Disaster for Ferrari as Fernando Alonso Secures Surprise Win in Singapore

Adam PooleAnalyst ISeptember 28, 2008

Fernando Alonso secured his first win in Formula One in exactly a year today as he beat Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg over the line to win in Singapore.

Formula One's first night race took place this weekend, and not without incident.  A strong Ferrari team qualified P1 and P3, and Felipe Massa looked to have a strong lead until Nelson Piquet's Renault crashed on the pit straight forcing the Safety Car to be deployed.

Several drivers were forced to pit after the pit lane was closed because of very low fuel loads, and as a result, these cars were penalised with a 10-second stop-and-go penalty.

Massa and Lewis Hamilton were the first drivers to pit after the pit-lane was re-opened, only for disaster to strike at Ferrari when Massa pulled away after the green light had been given too soon.

Massa found himself dragging the fuel hose down the pit-lane and having to pull over before the hose was reclaimed about 45 seconds later, seeing him at the back of the pack.

Later on, it was discovered that he had also been released dangerously, and therefore faced a drive-through penalty, costing him another 25-30 seconds.

When things settled down after the Safety Car resumed its usual pit-lane position, Hamilton was behind a very strong Fernando Alonso as well as David Coulthard and Rosberg.

Alonso had a very short first stint on soft tires and pitted five laps before the first of two safety car incidents.  After the correct penalties and corresponding pit-stops were made, the race was all but over, with Alonso leading Rosberg, Coulthard, Hamilton and Raikkonen. 

Hamilton was struggling to keep the race-pace behind the slower Red Bull of Coulthard, but, after a superb piece of driving skill, Lewis was able to pass DC in turn seven of this new circuit. 

Lewis said, at the post-race press conference, "We had great pace, it was just a bit unfortunate I got stuck behind DC. He was a good second slower than me, but also a second slower than everyone in front of us, it was so difficult to get close to him to overtake, but he drove a fantastic race."

Fernando Alonso also drove stunningly, right from the word "go."  After a technical error which saw his high-velocity fuel pump cut out in yesterday's qualifying, he started out on the grid in 15th position.

He looked to be out of the fight, but the Spaniard just went out and did what he does best: drive a clean race.  Hamilton's ex team-mate took his ING Williams home and secured his first podium of the season and indeed his first Grand Prix win in exactly a year.

More heartache for Ferrari saw reigning World Champion Kimi Raikkonen side-slam a wall and crash out just nine laps from the end.

By this point, the points were decided and Lewis Hamilton had secured a seven-point advantage over Massa in the driver's standings, and had assisted in setting McLaren ahead of Ferrari in the constructor's championship.

David Coulthard secured two points in his Red Bull car, after driving his favourite sort of track.  DC is renowned for taking advantage on street circuits. Sadly, he is retiring at the end of this season. However, there are strong rumors that he will be sitting behind a microphone and commentating on British BBC from next year.

Fernando, who was obviously very happy with his win, couldn't believe it and said, at the post-race press conference, "It's a fantastic first podium of the season and first win, I'm extremely happy and can't believe it right now.  I think I need a couple of days to realise that we won a race this year which seemed impossible all season to be that close to the top guys." 

When asked about his strategy, he simply said, "We chose to do a very aggressive first stint because we knew starting 15th, you can't overtake and we thought about one stop but had concerned about the brakes. So we tried something very different with a short first stint, try to make as many places and see from there."

Lewis Hamilton was very happy to be able to extend his lead in the driver's championship and said, "It is good to be up here though, we got good points."

The final standings of the SingTel Singapore Grand-Prix 2008 look like this:

1.  ALONSO        Renault        

2.  ROSBERG       Williams      +2.9s

3.  HAMILTON      McLaren       +5.9s

4.  GLOCK         Toyota        +8.1s

5.  VETTEL        Toro Rosso    +10.2

6.  HEIDFELD      BMW           +11.1s

7.  COULTHARD     Red Bull      +16.3s

8.  NAKAJIMA      Williams      +18.4s

9.  BUTTON        Honda         +19.8s

10. KOVALAINEN    McLaren       +26.9s

11. KUBICA        BMW           +27.9s

12. BOURDAIS      Toro Rosso    +29.4s

13. MASSA         Ferrari       +35.1s

14. FISICHELLA    Force India   +43.5s

15. RAIKKONEN     Ferrari       +4 laps

R.  TRULLI        Toyota        +10 laps

R.  SUTIL         Force India   +11 laps

R.  WEBBER        Red Bull      +31 laps

R.  BARRICHELLO   Honda         +46 laps

R.  PIQUET        Renault       +47 laps

*R Signifies Retired

After the SingTel Singapore Grand-Prix 2008 the Drivers Championship:

1Lewis HamiltonBritish84
2Felipe MassaBrazilian77
3Robert KubicaPolish64
4Kimi RäikkönenFinnish57
5Nick HeidfeldGerman56
6Heikki KovalainenFinnish51
7Fernando AlonsoSpanish38
8Sebastian VettelGerman27
9Jarno TrulliItalian26
10Timo GlockGerman20
11Mark WebberAustralian20
12Nico RosbergGerman17
13Nelsinho PiquetBrazilian13
14Rubens BarrichelloBrazilian11
15Kazuki NakajimaJapanese9
16David CoulthardBritish8
17Sebastien BourdaisFrench4
18Jenson ButtonBritish3
19Giancarlo FisichellaItalian0
20Adrian SutilGerman0
21Takuma SatoJapanese0
22Anthony DavidsonBritish0

 

After the SingTel Singapore Grand-Prix 2008 the Constructor's Championship:

1McLaren-Mercedes135
2Ferrari134
3BMW Sauber120
4Renault51
5Toyota46
6STR-Ferrari31
7Red Bull-Renault28
8Williams-Toyota26
9Honda14
10Force India-Ferrari0
11Super Aguri-Honda0

 

This recap will have more and more material added to it as driver and team reactions are released.  However, you can have your say below by leaving a comment!