|© AP Photo/Dita Alangkara
For a second, Fernando Alonso was close to being handed a victory at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday after leader Sebastian Vettel and a trailing Jenson Button nearly crashed into each other.
During the first safety car period at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, the Red Bull driver braked at Turn 16 with the McLaren nearly smashing into the German’s car. Button took evasive action and ensured that the two did not make contact.
“Sebastian accelerated and braked for the right-hander and I just didn’t expect that, such a speed difference,” Button said. “So I hit the brakes, locked up and just missed the rear of his car, because that would have been quite embarrassing.”
The incident was investigated after the race but the stewards decided not to take any action against the two drivers.
“I think it was very lucky not to have a big accident,” said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. “(Vettel) weaved, he accelerated and he controlled the pace and as Jenson himself said he braked halfway through the corner. Fairly extraordinary.
“They were both quite lucky. They could have gifted Fernando even more points between them,” he added.
The FIA observed that neither of the drivers indicated “any erratic driving behaviour” after an extensive examination of the telemetry.
“The leader dictates the pace,” stated Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “I was concerned that Jenson nearly drove into the back of Vettel. It was in the middle of the corner and it looked like Jenson misjudged it completely.”
Horner was also confident that his driver was in control of the race and that the defending champion was pacing himself keeping in mind that Button was in the chase.
“It's a bit like a fuel gauge that tells you how far you got to go in your car and the fuel gauge says you got 25 miles and you know you got 30 miles to get the work, you balance and drive accordingly and Sebastian was conscious of making sure that he got tyres at the end of the race,” the Briton explained. “He was keen to know what pace Jenson was doing and we just kept him informed and in the end he was pretty comfortable with it.”