Alonso profits as Hamilton loses ground in Singapore

BRITAIN’S Lewis Hamilton admits his hopes of claiming a second drivers’ title are slipping away after he lost further ground at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso took the chequered flag at the night race after Hamilton had to retire following a collision with Red Bull’s Mark Webber on lap 36.

Alonso pipped Sebastian Vettel by just 0.3 seconds while his colleague Webber finished third and Hamilton’s McLaren team-mate Jenson Button took fourth. It all means Hamilton is now 20 points behind championship leader Webber with just four races remaining, while Alonso’s victory has lifted him above the Englishman.

“Twenty points is massive, and with four races to go that is a big gap,” he said. “I have to get my head down and hope for something. But the points gap is just a race victory away. It’s not insurmountable.”

Hamilton’s exit came when his and Webber’s cars came together at a corner after the 2008 champion had got his nose in front on the previous straight.

The contact sent the McLaren driver momentarily off-course but the damage to his car was enough to end his race. “I saw Mark made a mistake and got caught by a back marker so I knew I could slipstream him into turn seven and I thought I was enough past him,” Hamilton said.

“After that I’m not really sure what happened. He was in my blind spot, I didn’t see him alongside me, next thing I know is my tyre’s blown and that’s it.”

Hamilton refused to blame Webber for the clash, which stewards investigated but declined to act on, but McLaren principal Martin Whitmarsh made it clear he held the Australian responsible. “We are not here to attack Mark Webber,” Whitmarsh said. “But Lewis was unlucky to come away like he did. Mark was lucky to get away with it.”

1. F Alonso (Ferrari) 1:57:53:579

2. S Vettel (Red Bull) 1:57:53:872

3. M Webber (Red Bull) 1:58:22:720

4. J Button (McLaren) 1:58:23:965

5. N Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:58:42.973

1. M Webber (Red Bull) 202

2. F Alonso (Red Bull) 191

3. L Hamilton (McLaren) 182

4. S Vettel (Red Bull) 181

5. J Button (McLaren) 177