Vettel wins in Singapore

Blackpool Citizen: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won the Singapore Grand Prix Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won the Singapore Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel shone in Formula One's night race for the second successive season, but for Lewis Hamilton the lights may have gone out on his championship chances.

Vettel capitalised on Hamilton's retirement with a gearbox problem on lap 23 when comfortably leading the Singapore Grand Prix to take the chequered flag.

The 24-year-old now trails Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 29 points, the Spaniard claiming the 81st podium of his career - only Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost have more - by finishing third behind McLaren's Jenson Button.

This latest win for the reigning world champion ends Vettel's longest winless run of nine races since joining Red Bull in 2009. As team principal Christian Horner pointed out to Vettel after crossing the line: "Well done, you're back in the championship again."

For Hamilton, his recent rollercoaster run now leaves him 52 points behind Alonso, and with his last five races reading - retired, first, retired, first, retired. Following the 27-year-old's win in Italy, back-to-back triumphs appeared on the cards when he grabbed his 24th career pole and then produced a superb start, but his gearbox problem saw the Briton grinding to a halt down an escape road on lap 23.

That promoted Vettel into the lead ahead of Button and Williams' Pastor Maldonado, but the latter was also forced into retirement during the first of the two safety car sessions that followed in quick succession. Narain Karthikeyan sparked the opener, maintaining Singapore's 100% record for safety cars over its five-year run, sliding his HRT into a wall on entry into Anderson Bridge from which there was no recovery.

The safety car pitted after running for five laps, but not for a moment of drama as Button nearly ran into the back of Vettel at one point shortly before the restart.

However, it was not long before safety car driver Bernd Maylander was back on track as for the second successive year at this track, when Michael Schumacher ran into the back of a rival. On this occasion the seven-time champion was late on to the brakes of his Mercedes, hurtling into the rear of Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso.

Once the safety car disappeared, for the leaders the rest of the race was fairly routine, with Vettel finishing 8.9secs clear of Button, with Alonso grinding out another podium.

Behind the trio, Force India's Paul Di Resta grabbed a career-high fourth, followed by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus, the Finn now 45 points adrift in the title race. Team-mate Romain Grosjean was seventh, followed by Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo in his Toro Rosso and Red Bull's Mark Webber, surely out of the title running now as he is 61 points down.

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