Singapore GP – The Race

A small clue as to my thoughts on the race!

In a season full of stupendously exciting races, it was inevitable that there would be one absolute crashing bore snoozefest of a race. And so it came to pass at Singapore. If truth be told, the Monaco Grand Prix was also pretty dull this year but Monaco is steeped in F1 history with lashings of glamour and yachts and so is an Untouchable Track. Also once every 5 years, Monaco throws up an absolute corker of a race (normally in torrential rain) which is the Stand Out Race of the Season. So it is a keeper.

I think Singapore is definitely a race to experience in person. This is a nicely positioned hotel. Hint hint.

Singapore in contrast just makes you lose the will to live. And we have Bernie to thank for 5 more years of this dross. I was utterly baffled by the almost universal joy among F1 types on Twitter at this news. Either I’m hopelessly out of step or it goes to show that you really do ‘have to be there’ to appreciate Singapore. Another fatal flaw with the Singapore GP is that it is a night race. Yes, I know this is its USP and again it must be incredible to go and watch a race at night-time blah blah but all that translates to onto my TV is lots of cars driving on tarmac in between concrete walls in pitch darkness. Not even a freaking tree or hill in the distance to make life more interesting.
Still cover me, I’m going in. 

The lovely Katy Perry. Lets hope she had a good book with her.

Jake’s opening gambit was to excitedly announce “by the time its completely dark, the cars will be on track”. Yes, Jake, I know and it sucks. The only build-up on the BBC highlights show was a recap of qualifying (I was unable to watch the race live due to Important Football and obviously I wasn’t daft enough to sit through a full re-run). I remember seeing lots of mentions of Katy Perry on my twitter feed at the time of the race so lets hope Martin Brundle managed to sneak in a question to Petrolhead Katy as to what she thought of Ferrari’s revised new rear-wing endplate. Actually while I was quickly doing some ‘research’ earlier, I stumbled across this website detailing all the latest technical developments in the cars. My eyes glaze over at anything remotely technical but it is right up the husband’s street.

Time For the Start and Go Go Go…! And it was a good clean start even for the enfants terribles of F1, Maldonaldo and Grosjean. Vettel had a storming start to leap into 2nd place. Button was in 3rd and an uber-cautious Maldonaldo was going backwards (but without crashing into anyone!). Grosjean and Webber were having a bit of a tussle and Rosberg had somehow got ahead of Michael Schumacher.

By the end of the first lap, poor old Petrov had lost his front wing so had to immediately hobble into the pits along with Massa who was running last but no one seemed to have a scoobie why. Turned out to be a puncture but don’t worry, Felipe, I’m sure Stefano Domenicali hadn’t even noticed.
And our first incidents were under investigation – Rosberg and Webber. For what? It was just the usual race start jostling! Just be thankful it wasn’t the carnage of Spa. BTW, have you ever noticed that Coulthard says A-lon-zo and not Alonso. It is very annoying. You can see my mind started wandering very early during this race.

Watching paint dry – more interesting than Sunday’s race?

I may have dozed off because suddenly it was lap 11 (nothing had changed obviously) and Vettel was in the pits. He rejoined the race in 12th place and promptly muscled his way past Perez. Button was starting to close on Hamilton. Cue lots of speculation as to when Hamilton was pitting. On lap 12, Alonso pitted, then Schumacher and meanwhile Button was gaining yet more time on Hamilton. Slightly ominously, Hamilton radioed in to say he had a ‘funny feeling’ (as DC quipped “lets hope that tonight’s going to be a good night” – its sure going to be a long one).
Hamilton came into the pits on lap 13 and it was a very fast pitstop. Blimey, at this rate, my McLaren Pitstop Disastometer will be redundant. Still give it time… Crucially he came out in front of Vettel. High fives all around at McLaren! Lap 14 (out of 61 – give me strength) and Kimi pitted and then sensational news (ie. the commentators tried to inject some fake excitement), we heard that Jenson Button was coming in at the end of this lap. Seriously, in the context of this race, pitstops were like manna from heaven in terms of entertainment. And where did Button rejoin the race? In 3rd place. Where he originally was.  B-o-ring.

Jezza. He didn’t think much of Singapore either!

I think Jeremy Clarkson spoke for a nation (bear with me…) when he posted these tweets:
If I want to watch loads of cars driving along, I could stand on a motorway bridge.

Turn the sprinklers on. Shoot someone’s helmet with an air rifle. Tell Lewis on the radio his girlfriend slept with Kimi last night.
Zzzzzzz. Where was I? We had a couple of near misses involving the Hulk and Maldonaldo; and then Rosberg and Kobayashi. Nothing as thrilling as an actual crash obviously. Not saying the race was duller than a dull convention at the University of Dull (shameless Blackadder steal which probably shows my age – still what doesn’t these days?) but the commentators were even telling us excitedly that Charles Pic had just been in for a pitstop. We. Don’t. Care. There was a lot of chat about the BBC’s new golden boy, Paul Di Resta, that I mostly managed to block out because you know what dudes, he was only running in 8th place. Name on the trophy and all that – it sure as hell won’t be Di Resta.

Lewis Hamilton – is the title race slipping away from him?

And then on lap 23, a SHOCKING DEVELOPMENT. No really, it was totally shocking! Lewis Hamilton’s car totally conked out – and the eagle eyed DC immediately noticed he was in neutral and that his gear-box was stuffed. A big blow to his title chances and we saw Lewis dejectedly walking away looking back in disbelief at his car. I’m going to put my neck on the line and call this a Pivotal Moment in the Title Race. We heard a snippet of Radio McLaren saying ‘we did all we could yesterday’ so looks like they had some inkling that the car was not right. Guys, this is not going to persuade Lewis to take a pay cut. If he wants a dodgy unreliable car, he might as well go to Mercedes and get £60 million smackeroos.
Zzzzzzzzz-ing forward to lap 30 and Maldonaldo came in for an unexpectedly early pitstop and he rejoined just behind Grosjean and ahead of Alonso. Looking good for Fernando given there was a fairly reasonable chance that Maldonaldo and Grosjean were bound to crash at some point! We then followed the ‘battle for 4th’ featuring Nico, Grosjean, Maldonaldo and Alonso for an eternity. Well, when I say battle, I just mean 4 cars following each other around like a queue snaking into Homebase on a Bank Holiday. If a driver as brilliant as Alonso can’t make a move stick at this goddamn track, then what is the point of it.
And HALLELUJAH!!! On lap 33, Narain Karthitheyan crashed his car into the wall at turn 18. Finally we had a bit of frigging excitement with a safety car and lots of frantic pitstops. Narain, like most of us, was probably just bored senseless and decided to call it a day.

Michael and Jean-Eric. Awkward.

On lap 38, while still behind the Safety Car, Vettel very naughtily slowed nearly causing Jenson Button to plough into the back of him. Disaster was averted – just about – by Jenson’s lightning reactions. But one lap later, we had actual carnage. Barely had DC uttered the words ‘Schumacher will now have the opportunity to have a little run at Jean-Eric Vergne’ when Schuey did indeed have a little run at Vergne by crashing into the back of Vergne’s car and…er…bringing both their races to a juddering halt of mangled car. To the immense credit of Vergne, he didn’t hit Schuey handled the incident in a very mature way.

The Safety Car. The star turn at the Singapore Grand Prix!
So out came the safety car again and we were told the race would apparently go to the ‘time limit’ as we’d now had two safety cars and the race would be timed out. Here’s a thought. Maybe the race is actually too long. Anyhoo, the race got underway properly again on lap 43 and Kimi had clearly awoken from his Singapore GP induced coma and started driving like a demon right behind his team-mate. There was a stunning little battle going on between Senna and Massa which resulted in Massa squeezing past Senna at a place where no one should overtake. Very brave driving from Felipe! Then inexplicably, we heard that the incident was being investigated. Oh for heaven’s sake, what is wrong with some people? We finally had a stunning bit of racing and its treated suspiciously.
So 12 laps to go and it was a straight fight between Vettel and Button for the win with a 1.8 second gap between them. Time for our next incident. As Perez tried to nip down on the inside of the Hulk, they tangled and Perez’s Sauber lost its front wing. Have Massa and Perez  already swapped cars on the sly – this is role reversal gone mad. Next to wake up from their Singapore GP coma was Webber who executed a balls of steel move to get past Kobayashi but as the Hulk decided to join in on the fun, he clattered into Kamui (knocking off another Sauber front wing) and picked up a puncture himself into the bargain. Sauber really have the worst luck in the world.
And finally the end of the race and deliverance was nigh as the clock ticked to zero heralding the Final Lap. Too late for poor old Bruno Senna who was forced to retire from the race with loss of power.

Seb and Jenson. Another year, another 1-2. Can we just give them a 1-2 for next year already and scrap the race?!

So without further ado, here are the results from the Singapore Grand Prix 2012:

1.     Vettel – Back in the title race with a vengeance.

2.     Button – Spared McLaren’s blushes with a super-cool drive.

3.     Alonso – Yet again, on the podium.
4.     Di Resta – Be still my beating heart (joke).
5.     Rosberg – An excellent drive given the uselessness of the Mercedes car.
6.     Raikkonen – Qualified 12th and finished 6th on a track where you can’t overtake. 

And what does this all mean for the title race – the main contenders:

1.     Alonso – 194

2.     Vettel – 165

3.     Raikkonen – 149 (and to think he hasn’t even won a single race!)
4.     Hamilton – 142 (what a costly mechanical failure he had in this race)

Well go me, I managed to blog about the Singapore GP without slipping into a coma myself or simply cutting and pasting the BBC’s review which was seriously tempting.
Next time around, we are in Suzuka. A fab-u-lous track which has given us many great races and my All Time Best Sporting Moment. 


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