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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Singapore Grand Prix 2008
Image:courtesy of Daimler AG

Hamilton Finishes Third - Increases Championship Lead

At the first ever Formula 1 night race and the inaugural runnning of the Singapore Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso driving a Renault F1 car took the win on Sunday evening. It was an eventful race where the Safety Car was deployed twice. Finishing second behind Alonso was Nico Rosberg in his Williams Toyota F1 car, which scored an excellent result for the Williams team. Lewis Hamilton brought the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 car in for a third place finish, increasing his lead in the championship points to 84 ahead of Felipe Massa's 77, who did not score in Singapore. Lewis finished the race 5.9 seconds behind the winner Alonso. The race distance was 309.087 km over 61 laps.

At the start of the race, Felipe Massa in the Ferrari held the pole position, with Lewis Hamilton on the front row beside him in second. As the cars raced away from the start, Heikki Kovalainen tried to pass Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber but he touched cars with him and lost two positions. By lap 10, Lewis Hamilton was in second place, 3.3 seconds behind Felipe Massa in the Ferrari. On lap 14, the Safety Car was deployed following an accident by Nelson Piquet in his Renault.

While the Safety Car was out on the track, Hamilton and his team mate Kovalainen came into the pits. After an 11.5 second stationary pit, Lewis Hamilton re-joined the circuit in seventh position and Kovalainen joined the race in 15th after his pit. The Safety car went in on Lap 20 and Lewis held 8th position for the re-start. On lap 27, Robert Kubica in the BMW had a stop-and-go penalty which moved Lewis up into seventh position, and on lap 28 Hamilton passed Mark Webber in the Red Bull Renault, which improved his position to sixth.

By lap 30, Hamilton moved up to fifth position but was stuck behind David Coulthard in the Red Bull Renault. On lap 33, Jarno Trulli (Toyota) took his pit stop which allowed Lewis to move up into fourth position. On lap 40, Nico Rosberg (Williams Toyota) took his second pit stop, and Lewis moved up into third position. On lap 41 Lewis overtook David Coulthard and moved up to second place. By lap 42, Hamilton brought the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in for the second pit stop and was stationary for 7.7 seconds. When he re-joined the track, Hamilton was seventh.

On lap 50, every driver had taken their second pit stop and Lewis Hamilton was in third position. The Safety car was again deployed on lap 51, following an accident by Adrian Sutil in the Force India Ferrari. The race was re-started on lap 54. 

At the finish, on lap 61, Fernando Alonso (Renault) who won the first ever Singapore Grand Prix, followed by Nico Rosberg (Williams Toyota) in second, and Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) close behind in third.

Lewis Hamilton had the following to say about the race, "A positive end to a difficult weekend at this fantastic new venue. I started well but then my rear tires faded, and although we had a good pace, I wasn't in a position to challenge Felipe ahead of me ... this is not a track where overtaking is easy. The first night race in Formula 1 history was great fun, and I now look forward to the forthcoming double-header in Japan and China."

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