F1 2012 Singapore Grand Prix result: Vettel wins as Hamilton retires
PUBLISHED: 15:08 23 September 2012 | UPDATED: 19:50 23 September 2012
LEWIS Hamilton retired from the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix as Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag in the sport's night race for the second year running.
The 27-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 driver from Hertfordshire coasted to a halt after 23 laps with gearbox trouble while leading the race.
Pole-sitter Hamilton’s retirement handed Vettel the lead and the Red Bull star crossed the finish line first, almost nine seconds ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button, for his second win of the season.
A dejected Hamilton said: “It’s heartbreaking not to have finished the race today [Sunday].
“We definitely had the pace to win this weekend. In fact, before I retired, I was cruising; just managing the gap back to Seb [Vettel].
“Then I started to experience difficulty with the gearshift, then I lost third gear, and then the box kept dropping into neutral.
“Obviously, I was disappointed, but the good thing we can take away from this weekend is that we have extremely good pace. As a result, I think we can really attack in the next few races.”
World championship leader Fernando Alonso took the final step on the Singapore podium for Ferrari following an eventful race which saw two safety car periods.
Scot Paul di Resta finished a career-best fourth for Force India, with Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg fifth in the provisional results and Kimi Raikkonen sixth for Lotus ahead of teammate Romain Grosjean.
Felipe Massa was eighth for Ferrari ahead of Ricciardo. Mark Webber crossed the line 10th in the second Red Bull but was later hit with a post-race 20 second penalty. That relegated him down to 11th and promoted Sergio Perez’s Sauber into the points.
It was a cursed race for the grand prix’s two front row starters, with Hamilton’s gearbox problem dashing his hopes of 25 FIA world championship points.
Pastor Maldonado, meanwhile, suffered a hydraulics problem with his Williams and was forced to retire.
Among the other non finishers were Karthikeyan, who drifted into the barriers, and Michael Schumacher, who rammed his Mercedes into the back of Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne’s car after a brakes issue on the safety car restart.
Schumacher was later hit with a 10-place grid penalty by stewards for the next race, the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Alonso now leads the title race by 29 points from Vettel, with Hertfordshire hero Hamilton’s hopes fading back in fourth place on 142 points.
“It’s going to be hard to close the gap to guys like Fernando [Alonso] and Sebastian [Vettel], especially when they keep finishing race after race, but I’ll never give up,” said Hamilton afterwards.
“There are six more races, and I need to go and win all six.
“I’ll fight until the end.”