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Formula One Singapore GP: When the lights go out

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Jennie Gow | 15:35 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Lying on the floor of an A380 wasn't exactly the way I imagined spending a large proportion of my flight to Singapore, but then sometimes life throws up a few bumps along the way.

I don't really know why I fainted on my way to the Orient but the airline staff who looked after me were amazing. The F1 fraternity who helped me recover were also amazing. A special thank you to Chris Buncombe who was there to see me fall like a tree, apparently, at the back of our plane and had the ominous task of waking producer Jason to tell him there was a little commotion.

The good news is that I'm feeling much better now. Thanks to all those who sent me messages and generally looked out for me. However, I wasn't the only one to have a bumpy weekend as the lights went out and we went racing in the darkness of the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Bruno Senna just couldn't keep his car on the course and consistently kissed the wall at turn 21. His weekend was a complete write-off and at this time of the year, that is definitely not what you want.

Left then right suspension, a new front wing and a five-place grid penalty for having to replace his gearbox in his final crash in qualifying. After losing KERS on lap 16 and an immense tussle with Felipe Massa, his car slowed and came to a halt on the final lap suffering from a loss of power - a costly weekend.

Michael Schumacher, Mark Webber, Kamui Kobayashi, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button all had an appointment in front of the stewards. The wrap sheet was pretty long and us journos were kept waiting for a healthy time as they decided what punishments to dole out.

Schumacher, Grojean

The biggest offender had to be Schumacher. What caused the seven times world champion to mount the back of Jean-Eric Vergne's car at the end of the safety car period I do not know.

Maybe at 43 his eyes aren't quite what they used to be? Maybe he is more easily distracted than he used to be? Whatever the reason for his shunt with Vergne (which, at T14 was the same corner and the same mistake he made with Perez last year) it was not a good weekend for the German and he will go into the Japan Grand Prix with a ten place grid penalty. Some in the paddock think he got off lightly considering the ban Romain Grosjean received after his crash in Spa.

Mark Webber had another bad weekend, picking up a 20 second race time penalty after his tangle with the Sauber of Kobayashi, which dropped him out of the points.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton could well have dropped out of the championship race after his gearbox gave up the ghost as he was 'coasting' to his fourth win of the season. There was nothing he could do as his McLaren became the first retirement of the race. He is now 52 points behind leader Fernando Alonso.

There were some good weekends to be had - Sebastian Vettel got away with his brake test behind the safety car, firstly Button managed not to smash into the back of him, and secondly the stewards decided no punishment should be given to the German.

He was sailing a little close to the wind but a win is a win and his second win of the season is definitely something for him to celebrate. After the race Vettel dedicated his win to the late Sid Watkins - a really nice touch for 'The Prof' who passed away last week.

Sebastian Vettel

In 2010, after the Singapore Grand Prix Sebastian Vettel was 21 points off the lead in fourth place, leaving the German with it all to do and still he managed to get his hands on the title. 29 points separate him from leader Alonso and the crown - only a mad man would write him off now.

Which brings us nicely on to Driver of the Day. There are two nominees for this; Felipe Massa and Paul di Resta. Massa was masterful and aggressive and did very well to save both his car and that of Bruno Senna, as he careered under the bridge almost wiping them both out. It was nice to see some fire in the belly of the man from Brazil, but is it too little too late for a seat next year?

Personally though, my driver of the day was di Resta (and his team). They took a car that didn't seem to suit the Singapore track on Friday, stripped it back and began the whole process again. This resulted in a fantastic qualifying for Paul, equaling his best ever grid position of sixth.

After the race he said without the second safety car there was a chance he could have finished on the podium, but fourth is a great step forward, especially ahead of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg (the Force India car powered by the Merc engine).

Paul clearly has intentions of driving for a championship winning team and he showcased this weekend that he is ready for that step. Whether a seat will be there for him in 2013 is still a doubt, although my hunch is that he will step in the car of Michael Schumacher and stay with Mercedes - the team he won DTM with and the team powering his current car.

Talking about driver movements (as we have to at this time of year) my analogy of the paddock being a little like the back yards of a small market town, tittle-tattle being discussed over fences and while hanging washing up, doesn't seem too far off the mark.

Everyone has an opinion but I don't think the guessing games will have to go on much longer. Maybe only until the middle of this week when the Paris Motor Show takes place. Will this be the day that we finally find out what Lewis Hamilton will be doing for 2013?

For what it's worth, I think he will be staying at McLaren - but what do I know?

Timo Glock

Before we head to the first of three back-to-back fly away races my final word has to go to Marussia and Timo Glock. What a fantastic result for them at Singapore - 12th place to many would be a failure but to a new team, like Marussia, Caterham and HRT, it is dreamland - the stuff futures are made of.

So Japan and Korea await us next and maybe a driver announcement or two as well.

Remember you can get in touch on Facebook Jennie Gow-presenter or on twitter @jenniegow.

Finally congratulations to Dave Smithson who correctly predicted the first three across the line in Singapore - the first right answer from three races! A prize will be winging itself to you shortly.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    So Schumacher crashed either because of 'poor eyesight' or 'being easily distracted'. Valuable insight.....

  • Comment number 3.

    simplistic rubbish.

  • Comment number 4.

    apparently you're not allowed to say anything negative about a BBC employee, so -
    fantastic coverage, indespensible insight, unique contribution!

  • Comment number 5.

    I saw some link to early posts on F1, I see Jennie Gow has one really big fan. Congratulations to Jennie. Now all is clear.

  • Comment number 6.

    LOTL; sorry lover, but that is puerile and supremely uninteresting.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm sorry I must have missed your point, am I not allowed to support a BBC presenter on these forums, or do I have to be negative for the sake of it?. If you posted genuine criticism that's one thing, but uninformed negativity for the sake of it each week, is a bug bear, not just on this forum but numerous others where I feel support of someone is warranted, and do so, and you can repost my support on those too if you like. There are some people who post things in the hope that itll change something which is fine, then there are those who write things thinking they're being clever, but they usually end up being " hilarious" teenage boys of 14, who have nothing better to do and can say what they do because it's anonymous, and one would assume none of you are teenage boys?. If I could tell you to bore off face to face and just not bother leaving comments and/or reading these blogs then I would, instead I have to join in and try and voice my opinion to those who are just interested in leaving "witticisms" and vitriol as opposed to a well constructed POV which I'd listen to in any walk of life. It's obvious you'll carry on doing what you're doing, but just think how you'd feel if everything you did at work was met with the same derisory comments. Each to their own opinion, but in my own, sometimes they're best left unwritten.

  • Comment number 8.

    Fantastic post LOTL, being rude comes naturally to some people.

  • Comment number 9.

    You know, I would really like a proper report on F1 preparations and cut the personal chat. If she can do that, it would be fine, but I think Jennie's style is too lite and for that I apologise if you think I am wrong. As she was about Hamilton, by the way. Just my point of view, LOTL takes it all too personally. I do not feel my posts are always negative by any means, and to make sure I have gone back through them to pre-Olympics, and I don't feel that criticism holds up in my case.

  • Comment number 10.

    Carrie, if most of your posts were like the last one you've just written, i genuinely wouldn't mind, at least it's going some way to explain what it is you dislike about the blog post. As with any job, if you don't critique someone then they can never improve, so giving your feedback or what you'd prefer to read, will i'm sure be taken on. But without wanting to regurgitate your previous comments i'm referring to, one such as the below do nothing for anyone, and these are the type i'm talking about....

    "Allow me to be first to comment on this piece.
    No comment."

    In this case not stinging, but why do you need to post that, why not say what you want improved, that's all i'm saying?
    I hasten to add though that i and countless others regularly enjoy five live F1 coverage, and subsequent blog posts, so don't feel the need to change it, ultimately as with any tv/radio personality, you're never going to please everyone.

  • Comment number 11.

    Tuesday 2nd October....... Yet ANOTHER sports based phone-in. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the BBC are giving up their remit to discuss news and focusing on sports items.

  • Comment number 12.

    I have it on good authority that the BBC Trust recently secretly changed the wording on the 5live broadcasting remit from 75% news and 25% Sport to 90% Sport and 10% news so as to try and keep up and outdo their rivals on Talksport.Its all very competitive you know in the glorious world of the meedja.The listeners have no say and any criticism of this policy is extremely unwelcome and frowned upon.We must only say nice things about 5live now and stop being negative.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    @ msg 12 - If 5live ever reach the depths of Talksport then it will be a disgrace. Blokey men all talking rubbish for 90% of the time - Oh hang on........

  • Comment number 15.

    No news is good news, here on solely-sport radio. And if you want to be mod-ed, cut-off or ignored, mention the NHS reform bill ( see Guardian & elsewhere) or criticize a Tory policy....
    But, seriously, to stay on track! The Singapore thingy race was one of the best since the last one in what's-its-name.

  • Comment number 16.

    I just switched on 5 live... I had forgotten the time and what were they talking about ruddy Ryder Cup golf again. How much more can they find to say about it???


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