SINGAPORE GP – Hamilton opens championship the gap after a dominant drive to victory

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton has taken a brilliant win and opened the gap in the championship after taking his fourth win of his career at the Singapore Grand Prix. The four times champion appeared to have the race under his control from the very start.

The Englishman now is in a controlling position in the championship, after his championship rival Sebastian Vettel has added ten points to his deficit. Ferrari were expected to beat Mercedes this weekend, but as in recent races poor strategy calls and qualifying saw him lose out and finish third, behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Verstappen drove and excellent race to get in between the two four times champions early on, allowing Hamilton to build a twenty five second lead after Red Bull brought the Dutchman play after Vettel’s stop.

Ferrari made a mistake by switching the German at his first stop to the Ultrasoft early on, and ran the rest of the race on the less durable tyre. While Hamilton was able to pit a lap later in the race and was able to one stop the race by going to the more durable soft tyres.

Vettel’s race was hindered also by the Force India of Sergio Perez, helping Verstappen to close the gap to the German. Also Ferrari are once again facing questions about their performance, Vettel had a less than perfect practice and qualifying.

Hamilton said “The team have just never given up faith in me, Valtteri, and our ability. It felt like the longest race of my life. Max put up a great fight as well – but what a day, what a weekend.”

Vettel added “Overall we were not fast enough, we didn’t have the pace in the race. We tried to be aggressive in the beginning and obviously it didn’t work out. Pitting was no option so we just focused on making it home.”

The race will not be a classic, but the race was a good one of Mercedes looked in control as the gaps were carefully managed by Hamilton. That gives him a boost once he had fended off Verstappen.

The race started badly for Force India, as they fought into the first few corners both Perez and Esteban Ocon collided in between Turn Two and Three. Perez has admitted he didn’t give his teammate enough space causing the safety car.

That proved costly for Vettel as he was brought in early, and then being caught behind Perez. The Ferrari driver immediately questioned the decision, saying: “There is no chance. We are again too late. The tyres will not make it to the end.”

Later in the race, the Mexican had contact with the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin. They were fighting around the midway point after Perez got stuck behind the slow moving Russian, when they made contact as Perez tried to pass him. That meant that both cars were unable to score points.

The stewards decided that Perez veered into the side of the track before ramming into the side of the Williams, which earned him a drive through penalty.

Valtteri Bottas held off fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen of for fourth, as the Finn’s stayed ahead of the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo who tried an alternative strategy. However, the Australian failed to maximise the strategy in the closing stages.

Fernando Alonso was seventh, the McLaren driver having free tyre choice starting outside the top ten. The Spaniard used the fresh Ultrasofts to undercut Carlos Sainz for the position, which he held when he made his stop.

Alonso has delivered a much needed boost for McLaren after a turbulent summer both on and off track.

Sauber’s Charles Leclerc used a similar strategy to come through from thirteenth to finish ninth. While Renaults Nico Hulkenberg put in a solid recovery drive to score the final point.

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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