Sebastian Vettel needs just a single Championship point to secure his second World Drivers’ title after winning the arduous Singapore Grand Prix this evening.
And just as he tops the Drivers’ table, the team continues to lead the Constructors’ fight, thanks in no small part to Mark Webber repeating his best ever F1 night-race finish with a sterling third place podium.
Vettel lead from first to last with the only obstacles in front being the Safety Car after Schumacher’s Perez-fuelled flight into the barriers and Seb’s near-miss with Trulli in the pitlane which earned the Italian a trip to the stewards’ offices.
Webber didn’t have the best of starts and saw Button and Alonso pass him, but another determined drive, more shrewd tactical decisions and his great pass on Alonso (those two are having quite a battle this season…) saw our Australian take another trophy.
Afterwards Mark said that those starts would be something to concentrate on: “I’ve found myself having to come back through the field too often this season. I can't make the starts I made last year. I need to work on those; we'll look at them and definitely improve. If you come here and you get a podium, it’s not too bad. Of course you'd love a win, that's what we all strive for, but this is a very challenging venue.”
The victorious Vettel was happy, not only that tonight saw a win, but also on such a challenging circuit. He said: “It is a fantastic result. I love the challenge here – it’s one of the longest races of the season, but the car was fantastic and engine-wise everything was great. Renault again did a very good job, so we were in a comfortable position for most of the race, which is pretty handy around here because it's quite a challenge to put all the sectors together, not only in qualifying, but also in the race.”
One pleasant side-effect of the team’s ongoing success is that the list of people we’re able to send to the podium grows longer. Tonight it was the turn of Tim Malyon, Sebastian’s performance engineer who’s been with Vettel since he joined us.
So after three successive victories we travel to Suzuka as Sebastian searches for that solitary championship score. As Christian said: “That was a truly great team performance that puts Sebastian within one point of achieving his second World Championship. That said, it doesn't change our approach as we head to Japan.”