Toro Rosso

The darkest hour is just before the dawn

2011 Singapore Grand Prix Getty Images

Maybe the fact that Sébastien Buemi finished twelfth and Jaime Alguersuari was classified 21st and last finisher, after parking his TR6 in the wall with five laps to go coloured our judgment, but the Singapore Grand Prix was not much of a race compared to some of the thrilling contests we have witnessed so far this year. Of course, the track looks fantastic under floodlights and the fireworks were spectacular immediately after Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag, but the on-track fireworks were a bit more muted.

It was a tough weekend from start to finish for us, with a lack of pace being the primary problem. Looking to find a positive element of the weekend, we have to find out what others did here. The fact that neither Sergio Perez nor Kamui Kobayashi finished in the points means we are still just six points adrift of the seventh-placed Swiss squad in the Constructors’ Championship. In the early stages, Sébastien lost a lot of time stuck behind Senna in the Renault and the same applied to Jaime, who had Trulli’s slower Lotus ahead of him after he dropped down to 19th at the start. Our Spaniard finally dealt with the Italian, but the Stewards decided to impose a drive-through penalty on Jaime, which we should best describe as a decision that is hard to understand. From then, the extra stop and the inevitable traffic meant his race was compromised completely. At least the final resting place against the barriers did not rob us of any points. Buemi did what he could, finishing two places higher than he started.

Out in front, Sebastian Vettel was never troubled, even if second-placed Jenson Button was closing in on him rapidly towards the end. In the other Red Bull, Mark Webber had to work hard after losing the advantage of a front row grid position, sliding down the order after the start. But the supremacy of the Red Bull car is such that he eventually hauled himself back to finish third. Only another super start saw Fernando Alonso in the last podium position for a while, but the Ferrari was not quick enough to maintain it and the Spaniard came home fourth, so that Button is now second in the championship, doing just enough so that Vettel must wait a bit longer before celebrating the inevitable second title. Another driver who had to work hard was Lewis Hamilton. He dropped down the order after the start and then used his usual aggressive style to muscle his way towards the front again and, just as in Monza, he spent some time fighting off a youthful Michael Schumacher. The giant ferris wheel at the paddock entrance is known as the Singapore Flyer, but that title should really go to Schumacher who launched his Mercedes after hitting Perez, which delivered the only Safety Car period of the race.

The Toro Rosso crew is now working through to morning to get everything packed up and shipped to Japan for the next round at the fantastic Suzuka circuit. It’s a real race track and hopefully Séb and Jaime will have a real race there.
 


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