Vettel storms to Singapore win, title on ice

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel held off a charging Jenson Button to win the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday and stand one point away from becoming Formula One’s youngest double world champion.

The 24-year-old German led from pole to flag and despite a spirited challenge over the final five laps from Button in his McLaren, held on to move 124 points clear of the Briton with just 125 available from the five races remaining.

“You are one point away from achieving the title, brilliant drive,” Red Bull team principal Christain Horner told Vettel over the radio after the reigning champion took the chequered flag under the flood lights.

“Yes, yes, Singapore. We did it, ” an emotional Vettel replied, whooping in delight.

The title is now set to be decided in Japan on October 9, unless Vettel fails to score and Button wins that race at Suzuka.

Vettel, who had opened a 22.7-second advantage before a safety car period halfway through the 61 lap race, crossed the line 1.7 seconds ahead of Button with Red Bull team mate Mark Webber a further 27.5 seconds back in third.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished a distant fourth.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton collided with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and collected a drive-through penalty before fighting back to fifth place ahead of Force India’s British rookie Paul Di Resta in a career best sixth.

Vettel’s victory was his ninth of the season and he only looked threatened when Team Lotus released Heikki Kovalainen into his path as they left the pits from their final stop.

Button closed late on as the leader eased up slightly but once the Briton ran into traffic on the final two laps, Vettel’s victory was never in doubt.

The 2009 world champion is now the only man who can prevent Vettel from becoming the ninth driver to win back-to-back titles.

Vettel has 309 points to Button’s 185, with Alonso out of contention on 184 and Webber on 182.

Button would need to win all the remaining races and the German, who has not finished lower than fourth all season, would have to fail to score in any of them. — Reuters

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