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STUNNING START FOR SINGAPORE
Singapore, 29 September 2008 - Comes the hour, comes the man – and double World Champion Fernando Alonso is the man who has stamped his name in the history books with victory for Renault in the 2008 FORMULA ONE™ Singtel Singapore Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old Spaniard, title-winner in 2005 and 2006, claimed his first victory of 2008 in a stunning, incident-packed 61-lap race that thrilled a sell-out crowd of 100,000 at the Marina Bay street circuit.
Alonso came from a lowly 15th on the grid to record his 20th career victory. "We were unlucky yesterday, very, very lucky today," he said after a race which saw Ferrari fail to score a point and McLaren-Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton extend his World Championship lead to seven points after finishing in third place.
"After qualifying our hopes were completely gone," added Alonso, "but again today shows F1 is unpredictable on Sunday. I had my fingers crossed all through the last lap! It was a great weekend for Formula One. We all had great challenges in front of us - and we will all be part of history."
German driver Nico Rosberg's part in that history was his best-ever result in second place for Williams-Toyota. A third of the way through, Rosberg briefly led the race: "It's a very nice view to have 'P1'on the pit board!" said the 23-year-old whose father Keke – World Champion with Williams in 1982 – was here to watch.
As the event drew praise from F1 insiders and visitors alike, Singapore Grand Prix Executive Director Michael Roche was quick to acknowledge the many people who contributed to its success.
"This was a momentous occasion for Singapore," said Mr Roche. "It has worked for years to have all the attributes of a great city, then it suddenly had the opportunity to put on a massive sporting event like F1."
"Singapore has never had a project like this, one that brought so many people together from all disciplines and trades and from so many different backgrounds. When you talk about Formula 1, it's all about team - and the Singapore Grand Prix team, in the widest sense, has done a magnificent job.
"It was a remarkable fusion of public agencies and private enterprise, notably the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Singapore Tourism Board, and all of the government bodies whose input was crucial to the event."
"We had a crazy time-line, we had so many issues when it came to planting this event in the middle of a high-octane, vibrant, living city - I think the whole town should enjoy this moment."