Red Bull Racing ace Sebastian Vettel stole a march on his Formula One championship rivals at the weekend with his latest victory at the Singapore Grand Prix.

He was able to close the gap on championship leader Fernando Alonso to second overall, just 29 points off the pace.

Pre-race favourite Lewis Hamilton had set a stunning pole position in qualifying and led from the start, with Vettel making up for a poor third-place qualification to move into second position by the first corner.

All appeared to be going smoothly for McLaren and Hamilton until lap 23, when a gearbox failure caused the McLaren driver to lose all his gears and limp out of the race.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Brit, as his retirement also promoted a number of his championship rivals further up the field, compounding the damage to his championship hopes after his weekend had started so brightly.

Vettel was on hand to pick up the pieces of Hamilton's vehicle failure though, and the German driver – and reigning Formula One world champion – proved once again what a fearsome competitor he is by taking over the lead and holding on to it until the chequered flag.

He finished ahead of Hamilton's McLaren teammate Jenson Button by just over eight seconds.

Following the weekend's exploits, Alonso continues to hold the top spot in the drivers' championship on 194 points, while Red Bull managed to extend their lead over second-placed McLaren in the constructor's standings by seven points to 297 points.

Just six races remain in the 2012 Formula One calendar – Japan, Korea, India, Abu Dhabi, the US and Brazil. The next event will take place in just nine days' time at the famous Suzuka circuit – a 5.8 km technical track that will test the drivers' skills to the limits once more.

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Posted by Mark Thompson

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