Alonso lights up Singapore

Renault driver springs surprise in Formula One's night debut

Fernando Alonso took his first victory of the season in the floodlit Singapore Grand Prix, Formula One's first night race.
The Renault driver's win was scripted by a combination of his aggressive approach and a flexible two-stop strategy that took advantage when the safety car was deployed after team-mate Nelson Piquet Jnr crashed out on lap 15.

Nico Rosberg finished second, just under three seconds behind in the Williams, while McLaren's Lewis Hamilton took third to extend his lead in the drivers' championship to seven points.
Hamilton's closest rival and pole sitter Felipe Massa led in the early stages before his race was ruined by an incident in the pitlane during while the safety car was out.
Massa was given the green light to leave the pits too early and ended up dragging the fuel hose away with him, knocking some of his Ferrari crew out of the way in the process.

The Brazilian stopped and waited for assistance and, after his mechanics had caught up and struggled to remove the hose, rejoined at the back of the field. He eventually finished out of the points in 13th.
The day very much belonged to Alonso, who started from 15th on the grid after fuel feed problems hampered his qualifying campaign.
The Spaniard, a two-time world champion during his first spell at Renault, endured a difficult single season at McLaren before rejoining the French manufacturers for 2008. The win is the 20th of his Formula One career but first since Monza last year.

Rosberg penalised

Rosberg led the race and BMW's Robert Kubica was fourth after the first round of stops, but both were subsequently penalised with stop-go penalties for pitting under safety car conditions before clearance was given, although they had been forced into those stops due to lack of fuel.
By delaying taking the sanction, Rosberg was able to spend a few laps at the front and then, even after his penalty, emerged only just behind Alonso.

Red Bull's Mark Webber was running in second place, just a second behind Alonso when he lost seventh gear on lap 30, forcing his retirement.
Force India's Adrian Sutil hit a barrier and blocked turn 18 on lap 52, prompting the safety car's second appearance.
That brought the whole field back together to completely negate the 23.5-second lead that Alonso had built.

On the resumption of racing, Alonso once again moved clear at the front and was thereafter untroubled on his way to the chequered flag.
Ferrari's miserable race had been completed when Kimi Raikkonen, who was running fifth at the time, crashed out with just four laps remaining.
The Finn launched from the second kerb on turn 10 and was unable to recover sufficiently before ploughing into the wall.

Toyota's Timo Glock finished fourth, while Sebastian Vettel followed up his Italian Grand Prix victory with a fifth place in his Toro Rosso.
BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld ended sixth, Red Bull's David Coulthard took seventh and Kazuki Nakajima of Williams finished eighth.

01 F. Alonso Renault 1:57:16.304
02 N. Rosberg Williams + 2.957
03 L. Hamilton McLaren + 5.917
04 T. Glock Toyota + 8.155
05 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso + 10.268
06 N. Heidfeld BMW + 11.101
07 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 16.387
08 K. Nakajima Williams + 18.489
09 J. Button Honda + 19.885
10 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 26.902
11 R. Kubica BMW + 27.975
12 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso + 29.432
13 F. Massa Ferrari + 35.170
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 43.571

Did not finish
15 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 4 laps
16 J. Trulli Toyota + 11 laps
17 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 12 laps
18 M. Webber Red Bull + 32 laps
19 R. Barrichello Honda + 46 laps
20 N. Piquet jr. Renault + 47 laps