|Published:||Sep 23, 2012 11:22 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 24, 2012 6:32 AM EDT|
SINGAPORE (AP) - Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel won the Singapore Grand Prix for the second straight year Sunday, jumping up to second place in the Formula One drivers' championship.
Vettel inherited the lead from pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, who led the race until a gearbox failure on lap 22 forced him to drop out. It was Vettel's second win of the season, the first coming at Bahrain.
"We benefited a little bit from Lewis' failure," Vettel said. "We had a very, very strong pace all weekend and a good start, which got us in the hunt."
Hamilton's gearbox was leaking fluid for several laps before he dropped out. As his car came to a halt, team officials told Hamilton over the radio that "we did everything we could yesterday" - suggesting they had gone in knowing there was an issue but were unwilling to take a five-grid-place penalty for changing the gearbox before the race.
Hamilton's teammate, Jenson Button, finished second at Marina Bay ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, whose championship lead was cut from 37 to 29 points with six races to go. The race was stopped when it reached the 2-hour time limit, two laps before its scheduled finish, after the safety car was brought out twice.
"It looks better than before," Vettel said. "It's a tough championship but we are still in it, and looking forward to the next few races, and the goal is to beat Fernando."
Force India's Paul di Resta finished a career-best fourth ahead of Mercedes' Nico Rosberg. Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus was sixth and maintained third place in the championship standings despite not having won a race.
Mercedes' Michael Schumacher dropped out after a heavy crash into the back of Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne.