Vettel chasing third consecutive win in Singapore

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Sebastian Vettel is keen on clinching a third consecutive win at the Singapore Grand Prix next weekend, aiding him en route to his fourth world championship that is looking all-the-more likely.

The German driver currently leads Fernando Alonso by fifty-three points in the drivers’ standings heading into the final seven races of the season, having only hit his top form at this point last year. If Vettel could take a third straight win in Singapore this weekend (winning the race in 2011 and 2012), it would crush any hopes the chasing pack had of stopping him from taking a fourth title in a row this season.

“My wins in 2011 and 2012 were the best [memories of the race] because I think it’s one of the toughest races of the year to be honest, so to win is an amazing moment and you feel you deserve the champagne!” Vettel said in Red Bull’s race preview.

Like many drivers, Vettel has spoken about the physical challenge of the race, making it one of the toughest on the calendar.

“It’s a very long race; the full two hours so the race just seems to go on forever. The circuit itself is a killer because there are so many bumps, there’s no room for mistakes.”

With a fifty-three point lead, it would take a remarkable turnaround for Vettel to lose the championship from this position. However, Red Bull are refusing to become complacent, insisting that so long as their rivals stand a mathematical chance they will continue to push and develop the RB9.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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