Despite the McLarens seeming stronger, Vettel managed to take pole at Suzuka with Button alongside and Hamilton & Massa on row two. Did it stay that way?
The reality of the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix is not about who wins the race, but whether Sebastian Vettel can grab the single point needed to clinch the 2011 F1 Drivers title.
And from the start he looked like he’d taken a leaf of the Schumacher/Senna book on how to finish off an opponent as he forced Jenson Button off on to the grass as the Brit came powering up his inside from the start.
The normally unflappable Button was straight on the pit radio demanding the stewards act, but it’s rare for the stewards to dish out penalties for a scrap in the mêlée of the start, and so it was in this case.
But Jenson regained his composure and set about giving the Japanese something to shout about in a year the nation would rather forget.
With a Japanese girlfriend, Button has an affinity with Japan, and the Japanese seem to have taken Jenson to heart. He took the race by the scruff of the neck and set about serving up a dish of revenge with a cool and calculated drive that saw him steal some of the thunder from Sebastian Vettel and take his third victory of the season.
Behind him Fernando Alonso made the Ferrari deliver more than it offered for a superb second, and Sebastian Vettel secured third place to take the drivers’ title with four races still to go.
As for Hamilton, he had a race to forget – with the now seemingly compulsory coming together with Massa – to finish a poor fifth.
But the day really belonged to Vettel, becoming the youngest driver in F1 ever to take back-to-back titles. Well done Seb.
Or, as Jenson was heard to say after the race, ‘Bloody Germans’.
Singapore GRAND PRIX 2011 RESULTS
- Jenson Button | McLaren
- Fernando Alonso | Ferrari
- Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull
- Mark Webber | Red Bull
- Lewis Hamilton | McLaren
- Michael Schumacher | Mercedes
- Felipe Massa | Ferrari
- Sergio Perez | Sauber
- Vitaly Petrov | Renault
- Nico Rosberg | Mercedes
Drivers Championship standings after Singapore 2011
- Vettel | 324
- Button | 210
- Alonso | 202
- Webber | 194
- Hamilton | 178