Streetfighter Vettel takes title brawl to Alonso
SINGAPORE - Reuters
The title race between Fernando Alonso (L) and Sebastian Vettel looks on again after the German’s victory in Singapore. REUTERS photoSebastian Vettel displayed all the guts and determination of a world champion to haul himself back into the Formula One title race with a Singapore victory that sets up a mouth-watering finale to the season.
Vettel kept his focus to win a “killer” race that ran for a full two hours on a balmy night on Sept. 23, enabling the German to cut championship leader Fernando Alonso’s advantage to 29 points with six rounds remaining as he seeks a hat-trick of crowns.
To say the title showdown has come down to a duel between Vettel’s Red Bull and Alonso’s Ferrari could be premature but while both men have bemoaned a lack of pace, they make up for it in consistency.
Alonso has spent all season claiming his car is not competitive, yet he has forged ahead by picking up big points from average positions on the grid, a feat he repeated in Singapore by finishing third after starting fifth.
“On track, we manage to make the most of what we have, making few or no mistakes, thanks to great work from the team,” Alonso told reporters after chasing home Vettel and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
“For that alone we deserve to be where we are in the classification. Today, we pulled out an advantage over three of our four main competitors, which is positive.”
Vettel cut a forlorn figure after an erratic race in Monza two weeks ago ended prematurely with an alternator failure, leaving many observers to doubt whether the German had the desire or the vehicle to mount a serious title challenge.
His demeanor had changed in Singapore after a polished drive backed up his domination in practice as both he and Alonso benefited from another failure for Lewis Hamilton, who has offset three wins with three retirements in the last eight races.
All season long, McLaren’s rivals have claimed the British car was the most competitive yet Hamilton’s challenge took a body blow on Sunday when he surrendered the lead on the 23rd lap with a gearbox failure and is now 52 points behind Alonso.
“A tremendous result for Sebastian and the team to win in Singapore. It’s a timely win for both championships,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said.
The teams now head to Suzuka for the Japanese GP on Oct. 7.