Hulkenberg who speared into a wall, wrecking his Force India car and ending his race.

The second came when a spectator walked on the circuit before climbing back though a hole in the fence.

Ricciardo said after the race that he was pretty happy with the weekend.

“It’s really good to back it up you know we came in here pretty confident. I’m always careful not to be over confident but yeah, I think the pace we showed all weekend was strong, the race pace was good, I think we matched Seb (Vettel) so we’ve got to be pretty happy with this weekend and it’s nice again to capitalise. You know Budapest we had a chance and we’ve done it again here,” Ricciardo said.

Raikkonen said that despite having difficulty with his tyres, was satisfied with finishing third.

“Today was a struggle again but obviously we had enough speed to be in third place but I had no chance to do anything about the first two. I mean I could follow them at the beginning but once my tyres dropped off that just went, it wasn’t that nice too have that kind of difficulties but you know we still finished third so when you have a bad few days and you finish third, it’s pretty good.”

Hamilton, who needs one more win to draw level with his childhood hero Senna, endured his worst weekend of the season.

The Englishman struggled with his tyres in qualifying, starting fifth on the grid, and his race came to an end just when it looked like he might be able to challenge for a spot on the podium.

Result from the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday

1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 2:01:22.118

2. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull – Renault +00:01.478

3. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 00:17.154

4. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 00:24.720

5. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 00:34.204

6. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) RedBull – Renault 00:35.508

7. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India – Mercedes 00:50.836

8. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso – Renault 00:51.450

9. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso – Renault 00:52.860

10. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber – Ferrari 01:30.045