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F1: Vettel triumphs in Singapore

updated 12:00 PM EDT, Sun September 23, 2012
Sebastian Vettel celebrates after securing victory in Singapore for the second consecutive year.
Sebastian Vettel celebrates after securing victory in Singapore for the second consecutive year.
  • Sebastian Vettel wins Singapore Grand Prix
  • Fernando Alonso leads drivers' championship by 29 points
  • Jenson Button finishes second with Alonso in third
  • Lewis Hamilton forced to retire with gearbox problem

(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel swept to victory at the Singapore Grand Prix to reignite his title challenge.

The Red Bull driver moved to within 29 points of championship leader Fernando Alonso after the Ferrari driver was pipped to second by Jenson Button.

But it was a disastrous day for McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who was forced to retire with a gearbox problem after starting the day on pole position.

Dominant Hamilton claims Singapore pole for McLaren

The setback leaves Hamilton facing an uphill task to chase down Alonso with the British driver 52 points adrift with just 150 remaining.

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It could have been so different for Hamilton, who had looked in control of the race until disaster stuck on lap 23 when his gearbox malfunctioned.

That allowed Vettel to take the lead until the safety car was brought out just a lap later following a crash by Narain Karthikeyan's HRT.

After restarting the race on lap 39, they were again forced to sit behind the safety car following Michael Schumacher's smash into the back of Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne.

With the two-hour time limit coming up, the race looked set to finish two laps short of the scheduled 61 as the drivers finally got the go-ahead to continue racing.

And it was Vettel who crossed the line first after 59-laps to secure his second victory of the season.

"This has been one of toughest races of the year, to be honest," said Vettel, last year's winner in Singapore.

"There are so many bumps, there's no room for mistakes and it just seems to go on forever... I'm just incredibly happy."

Alonso: F1 title race has tipped in Ferrari's favor

Alonso took his points total for the season to 194 after finishing third, while Button continued his impressive run of form with a second placed finish.

Force India's Paul di Resta secured an impressive fourth position ahead of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg and Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen.

Romain Grosjean claimed seventh, finishing ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull's Mark Webber.

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