Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead at the top of the championship after taking a commanding victory from fifth to win the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver took control of the race following a first corner collision which took both Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen out of the race. The win will be a surprise for Mercedes after the team struggled to match the Red Bull’s and Ferrari’s in qualifying.
Hamilton said “Yesterday we struggled and had no idea what was going to happen today. It was very fortunate with the Ferraris at the beginning. I’m really thankful.
“God blessed me today for sure. I capitalised on the incident. Who would’ve known that would happy. It’s really unfortunate for Ferrari but great for the team.”
Vettel’s hopes of retaking the lead of the championship ended just moments into the race after his teammate Kimi Raikkonen made a mega start.
Speaking to BBC News Vettel said “I didn’t see that much. I saw Max and then the next thing I see is Max and Kimi hitting me somewhere. It doesn’t change much. Obviously we are not in the race and can’t show the pace we have.”
Verstappen said: “I think mainly Sebastian started squeezing me. Maybe he did not see Kimi on the left but that is not an excuse. He shouldn’t take those risks.
“Lewis is leading the race and the three of us are out. I don’t think it was a racing incident. Three cars were taken out and I was in the middle not doing anything wrong. We will see what happens.”
Raikkonen said: “I don’t know, there is always different views and I could not do anything to avoid it.”
Raikkonen got alongside the German who defended him off as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen made contact with his rear, sending him spinning into Vettel, taking all three out of the race.
It was the first time since the formation of the championship in 1950, that both Ferrari’s have retired on the opening lap of a Grand Prix.
Hamilton looked unstoppable after being gifted the win staying ahead to take a sixtieth career win extending his lead over Vettel to more than a race victory and gives Mercedes a ninth two points over Ferrari in the constructors.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished Second and Mercedes Valtteri Bottas third. With three of the top six cars out it created opportunities for the midfield and a battle unfolded between Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Force India’s Sergio Perez and Renaults Jolyon Palmer.
Sainz would come out on top to take his best finish in fourth place, that could prove important for the team as they are now within touching distance of Force India in the constructors championship.
It had been looking like a promising evening for the other Renault of Nico Hulkenberg. He looked as he could of taken a career best fourth place, taking advantage of the chaos at the start before a hydraulic problem late on required an emergency pit stop.
Hulkenberg initially returned to the track in tenth, but was forced to retire. Stoffel Vandoorne was seventh with Lance Stroll eighth as Romain Grosjean and Esteban Ocon completed the top ten.
But Palmer’s sixth place represent crucial points for Renault in their attempt to pip Williams and Toro Rosso in the standings.
Fernando Alonso who was also caught in the carnage at Turn One, managed to continue before the damage came clear and he was forced to retire. That will be a disappointment for McLaren as it was a good qualifying yesterday, but was the best finish for Vandoorne in his career
Williams’s Felipe Massa finished Eveleth ahead of Pascal Wehrlein who were the final finishers.
- Notebook – Singapore Qualifying
- Singapore GP – Qualifying Result
- SINGAPORE GP – Vettel takes pole ahead of Verstappen, as Mercedes struggle for pace and start on third row
- Notebook – Singapore Practice
- SINGAPORE GP – Ricciardo tops second practice by half a second over Verstappen as Red Bull look strong
- McLaren switches to Renault power for 2018, as they split with Honda
- SINGAPORE GP – Ricciardo sets the pace in first practice breaking the lap record going a tenth faster than Vettel
- Preview – Singapore Grand Prix