Singapore is an interesting race and I have mixed feelings about it. First of all, it’s a street circuit. In theory I don’t like street circuits because there isn’t any run-off room and cars hit the walls all the time. It is also the only Formula One race that is run after dark. I don’t like that in theory either because I worry that it will be too dark, and the drivers won’t be able to see, or it will rain and all the temporary lights will short out and the drivers won’t be able to see and there will be absolute mayhem.
But in fact I really really like this race. I’m sure I have said this before, but the cars look so beautiful under the lights, and the track looks amazing in the overhead shots. See for yourself:
Fernando Alonso was on pole again for Ferrari. This is two races in a row! I’m telling you, that new Alonso t-shirt I bought in San Francisco last month has been so lucky for him.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel started second, Lewis Hamilton was third in his McLaren and his teammate Jenson Button was fourth. Poor Felipe Massa (Alonso’s teammate) was starting dead last after his engine failed during the first session of qualifying. I was a little bit nervous about how the start would go since Vettel has been recently christened “Cheating crash boy” by Tom. I was afraid he would do something stupid and end up taking Alonso out of the race.
But no! Alonso got a nice clean start and pulled away from Vettel. Vettel followed, then Hamilton, then Jenson. Massa did one lap and then pitted to change his tires. Not because there was anything wrong with them but because F1 has this spectacularly stupid rule saying you have to use two different tire compounds during the race. By pitting on the first lap Massa got that requirement out of the way early.
Then on lap four Vitantionio Liuzzi’s Force India car stopped on track and the Safety Car came out. Everybody dove into the pits except the top five runners.
That was pretty much all she wrote until about halfway through the race. Tom and I were sitting there thinking this race was taking a very long time. On lap 36 the running order was Alonso, Vettel, and Webber, with Hamilton and Button running fourth and fifth. Then ka-bam! Hamilton tried to pass Webber and Webber slammed the door on him. They touched and it ended Hamilton’s race. That is his second retirement in a row, and it probably effectively ends his chances of winning the WDC. It’s too bad for Hamilton, but that’s racing.
Meanwhile Alonso and Vettel were duking it out for the lead. Alonso stayed between a second and two seconds ahead, but it was torture to watch. I love it when Alonso is winning, and I hate it when Alonso is winning. But I love it more than I hate it.
With two laps to go Heikki Kovaleinen spun and then his car caught fire. He kept driving it though, coasting to a stop on the front strait. While he was still behind the wheel he was motioning to the fire marshals. I was screaming at him to GET OUT OF THE CAR! But he wasn’t listening. I know they are wearing fireproof suits and everything but for crying out loud. I couldn’t believe how cool and collected he seemed as flames shot from the back of his car. He calmly climbed out took the fire extinguisher somebody was offering him through the pit wall and proceeded to put the fire out himself. Now that is one cool customer right there. Yeesh.
Alonso won. That puts him second in the fight for the World Driver’s Championship. It would take a miracle for him to win, so I am trying not to get too excited, but I might not be succeeding.
Look how happy he is, jumping up and down on the podium: