SEBASTIAN Vettel’s inherited victory at the Singapore Grand Prix has launched the Red Bull Racing man back into the race for the F1 Drivers’ Championship.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton retired from a comfortable lead with a gearbox failure after 23 laps, gifting Vettel the lead which he held to the end.
The reigning world champion is now 29 points behind current leader Fernando Alonso with six races remaining, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen a further 20 points back.
Mark Webber suffered under the two safety car periods, and was handed a post-race penalty for overtaking Kamui Kobayashi outside of the track boundaries, meaning he lost out on 10th place, and was classified 11th.
But it was a drama free race for the German, who started third on the grid, and leap-frogged Pastor Maldonado at the second corner.
Vettel could do nothing about Hamilton ahead, who was in total control of the race until he found a box of neutrals as he tried to accelerate away at the start of lap 23 gifting Vettel the lead, and with it, the victory.
After the race, Vettel sympathised with Hamilton, having suffered a similar fate while leading in Valencia back in June.
He said: “It’s great to get the win today. Looking to the race, Lewis had to retire which is a shame for him. I know how it feels and have been in that position before.
“I think we could have had a tight battle. I felt very good on the harder tyres and we had a lot of pace. I think it’s very good to get this win here today. We know the next few races will be tough, but that’s the challenge.”
Webber meanwhile blamed the safety car periods for ruining his strategy, which could have seen him higher up the charts.
He said: “I wasn’t too bad pace wise. The strategy was going alright, but the second safety car really hurt us and put us to the back of the queue.
“Around here, fighting and looking after your tyres is a bit of a mess. It’s a shame. Sebastian got some good points for the team, so that’s good and I’m just looking forward now to the next few races. I like Suzuka, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Red Bull extend their lead in the Constructors’ Championship over McLaren to 36 points.