Fernando Alonso (ING Renault F1 Team) won Formula One’s first-ever night race by using a super soft-soft-soft tyre strategy at the Marina Bat Street Circuit for the inaugural F1 Singapore Grand Prix. Alonso prevailed in a tension-filled 61-lap race which featured two safety car periods and a number of notable incidents. He started from fifteenth position on the grid, on Bridgestone’s super soft, unlike most of the field, who started on the soft. He was the first driver to pit, shortly before his team-mate Nelson Piquet crashed into the barriers, bringing about the first safety car period, stopping drivers from pitting without penalty until the pits were reopened. Alonso made his second stop on lap 41 and exited still in the lead of the race. A second safety car period was brought about by Adrian Sutil (Force India) hitting the barriers, but Alonso was able to retain his lead on the restart and cross the finish line for his twentieth Grand Prix win.
AT&T Williams driver Nico Rosberg finished in second place, 2.9 seconds behind Alonso, and registered his best-ever Formula One result. He also started the race on the super soft tyre, but pitted whilst the pits were closed, meaning a stop-go penalty had to be served. Despite this, he finished second. Drivers’ championship leader Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) finished third after using a soft-soft-super soft tyre strategy.
Timo Glock (Panasonic Toyota Racing) finished in fourth position, ahead of Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Vettel. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) finished sixth whilst David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing) came home seventh. Kazuki Nakajima (AT&T Williams) finished in eighth position meaning that both Williams cars were in the points for the first time since the season opener at the Australian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) used the soft compound tyre to set the race’s fastest lap, a 1min 45.599secs on lap 14. Raikkonen later exited the race with four laps to go after making contact with the barriers. His team-mate, Felipe Massa, who started from pole, finished in thirteenth position after exiting from his first pit-stop with the fuel hose still attached to his car, and receiving a penalty for this misdemeanour. Leaving Singapore, Hamilton leads the drivers’ championship with 84 points to Massa’s 77. Kubica stays third on 64. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes now lead the constructors’ championship with 135 points from Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s 134. The BMW Sauber F1 Team are third with 120.
Hirohide Hamashima – Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said: “Tonight we saw an exciting race with an unpredictable result played out under the spotlights of Singapore at this fabulous new facility, with a very good job done by the organisers. The track surface was the best we have seen all week and the soft compound worked very well with good consistency. The performance from the super soft was better than we saw earlier in the week and the wear rate and graining were acceptable. Congratulations to Fernando Alonso and the ING Renault F1 Team for their first win of the season and to Nico Rosberg for his best-ever F1 result. Today was a good day for Bridgestone as we contested our first ever Formula One night race and also in Japan Valentino Rossi won the MotoGP race at Motegi and secured the riders’ championship for which we offer our congratulations.”