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Hamilton clinches second win of season in Singapore


Latest update : 2009-09-28

World champion Lewis Hamilton dominated Sunday's Singapore GP from start to end, to win his second race this season. Championship leader Jenson Button finished fifth.

AFP - Lewis Hamilton produced a masterful drive to win Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix ahead of Timo Glock and Fernando Alonso as Jenson Button got more points on the board to shore up his championship lead.

Starting from first on the grid, Hamilton led from start to finish in difficult driving conditions to take the chequered flag in his McLaren, 9.6  seconds ahead of the Toyota.

It was his second win of the season after Hungary and the 11th of his career.

"It was a very, very tough race, I think I can speak for all of us in saying the conditions made it hard," said Hamilton, referring to the humidity and bumpy street circuit -- as well as racing under lights.

"But generally, the race was straightforward for me. I got a good start and managed to bridge a big enough gap. I was never really under serious pressure.

"I felt it was a nicely controlled race. A great weekend."

Spain's Alonso, who won here last year in controversial circumstances when Nelson Piquet junior deliberately crashed, brought some cheer to Renault with a hard-fought third to make the podium again.

"It's a fantastic result for us, the first podium of the season," he said.

"We've been a bit unlucky this season but finally a podium and in this moment, particularly with what has happened."

"I dedicate this podium to Flavio (Briatore) at home because he has been behind it," he added, alluding to last year's crash controversy and its damaging fall-out with the former Renault boss handed a life ban.

It was also Glock's best finish of the year, and he was ecstatic.

"I just pushed as hard as possible. There have been a lot of ups and downs over the weekend but just got better and better."

Germany's Sebastien Vettel took fourth but it could have been much better.

The Red Bull driver was second and in a close-fought battle with Hamilton, but after pitting for a second time on lap 39 exited too quickly and incurred a drive-through penalty.

At least he finished one place ahead of championship leader Button, but with just three races left the gap between the two is 25 points and Vettel's chances of catching the Briton are disappearing.

Button now has 84 points with his Brawn GP team-mate Rubens Barrichello 15 behind after ending sixth here.

The Brawn pair now look certain to deliver the constructors' championship to their eponymous team-chief Ross Brawn in the outfit's first season, with one of them being crowned world champion.

Heikki Kovalainen in the second McLaren finished seventh and BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica was eighth.

The front row of the grid was always going to be decisive on the uneven Marina Bay street circuit, where overtaking is difficult, and Hamilton made the most of starting on pole.

Driving with aplomb and assurance on a track that demands precision, nerve, and confidence, he came through the opening corner scramble in prime position.

Nico Rosberg got past Vettel to be in second and Alonso had a storming start, powering to fourth from fifth.

But by the end of the first lap, the Spaniard was down to sixth with Mark Webber and Glock getting past him.

Webber was subsequently asked by his team to move aside and let Glock and Alonso back past him as his overtaking move on that opening lap was deemed to be illegal as he marginally left the track.

Hamilton and Rosberg were trading fastest times but by lap 10 the Briton was 2.2 seconds clear and over 10 seconds ahead of fourth-placed Glock.

Vettel was the first to pit from third on lap 17, followed by Rosberg and Hamilton four laps later. It was bad re-entry by Rosberg, who clumsily bounced over a painted line on his exit and was handed a drive-through penalty.

Just minutes later and Force India's Adrian Sutil spun and then slammed into Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber as he attempted to get going again, leaving the track littered with debris and forcing the safety car out.

When they resumed, Hamilton only had a 0.5 second lead ahead of Rosberg.

When Rosberg went in to serve his penalty the top 13 all moved up a place with the German dropping down to 14th.

It set the scene for a dramatic second half of the race. Hamilton and Vettel pulled away from the pack and it looked like an exciting finish.

But Vettel pitted again on lap 39 and pushed too hard coming out, ruining his night.

Hamilton made no such mistake to cruise to a well-deserved victory.

Date created : 2009-09-27