Singapore Grand Prix 2011

/ Commentary

Race

19.59 The tyre warmers are off and the cars head off on their formation lap. A few drivers have opted for soft tyres towards the back of the of the grid but the top ten are on supersofts except di Resta - the Force Indias and Schumacher had the choice after not setting a time in Q3.

19.57 All the drivers are in their cars. Button looks relaxed and is in a good position on the clean side of the grid.

19.55 Ferrari says: "So everything is ready on the grid. Six minutes to the start of the formation lap."

19.51 Hamilton has even more tyre woes as he lost a set of supersofts to a puncture in Q2 yesterday. So he has two sets of supersofts - one fresh and one used - and three sets of softs.

19.47 Button adds: "I need to get in front of Mark at the start."

19.45 Jenson Button, who will start third, says it looks like the McLarens "are damaging their rear tyres" over long runs and that could become a problem.

19.44 Vettel tells the BBC to ask the other drivers whether he is going to win the title tonight. He also says "We'll try to do our race and get the best result".

19.40 Ferrari also points out that pit stops take longer for everyone in Singapore: "Pit lane speed limit here is 60 kph, not the usual 100 kph, so the time lost during the pit-stops will be higher."

19.37 Christian Horner on Sebastian Vettel this evening: "His confidence is high, he's not cruising and collecting...he's going to attack this race with the same vigour he has so far this season".

19.36 Ferrari confirms that rain is very unlikely: "Weather situation is very stable: hot and sticky, no rain expected for the moment."

19.32 It will be interesting to see how Fernando Alonso gets on today. He's 5th on the grid but said yesterday's Q3 lap was one of his best of the season and that he was driving at 120%. He's been absolutely on the limit all weekend and expects to have a strong race pace so he should give the McLarens a run for their money if not the Red Bulls.


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19.30 The pit lane is now open and several cars are making their way to the grid.

19.29 There is a slight whiff of rain in the air but the chances are we'll have a dry grand prix. Lotus' Mike Gascoyne has just tweeted: "Forecast saying risk of rain decreasing for the rest of the evening."

19.23 Whatever happens we should be in for a thrilling race as everybody behind Vettel tries to spoil his party on one of the most dramatic circuits on the calendar. Last year's race was nearly two hours long, so it's also one of the most gruelling tracks for the drivers with 30C heat and 70% humidity.

19.20 So if they finish in grid position Vettel will have to wait until Japan as Button and Webber will still be in with a chance - albeit incredibly slim.

19.17 Here are the required permutations for Vettel to win, borrowed from this weekend's preview.

A win with Fernando Alonso fourth or lower and Jenson Button and Mark Webber third or lower.

A second place finish ahead of Lewis Hamilton with Alonso eighth or lower and Button and Webber fifth or lower.

A third place finish ahead of Hamilton with Alonso ninth or lower and Button and Webber seventh or lower.

19.15 Welcome to live commentary of the Singapore Grand Prix. We've got lights, we've got cameras (an FOM feed, at least) and in 45 minutes time we should have a fair bit of action. Sebastian Vettel has a chance of being crowned world champion today if he finishes on the podium, but realistically he needs to win and then hope some of his rivals slip up.

Lap 1

Vettel gets a very good start but Webber has dropped back to fourth. Hamilton is back in eighth after attempting to pass Webber into turn one. Button is up to second with Alonso in close pursuit.

Rosberg skipped most of the second corner and is currently sixth and he is told that he is OK in his position and won't have to give any places back.

Ricciardo has lost his front wing somewhere and is going very slowely indeed.

Lap 2

Vettel leads by 2.5s from Button and looks as though he extending that lead. Hamilton is behind Schumacher for the second race in a row and will be very keen to find a way past.

Lap 3

Vettel extends his lead to 3.5 seconds with Button just 0.5 seconds up on Alonso in third. DRS is now enabled.

Lap 4

Vettel is in a league of his own right now and is about a second a lap quicker than Button.

Hamilton passes Schumacher on the straight out of turn six with the help of the DRS. He did it with ease in the end but Schumacher had a bad exit from turn six which didn't help.

Lap 5

Vettel's lead is now 5.5 seconds.

Meanwhile Massa is closing on Webber who is 0.9s off Alonso.

Hamilton eases past his second Mercedes of the evening with a comfortable move on Rosberg. Massa is the next target, 3.7s down the road, but will no doubt be a tougher challenge.

Lap 6

3.3s covers Button in second to Massa in fifth with Hamilton homing in on the back of that battle.

Lap 7

Vettel now leads by 8.2s as Webber gets within 0.9 of Alonso and will hope to activate his DRS this lap.

Alonso is told the saftey car window is open, which means they would pit if the safety car gets called out. Meanwhile, Webber is complaining that his DRS is not working very well over his radio.

Webber did use his DRS but it wasn't nearly enough to get him in a position to pass.

Lap 8

Vettel is not letting up and sets another lap in the 1:54s to extend his lead to 9.1s. The pack behind is starting to spread out a bit too.

Kobayahsi is the man to watch right now as he closes on Buemi and Senna for 15th and 14th.

Lap 9

Hamilton is now closing on Massa with the gap down to 1.5s. Webber also looks closer to Alonso this lap.

Lap 10

Webber starts the lap 0.5s off the back of Alonso. But he can't get close enough in the DRS zone to make a move.

Rosberg has pitted, the first man to do so.

Webber passes Alonso into turn 14 as he comes off the Esplanade Bridge. It was a great move that saw him look around the outside and then complete the move into turn 15.

Lap 11

Alonso pits after losing that place and takes on soft tyres. Tyre degradation is clearly very high at the moment on heavy fuel loads.

Hamilton is still on the back of Massa and will be hoping that the rear tyres on that Ferrari are also past their best.

Glock retires from the race after losing the rear end under the stadium.

Lap 12

Hamilton and Massa pit. Ferrari just get their man out ahead and they both come out behind Alonso who pitted first.

Hamilton attempts to pass Massa into turn seven but loses his front wing againts the Ferrari. Massa has a puncture and Hamilton has a lot of damage to his front wing. It was the same corner that Hamilton had an accident at last year. He tried to go around the outside but Massa held the inside and Hamilton clipped him as he turned in.

Lap 13

Webber pits for soft tyres as Hamilton stays out with half a front wing. Rosberg is all over the back of him and surely he will pit this lap. Confirmation from the pits that he will take on soft tyres.

Lap 14

The stewards are investigating the Massa/Hamilton incident. If someone is penalised there is no doubt that it will be Hamilton. Massa simply held the inside line.

Schumacher is now all over the back of Kobayashi for ninth. The Sauber hasn't pitted.

Lap 15

Vettel and Button pit from first and second. There was 10.7 seconds between them on the last lap.

Lap 16

Schumacher and Sutil are now past Kobayashi as his tyres lose grip.

Drive-through penalty for Hamilton and there can be no complaints about that.

Hamilton is back in 16th as he heads in for his drive-through penalty.

Lap 17

Vettel now has a 11.4s lead over Button and is clearly enjoying those new tyres.

Di Resta is currently third but has yet to pit. He looks like he's going for a two-stop strategy but has Alonso closing in on him.

Lap 18

Alonso is now closing on di Resta but the Force India is unlikely to put up much of a fight as they are on different strategies.

Lap 19

Alonso makes his move on di Resta in the DRS zone and slips past easily into turn seven. Webber is now on the back of the Force India.

Lap 20

Hamilton is now back in 15th but closing on Kobayashi. Ahead of the Sauber is Massa and he won't be best pleased to see the McLaren appearing in his mirrors.

Di Resta makes his first pit stop and slots back in in ninth behind his team-mate Sutil.

Massa passes Buemi for 12th to put another car between him and Hamilton.

Lap 21

Hamilton asks McLaren what he is racing for and whether he can get points. McLaren tell him that he is racing for points as they think there is a very high chance of a safety car.

Kobayashi is pushing very hard to keep Hamilton behind but can do nothing to stop the McLaren passing in the DRS zone.

Lap 22

Vettel now leads by 14.4 seconds and looks very comfortable out in front. Button is 18.1 seconds clear of Alonso who is now coming under pressure from Webber.

Lap 23

Vettel is told not to worry about fuel at the moment so everything is going to plan in car No.1. The cars run close to the brim for this race so we could see some cars slowing towards the end of this race if they are pushing hard at the moment.

Lap 24

Webber is currently pushing Alonso hard and the Ferrari locks up into the turn 10 chicane.

Hamilton is now 0.4s off the back of Massa for 13th place.

Lap 25

It looks like Hamilton has got past Massa on the timing screens but we haven't seen it on TV. A replay shows that Massa ran a little wide in turn six and Hamilton passed him under acceleration.

Lap 26

Alonso is just about holding on to position ahead of Webber but looks set to pit. Massa has just pitted so it was a quick turnaround for the mechanics. Alonso takes on soft tyres but he has now released Webber so needs to get a move on.

Meanwhile, Hamilton has mover up to 10th by passing Barrichello.

Lap 27

Button now leads by 20.4s with Webber 21.2s behind.

Di Resta has got past Sutil for fifth place and was let through by his team-mate. He needed that to make his strategy work.

Lap 28

Vettel is currently carving his way through backmarkers but is still comfortably in the lead by 20.6s.

Rosberg is now on the back of Sutil as those two fight over sixth. The Mercedes has made one more stop than the Force India and is on fresher and softer tyres.

Lap 29

Rosberg runs wide in the final corner behind Sutil and Perez pounces. The Sauber is ahead but loses out in turn one and has to duck out.

Schumacher now attacks Perez and its a big accident as Schumacher loses his front wing. The safety car is out to clear Schumacher's wreck but he is fine and has got himself out of the car.

Lap 30

Vettel has pitted and so has Button. Webber also in the pits and they should all be closed up behind the saftey car now.

Lap 31

A replay shows that Schumacher clipped Perez's rear tyre on the exit of turn seven and flew up into the air. He was lucky not to T-bone his team-mate Nico Rosberg in the next corner. He's left a lot of debris on the track which will tale some time to clear.

The safety car has picked up Vettel. He'll have three cars between his and Button at the restart so should be in a comfortable position.

Lap 32

Di Resta has made his second stop but may now be on a three stop strategy. Either way, he is in a good position in fifth place ahead of Rosberg who has made three stops.

Lap 33

Safety car in this lap. Vettel should lead away easily and there are a couple of cars between Button and Alonso. Webber is directly behind Alonso.

Lap 34

Vettel builds a massive lead at the start as Button struggles with three backmarkers.

Webber beats Alonso into turn 10 and takes the position. They were in traffic and Alonso seemed to be caught a little bit by surprise.

Lap 35

Vettel leads Button by 8.9 seconds as they start the lap.

Hamilton is attacking Sutil for seventh back in traffic but can't find a way past.

Di Resta, Rosberg, Sutil and Hamilton are all nose to tail.

Lap 36

Hamilton got caught behind Liuzzi as he attacked Sutil and wasn't close enough in the DRS zone to make a move stick as a result.

Lap 37

Vettel sets a new fastest lap to extend his lead to 11.9s and Red Bull tell him that he may go to the end of the race on this set of tyres.

Hamilton closes again in the DRS zone, has a look into turn seven and then makes the move stick into turn eight, albeit with a bit of help from Sutil leaving the door open.

Lap 38

Hamilton eases past Rosberg in the DRS zone for the second time today. Di Resta is his next target.

Lap 39

Vettel has eased his pace after that radio message in the knowledge that Button is also attempting to make these tyres last the race.

Hamilton passes di Resta with the use of the DRS, Alonso is up next but is 13s down the road.

Lap 40

Vettel is still quicker than Button though and his lead is now up to 12.5 seconds.

The Rosberg/Perez incident into turn one is under investigation. They did touch as Rosberg threw it up the inside but Perez left him little room.

Lap 41

Webber is now 3.7 seconds behind Button so an interesting battle could be brewing there. Hamilton did not make much of a dent in Alonso's lead over him on that last lap but is looking quicker on this lap.

Lap 42

Webber closes the gap to Button by 0.3s.

Massa pits from 12th for another set of tyres. He's had a a miserable day ever since Hamilton crashed into him.

Hamilton is now making an impact on Alonso and has the gap down to 12.2s.

Lap 43

Vettel now leads by 13.1s. He's told to "get ready for line 1" by his team but unfotunately we have no idea what that code means.

Button has picked up his pace slightly in the hope of holding off Webber.

Lap 44

The gap between Button and Webber has levelled off at 3.4s.

There will be no further action for the incident between Rosberg and Perez at turn one. The Schumacher and Perez crash will be investigated after the race.

Lap 45

Hamilton has the gap to Alonso down to 11.3s, but he doesn't look quick enough to close that gap in the remaining 16 laps.

Lap 46

Vettel is still pushing hard and has set a fastest first sector. So far he has led every lap and holds the fastest lap.

It looks like Hamiltono will have to pit again. He has a 15.2s lead over di Resta and is 12.0s off Alonso.

Lap 47

Webber pits from third. He takes on supersofts. Will Button and Vettel follow suit?

Lap 48

Vettel's and Button's times have definitely dropped off but they appear to be setting a stable pace.

Webber has come out behind Hamilton on very old soft tyres.

Lap 49

Button pits for supersoft tyres.

Hamilton loses position to Webber under acceleration.

So, Button had to pit to cover Webber off because if he didn't and risked going to the end and then had to pit anyway he would have lost out in the pit stops.

Hamilton also pits.

Lap 50

Vettel also pits. Clever work by Red Bull, initiating the pit stops with Webber so that Vettel could have a more comfortable run to the line.

A Lotus gets realeased in front of Vettel but the Red Bull avoids it. That could have been nasty.

Alonso also pits.

Lap 51

Button sets a new fastest lap on his fresh rubber as Vettel gets stuck in backmarkers. Vettel's lead is now 9.5s with Button 4.7s ahead of Webber.

Hamilton pases Sutil again for seventh as the Force India had not pitted. Next up is Rosberg 3.1s down the road and di Resta a further 4.4s ahead.

Lap 52

Trulli has retired from the race.

Hamilton is now on the attack against Rosberg and gets the job done in the DRS zone.

Lap 53

Hamilton has nine laps to close a gap of 2.1s to di Resta in fifth. Alonso is solidly in fourth with Webber and Button locked on for third and second behind race leader Vettel.

Lotus says Trulli had a gearbox problem which they were worried about before the start of the race.

Lap 54

Hamilton has passed di Resta for fifth so is back up to where he was before the last set of pit stops.

Lap 55

Button sets a new fastest lap, his only hope now is to stop Vettel taking pole, the win and fastest lap. It will be interesting to see if Vettel responds with a quick lap.

Button is still pushing hard but with a gap of 9.6s to Vettel it looks unlikely that he will catch him.

Lap 56

Button is currently a second a lap faster than Vettel but it still looks as though Red Bull have this under control.

Lap 57

Button is still pushing hard as Vettel continues to ease up. The gap is now 7.9s. Webber is now 18.4 seconds off Button.

Sutil and Perez are also closing on Rosberg for seventh place.

Lap 58

Button now has the gap to 6.5 seconds with four laps remaining. Can he smell blood? He was 1.4s faster on that last lap and Vettel has now hit traffic. McLaren tell Button that this is his chance.

Lap 59

Button has the gap to 3.7s now but he has three cars' worth of traffic between him and Vettel. Button got baulked by a battle between the two Williams but is now clear of the traffic. It cost him 1.9s to Vettel in sector two.

Lap 60

The gap increases to 5.6s after that traffic. Two laps remain.

Alguersuari has hit the barriers under the stadium at turn 18. He lost the rear and slammed against the barrier.

Vettel is coming up to lap four cars of traffic including Massa who has just past Perez for ninth.

Lap 61

Vettel gives his customary one finger salute (not the rude one) to the crowd of photographers and mechanics surrounding parc ferme.

Vettel, Button, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton and di Resta were the only drivers to finish on the lead lap.

Christian Horner tells Vettel he is one point away from winning the title.

But Button isn't close enough to put pressure on Vettel on this final lap.

Vettel is having a very busy final lap trying to pass the traffic ahead of him but looks set to cross the line comfortably ahead.

He crosses the line by 1.7s to Button - closer than it looked - to win but does not take the championship - that will have to wait for another race day.

Thank you for joining us for the Singapore Grand Prix. Make sure you keep checking the website for all the reaction from the teams and drivers.