Hamilton takes second win of 2009 season at Singapore Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton cruised to a comfortable Grand Prix victory in Singapore tonight, claiming the ten points on offer after a faultless drive from pole position. Starting at the front of the grid, with KERS and a considerable fuel load on-board meant Hamilton was always going to be the firm favourite for victory, but the Briton had to work hard for his reward at the toughest race on the F1 calendar.
At the start, Hamilton got away cleanly and led by the first corner while behind, Nico Rosberg benefitted from starting on the clean side of the track to jump Sebastian Vettel. Further behind Webber was able to hold off the stern challenge of Fernando Alonso on the opening lap, but only by running off the circuit. Ninth-place Barrichello made a super getaway to gain two places by the end of the first lap, while team-mate Button crucially got past Nakajima to climb to 10th.
Over the course of his first stint, Hamilton was able to slowly eek out a gap of three seconds from second-place Rosberg before the German pitted on lap 18, one lap after fellow countryman Vettel. However that pitstop saw Rosberg’s chances of a maiden victory immediately vanish when he ran wide exiting the pitlane, crossing the white line to earn himself a disastrous drive-through penalty.
To make matters worse for Rosberg, by the time came to serve his drive-through, the safety car had emerged to neutralise the race following an accident further down the field, meaning the penalty dropped Nico out of the points and to the back of the field instead of challenging for a podium finish had the safety car not been scrambled. With Rosberg now out of the way, all Hamilton had to do was to keep Vettel at bay to secure his second win of the year, and with the Red Bull driver pitting later than Hamilton, the destination of the winner’s trophy was done and dusted.
Vettel eventually stopped on lap 39, but by the time Hamilton trundled down pitlane on lap 46 Vettel was already well out of contention having copped a drive-through penalty of his own for speeding in the pitlane. The penalty dropped him from a likely second to fourth at the flag, as Hamilton raced unchallenged to win by 10 seconds.
With two of the top three drivers getting hit with penalties, the opportunity fell to Toyota’s Timo Glock to secure his second podium finish of the season in second, racing flawlessly from sixth on the grid. His first-lap pass on Fernando Alonso proved crucial to him securing second, while Alonso raced unchallenged to third for Renault’s first podium finish of the year.
In the championship fight, the battle of the Brawns continued to fascinate, with Rubens Barrichello initially holding the upper hand on Button, before getting leapfrogged by the championship leader in the final round of stops. Rubens was looking on for a solid fifth place finish, but was unable to match the pace of Button who put in a handful of blistering laptimes to turn a 5.5-second deficit into a 6-second lead during the final pitstop window.
Behind Hamilton, Glock, Alonso, Vettel, Button and Barrichello, Heikki Kovalainen picked up two points for McLaren in seventh, while Robert Kubica scored the final point for BMW Sauber in eighth.
Here are the full results;
|2||10||Timo Glock||Toyota||61||+9.6 secs||6||8|
|3||7||Fernando Alonso||Renault||61||+16.6 secs||5||6|
|4||15||Sebastian Vettel||RBR-Renault||61||+20.2 secs||2||5|
|5||22||Jenson Button||Brawn-Mercedes||61||+30.0 secs||11||4|
|6||23||Rubens Barrichello||Brawn-Mercedes||61||+31.8 secs||9||3|
|7||2||Heikki Kovalainen||McLaren-Mercedes||61||+36.1 secs||8||2|
|8||5||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||61||+55.0 secs||7||1|
|9||17||Kazuki Nakajima||Williams-Toyota||61||+56.0 secs||10|
|10||4||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||61||+58.8 secs||12|
|11||16||Nico Rosberg||Williams-Toyota||61||+59.7 secs||3|
|12||9||Jarno Trulli||Toyota||61||+73.0 secs||14|
|13||3||Giancarlo Fisichella||Ferrari||61||+79.8 secs||17|
|14||21||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||61||+93.5 secs||19|
|Ret||20||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||23||Accident damage||15|
|Ret||6||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||19||Accident||20|