Force India's di Resta finishes career-best sixth; Adrian Sutil comes in eighth

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel held off a charging Jenson Button to win the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday and stand one point away from becoming Formula One's youngest double World champion.

The 24-year-old German led from pole to flag and despite a spirited challenge over the final five laps from Button in his McLaren, held on to move 124 points clear of the Briton with just 125 available from the five races remaining.

“You are one point away from achieving the title, brilliant drive,” Red Bull team principal Christain Horner told Vettel over the radio after the reigning champion took the chequered flag under the floodlights.

“Yes, yes, Singapore. We did it,” an emotional Vettel replied, whooping in delight.

The title is now set to be decided in Japan on October 9, unless Vettel fails to score and Button wins that race at Suzuka.

Vettel, who had opened a 22.7-second advantage before a safety car period halfway through the 61 lap race, crossed the line 1.7 seconds ahead of Button with Red Bull team mate Mark Webber a further 27.5 seconds back in third.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished a distant fourth.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton collided with Ferrari's Felipe Massa and collected a drive-through penalty before fighting back to fifth place ahead of Force India's British rookie Paul di Resta in a career-best sixth.

Vettel's victory was his ninth of the season and he only looked threatened when Team Lotus released Heikki Kovalainen into his path as they left the pits from their final stop.

Button closed late on as the leader eased up slightly but once the Briton ran into traffic on the final two laps, Vettel's victory was never in doubt.

The 2009 World champion is now the only man who can prevent Vettel from becoming the ninth driver to win back-to-back titles.

Vettel has 309 points to Button's 185, with Alonso out of contention on 184 and Webber on 182.

Button would need to win all the remaining races and the German, who has not finished lower than fourth all season, would have to fail to score in any of them.

Felipe Massa of Ferrari, who was the victim of a collision with Hamilton in the early stages of an incident-filled contest, finished ninth.

Mexican Sergio Perez, whose collision with Michael Schumacher saw the German eliminated from the race, finished 10th.

It was Vettel's ninth win this season and the 19th of his career. His Singapore triumph in sweltering humidity was heralded by an explosion of dazzling fireworks over the brightly lit cityscape.

Vettel won in one hour, 59 minutes and 6.757 seconds, a time that signalled the longest and most arduous race of the year.

He, Button and Webber stood still, drained and dripping with sweat on the podium at the end.

Vettel, from his 11th pole position, pulled clear with apparent ease to take control early on, leaving the rest to scrap for places in a flurry of action into Turn One, Sheares Corner.

And he hardly looked back from there.

The brilliant German appeared to revel in his supremacy and opened up a comfortable lead as Hamilton, on successive laps, produced perfect passes to climb to sixth ahead of Rosberg and Schumacher.

By lap 11, Vettel was seemingly in cruise control as the rest battled furiously — Webber taking third from Alonso, whose rear tyres were worn severely, Rosberg initiating the pit-stops and followed a lap later by Alonso.

Vettel's lead after 18 laps was more than 10 seconds.

Schumacher collision

He stretched it to 20 seconds by lap 30 when the race was red-flagged for the first time after Schumacher ran into the rear of Perez's Sauber car and made an airborne collision with the barriers.

This brought out the Safety Car and signalled a spate of pit-stops while Schumacher's wrecked Mercedes was lifted clear. The 42-year-old German was unhurt.

The results:

1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) 1hr 59min 06.757sec; 2. Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) +1.737sec; 3. Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) 29.279; 4. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 55.449; 5. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1min 07.766sec; 6. Paul di Resta (Force India-Mercedes) 1:51.067; 7. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1 lap; 8. Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes) 1 lap; 9. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1 lap; 10. Sergio Perez (Sauber-Ferrari) 1 lap; 11. Pastor Maldonado (Williams-Cosworth) 1 lap; 12. Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1 lap; 13. Rubens Barrichello (Williams-Cosworth) 1 lap; 14. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber-Ferrari) 2 laps; 15. Bruno Senna (Lotus-Renault) 2 laps; 16. Heikki Kovalainen (Team Lotus) 2 laps; 17. Vitaly Petrov (Lotus-Renault) 2 laps; 18. Jerome d'Ambrosio (Virgin-Cosworth) 2 laps; 19. Daniel Ricciardo (Hispania-Cosworth) 4 laps; 20. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Hispania-Cosworth) 4 laps; 21. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 5 laps.

Overall standings:

Drivers: 1. Sebastian Vettel 309 pts; 2. Jenson Button 185; 3. Fernando Alonso 184; 4. Mark Webber 182; 5. Lewis Hamilton 168; 6. Felipe Massa 84; 7. Nico Rosberg 62; 8. Michael Schumacher 52; 9. Vitaly Petrov 34; 10. Nick Heidfeld 34; 11. Adrian Sutil 28; 12. Kamui Kobayashi 27; 13. Paul di Resta 20; 14. Jaime Alguersuari 16; 15. Sebastien Buemi 13; 16. Sergio Perez 9; 17. Rubens Barrichello 4; 18. Bruno Senna 2; 19. Pastor Maldonado 1.

Constructors: 1. Red Bull 491 pts; 2. McLaren 353; 3. Ferrari 268; 4. Mercedes GP 114; 5. Lotus-Renault 70; 6. Force India 48; 7. Sauber 36; 8. Toro Rosso 29; 9. Williams F1 5.


Vettel takes pole for F1 Japanese GP October 8, 2011

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