Fernando Alonso emphasized his stature as Singapore’s Prince of Darkness, winning Formula One’s only night-time Grand Prix for the second time in three years and creeping closer to head of the pack Mark Webber in the F1 championship standings.
The Spaniard commandeered his Ferrari to the chequered flag in grueling conditions on the twisty street circuit to edge out the charging Red Bull team of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
The win allowed Alonso to move up past last year’s winner Lewis Hamilton – who retired during the race after a collision with Webber – into second place with 191 points in the Drivers’ Championship, just 11 points behind leader Webber with 202.
Vettel sits one point further back and world champion Jenson Button, who finished fourth, rounds up the top five on 177 points. A mere 25 points, the amount awarded for a victory, separates the top five.
Within seconds of taking the chequered flag, Alonso was cranking up the psychological warfare with just four races remaining in the 2010 season.
“It really was tough. With the safety car problems and the people we were lapping, especially at the end, it was difficult,” Alonso told reporters.
“We know how difficult it is to overtake here so I was just not taking any risks.”
“We are in a sport where you cannot be 100 percent fit and focused for all the races, all the months – so we go up and down,” the Spaniard said. “We can say that now, at this point, I am at a peak, 100 percent motivated. It is good to be at this point now.
“This year it feels for me the championship has just started so I am very happy.
“It seems we can be competitive on any track. So let’s see in the remaining races. And ‘Forza Ferrari’.”
Prior to the race Alonso had rated his chances of winning the championship as ’50-50′. “I can win, or I cannot win,” he smiled enigmatically, before revisiting the theme with yet more statistics.
“We are five drivers,” he said, referring to the two he shared Sunday’s podium with plus McLaren pair Hamilton and Jenson Button.
“Around 20 percent chance all of us. Maybe Mark a little bit in front, because he is leading.
“It remains very tight. Mark is still first with some margin, so… for the others we need to keep catching. For sure we will do our best — we don’t know if it will be enough. We hope so but people can be sure we will fight 100 percent to the end.”
Alonso’s positive disposition betrayed the twice champion’s diplomacy and with a glint he added: “Anything can happen in these four races. Any of us can win two or three consecutive races.
“Or you have two or three retirements and you are off the championship. It will depend all on these four races. Hopefully with no mistakes, high concentration, we keep momentum in Japan.”
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