Vettel storms to 3rd S'pore GP victory

Vettel storms to 3rd S'pore GP victory
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany celebrates after winning the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix last night. He is the first three-time winner of Formula One's only full night race.

SINGAPORE - On a starry night at the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, one man glittered above it all.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel became the first three-time winner of Formula One's only full night race on Sunday, with a flawless pole-to-flag drive.

The German had deemed the 23-corner street circuit a "killer", but in the end, it was he who did the killing.

His win virtually snuffed out second-placed Fernando Alonso's slim title hopes, as he stretched his lead in the standings over the Ferrari driver to 60 points, with just six races left.

Vettel's mastery of Marina Bay is borne by how this year's winning margin - 32.627 seconds - over Alonso is not only the biggest in Singapore GP history, but also the biggest in F1 this season. It surpassed the 16.8sec margin the German had over Alonso in Belgium.

Vettel, who finished the race in 1hr 59min 13.132sec, was not the only one who illuminated the flood-lit circuit park last night.

Football superstar David Beckham made a surprise appearance and lent some stardust to the Paddock area while former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was among the guests in the posh Paddock suites.

The action was not confined to the track. Pop star Rihanna rocked the Padang in the event's closing concert to the roar of 65,000, the biggest-ever crowd.

Such is the race's growing reputation that American heart-throb Justin Bieber even asked to be on the programme. He is on the bill tonight, the first time it will have a Monday concert.

It is no wonder that in the first year of its second five-year lap, organisers were able to announce that it had recorded its highest attendance since the maiden 2008 edition.

This year, some 262,527 patrons were able to get a taste of the iconic night race. In 2008, the event attracted 300,000 visitors.

The official tagline of the race, which continues to buck the trend by growing not just in terms of numbers but also stature, is "Nothing else comes close".

Nothing could be better said.

yulin@sph.com.sg


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