Sebastian Vettel of Germany has reasserted his bid to keep his world championship title by winning the Singapore Grand Prix. Vettel advances to second overall. His rival Lewis Hamilton pulled out with a faulty gearbox.
Singapore's incident-packed race also saw Germany's Michael Schumacher exit in a shower of broken vehicle parts in the 39th lap when he rammed team Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne from behind. Both drivers climbed out seemingly uninjured.
Vettel, driving for the Red Bull team, held the lead to finish winner ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button and the season's overall leader, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who has amassed 194 points.
"You're back in this championship - well done," Red Bull's principal Christian Horner told the German over the team radio at the close of Sunday's race.
Although delays shortened the race by two laps to 59, Vettel kept marginally ahead of Button. It was Vettel's second consecutive victory in Singapore and his second win of the season. For the season, he now has 165 points.
Dud gearbox ruins Hamilton's day
The Briton Hamilton had led from pole position until the 22nd lap when the gearbox on his McLaren failed, allowing Vettel to take the lead.
A McLaren engineer told Hamilton on the team radio: "We have a gearbox failure. I'm sorry, we did everything we could yesterday."
Alonso secures another podium
Alonso re-emerged in third position after the slew of pitstops triggered by the first safety car period of the race - triggered when Narain Karthikeyan crashed his HRT in a dangerous position that the marshalls could not access. Vettel, Button and much of the field used that phase to change tires, something Alonso had unfortunately done under green flag conditions shortly before the safety car was deployed.
In the overal drivers' championship standings, Hamilton is fourth, closely trailing Kimi Raikkonen of the Lotus-Renault team in third place.
Schumacher crashes out
Schumacher, driving for Mercedes, described his accident as the race resumed as "unavoidable."
"After the safety car I broke a little early, then the car didn't accelerate and then I just went straight on the brakes and it locked up. I feel sorry for Jean-Eric and his team but we need to find out what happened now," Schumacher said.
Force India's Paul di Resta claimed a creditable fourth spot, his best finish in Formula One.
The next Formula One race is at Japan's fabled figure of eight circuit Suzuka on October 7.
ipj/mkg (dpa, AFP, Reuter)