Sebastian Vettel wins Singapore GP as Lewis Hamilton retires
Ferrari driver leads from lights to flag after "multiple issues" cause world champion to drop out; Daniel Ricciardo finishes second ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg; Two Safety Cars in race, including one caused by spectator walking on to the track
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 21/09/15 5:10am
Sebastian Vettel won the Singapore GP in style on Sunday but there was disappointment for Lewis Hamilton at the Marina Bay circuit after the world champion was forced to retire.
Vettel, the polesitter, led the race from start to finish in his Ferrari to take the chequered flag for the 42nd time in his career, moving the 28-year-old ahead of Ayrton Senna to third in the all-time winners' list behind Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost.
He finished narrowly ahead of Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull, with Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari finishing third after a race that nudged the two-hour mark.
Nico Rosberg finished fourth, meanwhile, and therefore closes the gap on Hamilton in the battle for the world championship to 41 points following the latter's retirement on lap 34.
Hamilton was himself hoping to equal Senna's tally of 41 wins from 161 starts but with Mercedes struggling for pace this weekend, lined up only fifth on the grid.
He had run fourth ahead of his Mercedes team-mate in the race but started dropping down the field midway through the race after his car developed a turbo boost problem.
Hamilton fell down to 17th place and eventually suggested retirement in order to save his car's engine for next weekend's Japanese GP.
By that stage there had already been one Safety Car, introduced after Nico Hulkenberg collided with Felipe Massa.
Massa was exiting the pits at the time and the stewards decided the blame lay with the Force India driver, who has received a three-place grid penalty for next Sunday's race at Suzuka.
The Safety Car came out again shortly after Hamilton retired, prompted this time by a spectator's decision to walk out on to the track.
He promptly disappeared back over the barriers - although the FIA later confirmed that a 27-year-old man had been arrested. It was a dangerous and bizarre intervention - and one that effectively wrapped up the unfolding tactical battle.
Vettel had scorched away at the lights and pulled out a gap of three seconds over Ricciardo on lap one alone.
But he was far more circumspect after the first Safety Car re-start, suggesting that with Ricciardo's Red Bull showing superior tyre wear, and with the optimum race strategy hovering between two and three stops, Ferrari were trying to match their rivals by choosing the former option.
It even looked as though Vettel was attempting to back Ricciardo into Raikkonen's clutches. But as it turned out, the second Safety Car made Ferrari's decision for them and their lead driver did the rest, with the four-time champion having the measure of his former team-mate from there on in.
Valtteri Bottas finished fifth behind Rosberg, with Daniil Kvyat next up. The Russian ran fourth behind Raikkonen in the early stages but lost out under both Safety Cars, with Hamilton and Rosberg getting ahead the first time.
Sergio Perez finished seventh in his Force India after almost hitting team-mate Hulkenberg on the opening lap while Max Verstappen had another eventful race, with the Dutch teenager finishing eighth despite stalling on the grid.
Verstappen, who was a lap behind early on, was helped by the Safety Car but it still another strong performance from the youngster - although he ignored a team order to let Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz past in the closing stages.
Sainz therefore finished ninth with Sauber's Felipe Nasr completing the top 10 ahead of team-mate Marcus Ericsson.
There was another double DNF for McLaren, meanwhile, on a track where they had looked to score points.
Both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button ran in the top 10 but both retired with gearbox problems - the Englishman also wiping the nose off his car after a collision with Pastor Maldonado's Lotus on lap 42.
And last but by no means least, F1 debutant Alexander Rossi finished in 14th place, two laps down but ahead of Manor team-mate Will Stevens.
Singapore GP race result:
1. S Vettel, Ferrari, 61 laps
2. D Ricciardo, Red Bull, +1.4s
3. K Raikkonen, Ferrari, +17.1s
4. N Rosberg, Mercedes, +24.7s
5. V Bottas, Williams, +34.2s
6. D Kvyat, Red Bull, +35.5s
7. S Perez, Force India, +50.8s
8. M Verstappen, Toro Rosso, +51.4s
9. C Sainz, Toro Rosso, +52.8s
10. F Nasr, Sauber, +90s
11. M Ericsson, Sauber, +97.5s
12. P Maldonado, Lotus, +97.7s
13. R Grosjean, Lotus, Retired
14. A Rossi, Manor, 2 laps
15. W Stevens, Manor, 2 laps
Ret. J Button, McLaren
Ret. F Alonso, McLaren
Ret. L Hamilton, Mercedes
Ret. F Massa, Williams
Ret. N Hulkenberg, Force India
Don't miss the F1 Midweek Report on Wednesday night at 8.30pm when John Watson and Maurice Hamilton join Anna Woolhouse to discuss the Singapore GP