2009 Singapore Grand Prix summary


Lewis Hamilton (1st)
Even though both Vettel and Rosberg put pressure on him at different points during the Grand Prix, you got the feeling that Hamilton was driving at nine-10ths the whole way through. He had time to have a quick chat with his pitcrew and to reboot his KERS early on by pressing ‘Default X 3 0’, whatever that meant. All this while negotiating a street circuit in 30-degree heat; a quite superb and dominant win. 10/10


Timo Glock (2nd)
“This was a podium in the right moment for us,” said Glock during the post-race press conference. Oh, and how right he is. The Toyota Formula 1 team desperately needed a good result to show the board of directors that the programme is worthwhile. Although he gained a place when Webber let him through the car was good, but Glock produced the drive of the day. I suggest his career prospects have brightened somewhat. 10/10

Fernando Alonso (3rd)
His team-mate might not have helped him this time, but the Spaniard needed little aid in getting to the podium. If Rosberg and Vettel hadn’t had their penalties then he wouldn’t have finished there, but as they say, that’s racing. ‘Mr (self-proclaimed) Consistent’ once again produced a result, which is exactly what Renault need at this moment in time. 8/10

Sebastian Vettel (4th)
Vettel must be pondering what could’ve been after receiving a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane. He was up there with Hamilton before his car started to fall to pieces. Running wide over a kerb stripped some of the diffuser from his Red Bull, while a vibration took one of his mirrors. His championship prospects aren’t dead, but they’re not looking too healthy either. 8/10

Jenson Button (5th)
A disastrous qualifying lap in Q2 meant he didn’t even make it to Q3, so in view of that he did a great job in the race. His laps during the second bout of pitstops were worthy of a World Champion, but once again the Brit was let off the hook somewhat. Finishing one place ahead of team-mate and chief title rival Barrichello and one behind Vettel left him a very happy man. Phew. 7/10


Rubens Barrichello (6th)
He may have crashed in qualifying, but Barrichello looked on the pace. It wasn’t until Button produced his Schumacher-style laps over the second phase of pitstops that he lost his edge. It could have been worse, although championship-wise he now needs to rely on his team-mate having a couple of DNFs, which is never a great situation to be in. Not that Button has looked unshakeable under pressure… (6.5/10)

Heikki Kovalainen (7th)
At Monza the Finn went some way to ensuring that the team won’t sign him for next season. He was stronger in this race, but his team-mate won and never looked like being caught – something that won’t have gone unnoticed by McLaren’s management. It’s sad that Kovalainen probably won’t be with the team in 2010, as he has shown glimpses of blistering speed this season. But that’s not enough to keep you in this sport. 6/10

Robert Kubica (8th)
So BMW is pulling out due to financial reasons, but it’s still spending money on developing the car until the end of the season? Yes, it’s a weird situation, I’m sure you’ll agree, but Kubica won’t be complaining – anything that helps him score a World Championship point will be more than welcome. A solid race from the Pole, and oh how we’d like to see him in a competitive car. 7/10

Kazuki Nakajima (9th)
Another good performance from Nakajima, but again – much like Kovalainen – it has to be viewed in terms of his team-mate being up at the front (initially). One has to wonder where his future lies if Williams decides not to continue with Toyota next year. Still, the Japanese driver is not renowned for keeping it on the black stuff, so he did well to have a clean race at a track as unforgiving as Singapore. 5/10

Kimi Räikkönen (10th)
Ferrari’s lack of development is finally hurting the Finn with 10th place ending his recent run of strong results. He didn’t make a great start despite his KERS advantage and failed to do anything particularly special during the race. He didn’t do anything wrong, however, and stayed clear of the walls unlike last year. I fear the high-grip circuits are going to hurt the Scuderia in the last part of this season. 6/10


Nico Rosberg (11th)
If Vettel is asking himself what could’ve been, then Rosberg must be screaming it. He looked like a real challenger for Hamilton, before running wide over the white line on the exit of the pitlane and ruining his race. The fact that he took his drive-through penalty just after a safety car period meant he dropped to the back of the field. He didn’t stop racing though, which was a delight to see. 8/10

Jarno Trulli (12th)
The fact that he hasn’t got a drive with Toyota for next year could well be sapping the Italian of some motivation. He never looked like matching his team-mate’s pace throughout the race. It was a fairly quiet hour and 56 minutes for Trulli, and fairly disappointing at that. Qualifying 15th and finishing 12th in view of the various retirements will no doubt leave him with a sour taste in his mouth – more of a Singapore flunk than a Singapore Sling. 5/10

Giancarlo Fisichella (13th)
Fisichella may well be having second thoughts about his decision to move to Ferrari, as I doubt he realised just how different a KERS-equipped car would be to drive. This coupled with a circuit surrounded by walls was a harsh ‘welcome to the real world’ after his Monza debut. Still, it could be worse – Badoer could still be in the car. 4/10


Vitantonio Liuzzi (14th)
It was more of the same from Liuzzi, who impressed so much at Monza. He admitted before this race that his Italian form would be hard to carry over to the streets of Singapore. But he kept his nose clean, which is more than can be said for his team-mate… 5/10

Jaime Alguersuari (15th – RET)
He was sliding about so much that it looked like he was running on Historic Dunlops for most of the race, but hats off to him for not sliding off. He blotted his copybook, however, when he exited his pit with the fuel hosestill attached. The lollipop hadn’t even moved, so there was no one to blame but himself. Eventually retired with brake problems. 3/1

Sebastien Buemi (16th – RET)
Buemi looked quick at the start of the weekend and was even bold enough to say “it’s good to be back in the top 10”. But after qualifying in 14th, he had little chance to impress in the race. Running wide to let Räikkönen through preceded several trips to the pits to refuel (due to a faulty second fuel rig – his team-mate having comprehensively damaged the first one) and he finally retired with gearbox problems. A weekend to forget for everyone at Toro Rosso. 4/10


Mark Webber (17th – RET)
Never really on the pace all weekend, and then his brakes decided to pack up and go home early, leaving him in a tyre barrier, which was a fairly good effort considering 99 per cent of the circuit is surrounded by walls. His team might not have such a big repair job on its hands, but both he and Red Bull will be disappointed that his title hopes are gone. 6/10

Adrian Sutil (18th – RET)
Ran well until a spin, in which his car was undamaged. However he then collided with Heidfeld while trying to get going again. Sutil was able to get back to the pits, but retired soon after. 3/10

Nick Heidfeld (19th – RET)
See above… Heidfeld had a solid race but his hopes for a good result were dashed by Sutil. He received a 15-place grid penalty after his car was found to be short of ballast, so he did well to work his way up the field on a track where overtaking is nigh-on impossible. 6/10

Romain Grosjean (20th – RET)
Brake problems ended Grosjean’s race after only three laps. He summed it up better than I ever could with a very French shrug. 2/10

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