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Singapore Grand Prix - Race 
28th-Sep-2008 07:40 am
Fortunately DC's forecast of an "incident-packed weekend" haven't come true, although there have been a number of people taking to the escape areas.

The provisional grid, set in yesterday's qualifying is: FM, LH, KR, RK, HK, NH, SV, TG, NR, KN; JT, JB, MW, DC, FA; NP, SB, RB, AS, GF.

My race notes are behind this cut as always...

Change to the provisional grid: Heidfeld has been handed a three-place grid penalty for obstructing Barrichello as he entered the pits during Q1, so he's now P9, between NR and KN.

GF (P20) will start from the pit lane after some post-qualifying repairs to his Force India car.

Just 2 mins to the start; air temp 28°C, track 31°C, wind 1.0m/s, humidity 78%

FM leads away the drivers on the first ever F1 night race

Remember LH leads FM by just 1 championship point

The front runners are all on the prime (soft) tyre; FA is on the option (super-soft) - looks like FA may be the only one to go with the super-softs

The grid forms up...

01/61: everyone's safely through Turn 1
FM starting to pull away from LH already - a lighter fuel load?
HK pases TG for P6 but can't keep the position

02: FM, LH, KR, RK, SV, TG, HK, NH
FA has already moved from P15 to P12 and he's pushing KN for P11
JT (P9) has a train of cars behind him - probably a heavier fuel load

03: FM sets fastest lap 1:47.658
LH f/lap 1:47.656
Replay shows RK and KR making contact in the first lap
FM fastest in Sector 1 and S2

04: FM f/lap 1:46.539
NR makes a move on JT but overcooks it and cuts the chicane - slows to let JT pass
Pit-car for NR and KN tell their drivers to pass JT because of his heavier fuel load

05/61: NR tries again in Turn 1 but can't make it stick

06: FM f/lap 1:46.342
LH 2.6secs behind FM and 5.3s ahead of KR in the other Ferrari
JT is about 5secs off the pace, which is frustrating the long queue of drivers behind him
Debris on the circuit - a brake duct or piece of front wing? - local yellow flags

07: NR finally makes the pass on JT stick, taking away P9 - now it's KN's turn to attack JT

08: NR is 3secs quicker than he was when he was behind JT
KN has passed JT too

09: Replay shows FM has picked up some debris but it doesn't appear to have affected his lap time
FA makes a nice move on JT and pushes the Toyota down to P12

10/61: FM, LH, KR, RK, SV, TG, HK, NH
KR f/lap 1:46.115
Gaps: FM - 3.0s - LH - 4.3s - KR - 6.2s - RK

11: KR f/lap 1:46.105

12: KR f/lap 1:45.764 - will he be the first to pit?
FM fastest in S1
KR fastest in S2

13: KR is closing on LH, and he's falling back from FM
FA pits - 9.6s stop - that's a lot of fuel - soft (prime) tyres - rejoins in P20

14: FM f/lap 1:45.757
LH almost 0.5s slower than FM
SB misses the corner and takes to the escape road

15: FM, LH, KR, RK, SV, TG, HK, NH
KR f/lap 1:45.599
Gaps: FM - 4.3s - LH - 2.2s - KR - 12.0 - RK
Big crash for NP - the Renault is a mess!
NP on the radio to his pit, apologising
Some of the midfield dive for the pits
Safety car deployed

16[SC]: NP gets himself out of the car and runs across the circuit - not a marshal in sight - good thing he's OK and there's no fire! That's disgusting - there should be a massive penalty for the circuit for something that's critical for everyone's safety!
NR pits even though the pit lane is closed - he'll get a penalty
McLaren getting ready - which of their drivers will be penalised?
RB stops on track

17[SC]: RK pits, so he'll be penalised too - should be a 10sec stop-go penalty
Obviously those pitting for fuel didn't have any choice
FIA timing shows FM and LH stopped in Sector 1 but that's clearly not right
Pit lane now open

18[SC]: The FIA timing turns red as everyone enters the pits
FM leaves the box with the fuel rig still attached, taking out a mechanic too!
FM finally pulls off the pit lane, with the fuel filler and hose still attached
Replay shows FM was released into the path of AS - surely Ferrari have got to be penalised for an unsafe release? Oh no, I forgot - it's Ferrari :(
Replay shows Ferrari's electronic "lollipop" was green, so either it failed or the refueller hit the "ready" button way too soon

19[SC]: FM is down to P18
SC in at the end of this lap
NR leads but he'll get a stop-go penalty for pitting while the pit lane was closed

20: NR, JT, GF, RK, FA, MW, DC, LH - wow, really mixed up - JT and GF have yet to pit though
LH=P8, HK=P14, KR=P16, FM=P18

21: Replay shows FM run wide in the last turn

22: ITV-F1 with Ferrari - the mechanic is being taken to the medical centre
"Incident involving car 2 under investigation" - that's FM
No mention of penalties for NR and RK

23: No change at the front of the field
KR passes AS for P15
"Incident involving cars 4 and 7 under investigation" - that's NR and RK

24: ITV-F1 with NP - car touching the floor more than expected
"Drive through penalty for car 2 for unsafe release" - only a drive through? Of course, with him running absolute last, it's not going to make any difference so it's not really a penalty

25/61: NR, JT, GF, RK, FA, MW, DC, LH; retirements: RB, NP
FM serves his drive-through penalty
NR & RK given a 10sec stop-go penalty for pitting when the pit lane was closed, as expected

27: Neither NR or RK pit so they'll have to serve their penalty in the next 2 laps - it has to be served within 3 laps

28: RK serves his penalty
MW runs wide in T2 and drops right down

29: NR serves his penalty
MW now P14
ITV-F1 report MW has a mechanical problem

30/61: JT, FA, NR, DC, LH, TG, SV, NH
GF pits from P2 - that's his first stop - 13.1s stop - looks like a 1-stop strategy
MW pits - pushed into the garage and retires

31: FM lets RK past to take away P15

32: FM pits - manages to complete his pit stop and leave the box without incident - 7.3s stop - he might be fueled to the end but it's hard to know how much fuel was delivered in the first stop

33: JT has a 10.8s lead over FA but JT has yet to pit - presumably they both have to stop once, so that lead isn't going to disappear

34: JT pits from P1 - 9.9s stop - super-soft tyres - he rejoins ahead of KN
SB and RK pit too

35/61: FA, NR, DC, LH, TG, SV, NH, JT
HK pits from P12 - 8.4s - prime tyres

36: JB pits from P11
LH is still hounding DC for P3

37: Gaps: FA - 6.2s - NR - 9.6s - DC - 0.6s - LH - 3.6s - TG
KN locks up as he dives down the inside of JT into Turn 7

38: KR (P10) is on the tail of JT; HK (P13) is trying to catch JB; FM (P16) is closing on RK

39: KR puts a fairly easy pass on JT to take P9
LH still staring at DC's gearbox

40/61: FA, NR, DC, LH, TG, SV, NH, KN; retirements: MW, RB, NP
AS pits from P11 - he'll be pleased to see the Ferrari box is empty and he can drive past safely

41: NR pits from P2 - 8.7s - super-soft tyres - rejoins in P7
Renault mechanics getting ready for FA

42: FA pits from P1 - 7.6s - soft (prime) tyres - rejoins just ahead of DC and LH
LH makes a really nice move on DC - eases down the inside in Turn 7 - takes P3 - a good clean pass
LH now right on the tail of FA but LH has to pit again whereas FA is done

43: LH pits followed by DC
DC starts to move too soon - moves a couple of feet - takes down a mechanic but looks like he escaped damaging the Red Bull

44: SV and NH pit from P3 + P4 respectively
LH goes fastest in S2 - he's really fired up now

45/61: FA, TG, NR, KR, LH, JT, SV, NH ... but there are still some to make their final pit stop (e.g. TG, KR)

46: FM runs off across the chicane - he's fighting with GF for P14

47: TG pits from P2 - 6.1s stop

48: Gaps: FA - 16.3s - NR - 1.4s - KR - 7.9s - LH - 7.1s - TG
Pit-car from DC says he's losing the brakes!

50/61: FA, NR, KR*, LH, TG, JT, SV, NH - *KR still has to pit once more, doesn't he?
JT slowing?

51: KR pits from P3 - 6.6s
FM rejoins the track right in front of AS (Turn 18) - AS hits the barriers - yet again, no sign of marshalls! :(
Safety car deployed
JT pits - stuck in 4th gear - retires

52[SC]: Replay shows FM rejoining the track right in front of AS - will the stewards investigate? I doubt it
FA's lead is gone now everyone closes up behind the SC
ITV-F1 with MW - lost 7th and 5th gears
Stewards annouce: "kerb damaged at Turn 7"

53[SC]: SC in at the end of this lap
FA backing up the pack as he takes over the lead from the SC

54: FA sprints away as NR holds up LH
KN passes DC for P8 but DC takes it back

55/61: FA, NR, LH, TG, KR, SV, NH, DC; retirements: JT, AS, MW, RB, NP
KN pushing DC hard - hopefully he won't do anything silly
Will LH try to pass NR and risk 6 points? FM isn't scoring so should he play it safe?

56: FA already has a 6.1s lead over NR, 2 laps after the SC pulled off

57: FA maintaining a 6sec lead - this could be his first victory in a year
It's going to be close but they should finish all 61 laps (just) within the 2 hour time limit

58: KR clipped the kerb in Turn 10 and stuffs the Ferrari in the wall!
With FM down in P13, that's a big fat zero points for Ferrari, which (assuming both McLarens finish where they are now) means McLaren will take the lead in the Constructors' Championship
KR's car is safely off track so no need for the SC

59: LH seems to be holding station behind NR

60/61: FA, NR, LH, TG, SV, NH, DC, KN; retirements: KR, JT, AS, MW, RB, NP

Final lap: Looks like FA will take the win - the Renault still looks strong

FA takes the chequered flag
NR over the line for P2
LH takes P3 and extends his lead in the Drivers' Championship
P4=TG, 5=SV, 6=NH, 7=DC, 8=KN
P9=JB, 10=HK, 11=RK, 12=SB, 13=FM, 14=GF

A very interesting race, but the circuit should suffer a massive penalty for the complete lack of marshalls - never mind fining drivers for being late to a press conference, the circuit failed to ensure the drivers (and spectators) safety. Disgraceful!

Next race: Japan, October 10-12th at some unearthly time of the morning :)
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