Renault Sport press release
Red Bull Racing-Renault edges closer to title with victory in Singapore Grand Prix
Red Bull Racing-Renault’s Sebastian Vettel took a further step towards a second consecutive drivers’ crown with a dominant win in today’s Singapore Grand Prix. Vettel held the lead from lights to flag to secure his ninth victory of the year. Only Jenson Button, who finished second in this race, can now mathematically take the title from the Red Bull driver. Mark Webber finished today’s race in third position.
Lotus Renault GP had a challenging weekend, with the potential for a good race performance compromised by a disappointing qualifying. Bruno Senna finished in 15th position with Vitaly Petrov 17th. Team Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen raced Petrov for the duration, claiming 16th at the flag fall. Jarno Trulli retired on lap 48 with gearbox issues. Vettel now has a lead of 309 points to Button’s 185 while Webber is fourth, two points behind Alonso in the drivers’ championship. The win is the 139th for a Renault engine in Formula 1 and the 24th for the Red Bull-Renault partnership since 2007. It is also the 23rd podium finish of the year for a Renault-engined driver.
Key race weekend points:
Red Bull Racing
Sebastian Vettel secured pole ahead of Webber for an all Red Bull front row and his 11th pole of the season. The German was never headed over the course of the 61 lap race. A safety car period midway through the Grand Prix allowed second-placed Button to close the gap, but Vettel was able to recapture a dominant lead. Button closed to within four seconds of the German in the closing stages, but Vettel ultimately held on to win by just under two seconds. Webber had a tough start, falling back to fourth behind Button and Alonso, but twice passed Alonso on the road. A stunning move on lap 34 put him ahead of Alonso and into third and he was ultimately able to pull away thereafter. Vettel now needs just one point to secure his second consecutive drivers’ title in Japan.
Lotus Renault GP
A challenging weekend for Lotus Renault GP with the new developments brought to Singapore put to one side following overheating issues on Friday practice. The team struggled again on Saturday, with Petrov qualifying in 18th and Senna in 15th. Senna had a good start, but a brush with the wall dropped him back down the field after a nosecone change. With several blue flags he was unable to regain ground and came home in 15th. Petrov made three pit stops, but was unable to make significant progress and finished in 17th. The team retains its fifth position in the constructors’ championship.
Team Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen finished in 16th position ahead of Vitaly Petrov following a race long battle. The Finn improved five positions on his starting slot to put in one of the team’s most competitive performances to date. Jarno Trulli pulled off track on lap 48 with gearbox-related issues, but put in a strong performance before his retirement. He was running in 12th position before his first stop, but soon after was hit by Alguersuari and required a further stop after the impact caused a puncture. He had however worked up to 16th before his early finish.
Rémi Taffin, head of Renault Sport F1 track operations, gives his views on the race weekend:
A big well done to Sebastian and Red Bull today for getting so much closer to the title. We’re really happy to have contributed to this performance and hope that we can wrap up the title in Japan. It was a dominant performance for the driver-chassis-engine package this weekend and it’s a great feeling for Renault engines to be able to win consecutive races at such different types of circuits.
It’s a great feeling for Renault engines to be able to win consecutive races
Monza is of course at the top end of the power spectrum and Singapore a street circuit where driveability through the lower end is key. It’s also been a good weekend for Team Lotus, with the extension of the engine partnership for a further year and the KERS supply from 2012, and they sealed this with a very competitive performance in the race where Heikki was able to race with another Renault-engined car for 16th.
Lotus Renault GP had a more difficult event and we’ll now look at areas we can improve in our operations to help the team return to form in Suzuka. The low speed tracks such as Monaco and Budapest have not shown the potential of the car and we knew we would struggle here as well. However Suzuka is much faster so we should be back to form; Japan is certainly going to be an exciting event for everyone at Renault Sport F1.