Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel takes dominance to the next level

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Vettel could win the championship as early next month. (©GettyImages)
Vettel could win the championship as early next month. (©GettyImages).

The 2013 edition of the Singapore Grand Prix will forever be remembered as one of Sebastian Vettel’s most dominant wins yet.

The German was simply in a league of his own throughout the weekend at Marina Bay leaving all those behind in the dark.

On Friday there was little sign of what was to come when Lewis Hamilton topped the timings in the opening practice session, but come the end of the night Vettel had sent a warning shot to his rivals moving six tenths clear of team-mate Mark Webber and a full second clear of  the first non-Red Bull.

In qualifying Vettel continued where he left off as Kimi Raikkonen fell away with back pain struggling to just 13th on the grid.

In Q3 teams and fans alike looked on in disbelief as Vettel continued to go faster and faster. The 1:42.841, set on his first run, looked easily fast enough with a good margin over Webber and an even better one over the rest.

Happy with his evening’s work the 26-year-old watched on as those behind went about the seemingly impossible task of beating the German’s time.

Suddenly the first real chink of light appeared as Grosjean then Webber bettered his time in the first sector, further concern rose as Nico Rosberg went faster in the second sector.

Biting his nails Vettel looked on as the final sector came to his rescue and he held on to pole by .091 of a second from Rosberg with Grosjean and Webber forming in behind.

So to race-day and most were resigning to the prospect of another easy win just like the last two rounds in Spa and Monza.

The start was the best chance to stop the Red Bull from disappearing into the distance, there was brief hope when Rosberg got ahead into the first corner but by running wide Vettel was able to get ahead through turn three and from there he set about proving why he is on course for a fourth straight world title.

His ability to set blistering lap times from lap one is what sets Vettel apart from his rivals and he proved that again pulling out a five second gap within three laps, building to a seven second gap by lap eight.

From there he managed the gap to those behind and looked after his tyres such that he was able to pit two or three laps later than his rivals in the first round of pit-stops.

Still maintaining an eight second gap after the stops the only risk to Vettel’s domination was the safety car caused by Daniel Ricciardo’s crash on lap 25. From there both Red Bull’s and both Mercedes’ stayed out while those behind pitted for a second stop.

Those hoping this could help those behind were quickly disappointed as Vettel set off at an alarming rate increasing his gap by two seconds per lap every lap gaining over a second in the final sector alone. The gap was 10 seconds within four laps and it only continued to rise.

Incredibly Rosberg then pitted several laps before Vettel despite being so far off the German’s pace with Hamilton and Webber pitting soon after. That moved Fernando Alonso into second but with Vettel now holding a 30 second lead when he finally pitted he was able to pit and  rejoin three seconds clear of the Ferrari.

Vettel’s ultimate margin of victory was 32 seconds from Alonso with Raikkonen third and that is a worrying thought with six races left.

Mercedes were absolutely nowhere in terms of race pace and what’s worse is Ferrari and Lotus were even slower. Nobody looks able to match the rampant champion-elect making the prospect of the further easy wins in the next few races even more likely.

There was some hope for those battling in the midfield, McLaren look to be making some good progress, both Jenson Button and Sergio Perez scored valuable points in their battle with Force India for fifth in the constructors championship.

For Sauber they also look to be making improvements Esteban Gutierrez was unable to convert his 10th place start into a first points finish but Nico Hulkenberg continued his run of points finishes with 10th.

One issue that continues to rumble on is that of booing, since Canada many crowds have been booing Vettel for his wins on the podium and that trend continued in Singapore.

While Seb himself says he doesn’t mind the booing, saying it actually spurs him on, It is not in the spirit of F1 to see a man who will go down as one of the greatest ever being booed for his achievements.

Post-race Mark Webber has been given a ten-place grid drop after he and Alonso were given reprimands after Alonso picked up Webber on the lap back to the pits. The reason why Webber gets a grid drop is because it is the third reprimand he has been given this season.

The Singapore weekend however, belonged to Sebastian Vettel who extended his lead to 60 points in the driver’s championship raising the prospect he could be crowned champion as soon as the Indian Grand Prix in three races time.

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