Sunday, 27 September 2009

Champ Hamilton wins Singapore GP

Lewis Hamilton stormed to a floodlit victory in the Singapore Grand Prix as Jenson Button fought through the field to extend his Formula One championship lead to 15 points with three races left.

McLaren's world champion drove brilliantly around the 5.067km Marina Bay street circuit to lead from start to finish in the gruelling 61-lap race, finishing 9.6 seconds ahead of Toyota's Timo Glock.

Last year's winner Fernando Alonso was third for the embattled Renault team, reeling under a suspended permanent ban imposed for fixing the inaugural night race in 2008.

Quick kisser

While Hamilton emerged from the cockpit to kiss pop singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger and embrace his mechanics, fellow-Briton Button had as much to celebrate after climbing from 11th on the grid to fifth at the finish.

Closest rival and Brawn team mate Rubens Barrichello was sixth after starting ahead of him in ninth place.

Brawn edged closer to claiming the constructors' title in their debut season as rivals Red Bull let slip a great opportunity to narrow the gap between the teams.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel had started alongside Hamilton on the front row but a drive-through penalty for speeding through the pitlane on his second stop ended any hope the German had of winning the race.

He had to settle for fourth place.

Vettel's Australian team mate Mark Webber crashed at the end of the finishing straight after 45 laps, allowing Brawn to extend their lead in the constructors' title to 42.5 points with a maximum of 54 still to be won.

Brain hunt

Germany's Nick Heidfeld accused Force India's Adrian Sutil of brainless behaviour after a collision ended the BMW-Sauber driver's record run of Formula One finishes.

Singapore GP result
1 L Hamilton (GBR) McLaren
2 T Glock (GER) Toyota
3 F Alonso (ESP) Renault
4 S Vettel (GER) RedBull
5 J Button (GBR) Brawn
6 R Barrichello (BRA) Brawn
7 H Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren
8 R Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber
9 K Nakajima (JPN) Williams
10 K Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari
11 N Rosberg (GER) Williams
12 J Trulli (ITA) Toyota
13 G Fisichella (ITA) Ferrari
14 V Liuzzi (ITA) Force India

The incident on lap 21 meant the experienced BMW-Sauber driver had failed to be classified in a race for the first time in 42 starts dating back to the 2007 US Grand Prix.

"I think it was extremely stupid of Sutil," Heidfeld said after leaving the track.

"I was ahead of him... my front... he should look where he goes," he fumed.

Asked what his team would do next, the driver responded: "Maybe we try to find a brain for him."

Sutil was initially unrepentant after he had spun on turn 14 and driven into his compatriot.

"I never do careless driving. When I see a possibility, I try it," he told the BBC.

The collision ended a miserable Grand Prix for Heidfeld.

He started the race last and from the pitlane after his team discovered they had made a mistake with the weight of his car in qualifying.

Heidfeld had initially qualified seventh on Saturday night.

Alonso going

Meanwhile Renault Formula One managing director Jean-Francois Caubet strongly suggested on Sunday that double world champion Alonso would leave the team at the end of the season.

"Renault will remain his family," Caubet told French television channel TF1.

"We will miss him but he will miss us."

The Spaniard, who finished third in Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, has been linked to reigning champions Ferrari for months with his move considered an open secret in the Formula One paddock.

Alonso won world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 and rejoined the team in 2008 after a one-year spell at McLaren.

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