Hamilton victorious in Singapore Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton achieved his 44th career victory in Formula 1 was a dominant display at the Singapore Grand Prix as another Ferrari tactical blunder cost Sebastian Vettel the chance of race win.

Vettel had to settle for third position behind Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

Hamilton and Vettel made the best starts of the top three and the pole-sitting Mercedes cut cleanly through the first three corners as second-placed Verstappen had to defend his position from Vettel.

Behind them, Sergio Perez nudged his Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon into the outside wall at Turn 3, eliminating him from the race and bringing out the safety car.

But before race control took the decision to neutralise the Singapore Grand Prix, Vettel had made use of a better exit from Turn 5 to draw alongside Verstappen and pass him on the outside into Turn 7.

In their wake, the majority of the top ten got away in grid order – Bottas in fourth followed by Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean – but ultrasoft runners Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr each gained two positions on the opening lap, at the expense of Nico Hulkenberg and the now-absent Ocon.

The race got under way again on lap four but the frontrunners were running cautiously, nearly 11 seconds off qualifying pace, to manage their fragile hypersoft tyres and extend the first stint as far as possible.

As the lap count entered double figures the frontrunners lifted their pace in anticipation of the pitstops. Vettel was the first to dive in, on lap 14, taking on a set of ultrasofts.

The stop would prove disastrous for Vettel, since he emerged behind Perez and spent two laps bottled up behind him.

Meanwhile Hamilton and Verstappen pitted on successive laps to take on soft Pirellis with a clear strategy of running to the end with no further stops.

Hamilton returned seamlessly into the net lead, and although Verstappen’s engine stuttered slightly as he left the pit apron, he just squeaked ahead of Vettel into Turn 3.

The initial pitstop phase left Hamilton with a three seconds lead over Verstappen once Ricciardo became the last of the frontrunners to change tyres, on lap 27.

Vettel was a frustrated third, telling his Ferrari team: “We were again too late. We will not make it to the end.”

As at the Monaco Grand Prix, drivers starting outside the top ten with a free tyre choice benefitted as some of those ahead on softer rubber pitted first.

Conversely, when Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Grosjean shed their hypersoft boots they emerged behind the tail-end Williams pairing of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin, who had started on soft tyres and had no plans to stop promptly.

This prompted the race’s second significant incident when Perez grew impatient with Sirotkin and swerved at him as he finally went past at Turn 17 on lap 33, picking up a puncture in the process and enabling Hulkenberg to nip through.

As Grosjean tried to follow Hulkenberg through the pair baulked Hamilton as he came up to lap them, briefly enabling Verstappen to enter attacking range.

Once clear, though, Hamilton stretched his margin out to three seconds again and remained out of reach until the chequered flag, eventually finishing 8.9 seconds clear – with Vettel a further 30.9 seconds down the road.

While Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel and Bottas nursed their tyres to the finish, a battle for fourth place erupted in the closing laps as Ricciardo closed in on and challenged Raikkonen, who in turn crept up on Bottas. But nothing came of it and Bottas crossed the line 1s clear.

Fernando Alonso won ‘class B’ for McLaren from 11th on the grid, taking advantage of a long first stint on the ultrasofts to gain track position at the expense of Perez and Grosjean, and then undercutting Sainz for seventh place when he made his single stop on lap 38.

Charles Leclerc, another driver to start outside the top ten on ultrasofts, followed Sainz home in ninth place, while Hulkenberg completed a solid recovery drive to round out the top ten after losing track position on the opening lap.

So a fantastic result for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. That magic pole in qualifying sealed an important track position to take race victory. A massive 40-point advantage over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is just perfect and it’s going to be a real challenge to fight back.

Singapore Grand Prix race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 61 1h51m11.611s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 61 8.961s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 61 39.945s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 61 51.930s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 61 53.001s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 61 53.982s
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 61 1m43.011s
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 60 1 Lap
9 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 60 1 Lap
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 60 1 Lap
11 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 60 1 Lap
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 60 1 Lap
13 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 60 1 Lap
14 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 60 1 Lap
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 60 1 Lap
16 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 60 1 Lap
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 60 1 Lap
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 59 2 Laps
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 59 2 Laps
– Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 0 Collision

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 281
2 Sebastian Vettel 241
3 Kimi Raikkonen 174
4 Valtteri Bottas 171
5 Max Verstappen 148
6 Daniel Ricciardo 126
7 Nico Hulkenberg 53
8 Fernando Alonso 50
9 Kevin Magnussen 49
10 Sergio Perez 46
11 Esteban Ocon 45
12 Carlos Sainz 38
13 Pierre Gasly 28
14 Romain Grosjean 27
15 Charles Leclerc 15
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
17 Lance Stroll 6
18 Marcus Ericsson 6
19 Brendon Hartley 2
20 Sergey Sirotkin 1

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 452
2 Ferrari 415
3 Red Bull-Renault 274
4 Renault 91
5 Haas-Ferrari 76
6 McLaren-Renault 58
7 Force India-Mercedes 32
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 30
9 Sauber-Ferrari 21
10 Williams-Mercedes 7

5 thoughts to “Hamilton victorious in Singapore Grand Prix”

  1. Singapore Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    For two races in a row now, Lewis Hamilton has won Grands Prix that he arguably shouldn’t have. After stealing the Italian Grand Prix from under Ferrari’s noses, Hamilton produced another dominant display in Singapore, seeing off the challenge of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to increase his lead in the title race over arch rival Sebastian Vettel, who could only finish third.

    Beneath the track’s 1,771 lights, Hamilton used his “magic” pole position from Saturday to great effect, leading off the line as behind him, the Force Indias came together, with Esteban Ocon finding himself out after just three corners.

    After Singapore maintained its 100% Safety Car record, Hamilton nailed the restart as Vettel settled into P2, having smartly managed to nip past Max Verstappen just before the Safety Car was deployed. That was about as good as Vettel’s afternoon got though. With Ferrari calling him in for fresh rubber on lap 14, he was unable to make the undercut on Hamilton work, ending up behind Verstappen after the first round of pit stops. That definitely hadn’t been part of the script heading into the weekend…

    From then on, Vettel was in damage limitation mode, as he was forced to watch on as his 2018 championship hopes took a further hit. As the chequered flag fell on Hamilton’s 69th career win, the British driver earned himself 25 points to Vettel’s 15, the gap between them in the drivers’ standings now up to a full 40 points.

    Having suffered with a misfiring engine throughout the weekend, however, and after complaining of false neutrals in his gearbox at the start of the race, Verstappen was delighted to convert his second place in qualifying into the same position in the race – even if Red Bull had viewed Singapore as their last big chance of securing a win in 2018.

    Behind the podium finishers, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas just managed to hold off his fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen for fourth place as Daniel Ricciardo, who’d come away from qualifying puzzled at his lack of pace, could only manage sixth.

    Further down the order, it was a great day for McLaren, as Fernando Alonso used his free choice of tyres resulting from qualifying 11th to end up seventh and ‘best of the rest’ in the race, ahead of the Renault of Carlos Sainz, while Charles Leclerc put in yet another impressive 2018 race performance, the newly-minted Ferrari driver ending up P9.

    The second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten, but ultimately, once again they day belonged to Mercedes and Hamilton who once again triumphed on a track that was not expected to suit the W09.

    A Safety Car has been called out at each of the 10 previous Singapore Grands Prix – and it took just three corners for Bernd Maylander to get the nod this year. In contrast to 2017, the field filed fairly politely through Turn 1, Hamilton leading Verstappen and Vettel, the German having half tried a move around the outside of the Red Bull.

    But as the Force Indias navigated Turn 3, Esteban Ocon tried to go around the outside of Sergio Perez. The gap closed and Ocon found himself spat into the wall, the Frenchman hinting afterwards that he felt his team mate had been at fault, even if the stewards cleared the Mexican. Either way, the Safety Car hit the track as Ocon’s VJM13 was recovered, but not before Sebastian Vettel had made it past Max Verstappen’s Red Bull heading down Raffles Boulevard.

    Hamilton managed the restart well at the end of lap four, gapping Vettel by 0.8s by the time he reached the start-finish line. But with all of the front-runners running on the hypersofts and desperate to keep the life in them, the first dozen laps were reeled off in what could best be described as a stately manner. On lap 11, Hamilton radioed to his pits. “There’s a lot left in the tyres,” he reported. Over on the Ferrari pit wall, they misheard the comment, reporting to Vettel that Hamilton had said he had no life in his tyres. “I don’t believe him,” was Vettel’s cool response.

    But were Ferrari rattled nonetheless? Vettel was brought in just two laps later, and put onto ultrasofts. Hamilton came in a lap after and bolted on softs, querying his team for bringing him in so early. “We’re looking good,” he was told by engineer Pete Bonnington. “We’re just covering the cars around us.” Hamilton emerged back into the net race lead, while Vettel was brought out into the path of Perez’s Force India. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Vettel then suffered a further blow when Max Verstappen pitted for softs on lap 16, with the Dutchman coming out wheel-to-wheel with the Ferrari before moving ahead and sealing Vettel’s fate for the evening in the process, his victory chances in tatters with less than third of the race run. Were Ferrari paying dearly for a simple case of incommunicado?

    Further down the order, Perez found himself involved in more controversy. The Mexican had been frustrated at Force India’s own pit strategy, which had put him into traffic and bottled him up behind Sergey Sirotkin’s Williams. As Perez finally made it past the Russian on lap 33, he steered left into the Williams, puncturing his rear left tyre and receiving a drive through penalty in the process. Perez, who’d finished every previous race he’d started at Singapore in the points, ended the day P16 having started seventh, in what was certainly not a classic day for the Force India.

    A few laps later, and Sirotkin nearly played an even more significant role in the race. As he stubbornly fought off the faster Haas of Romain Grosjean behind him, the leading cars of Hamilton and Verstappen closed in behind the warring duo. Although blue flags were shown, Grosjean and Sirotkin were too focused on their own battle, holding up Hamilton to the tune of five seconds and nearly allowing Max Verstappen to attack for the lead.

    “The guys weren’t letting me by and jeez it was close, my heart was in my mouth for a moment,” said Hamilton about the incident, for which Romain Grosjean was handed a five second penalty. “But after I got past I was about to put the pedal down.”

    Put it down he did, and as the order remained largely static in the race’s final act, Hamilton swept across the line nearly nine seconds to the good over Verstappen to record win number 69 of his career. As the German grimly sipped from his magnum of champagne on the podium, it appeared as though, once again, questionable Ferrari strategy had left him unable to take the fight to Hamilton. The gulf between the two drivers, as they both seek to become five-time world champions, is starting to look dangerously close to being unbreachable.

    Hamilton, meanwhile, offered a weary smile as he eventually clambered out of his car after an hour and 44 minutes racing in Singapore’s humid heat, with the Briton knowing that he’d just taken another chunk out of Ferrari on a weekend where Mercedes had looked set to have the third quickest car of the field.

    “I’m spent,” said Hamilton. “That felt like the longest race of my life. I‘m glad it’s over.”

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has commented that this felt like the longest race of my life. Formula1.com provides the story.

    Hot and humid. The Singapore Grand Prix is often referred to as the most physically demanding race on the calendar, so no wonder Lewis Hamilton said he was “spent” after dominating Sunday’s race to open up an impressive 40-point championship lead over Sebastian Vettel.

    Hamilton admitted to losing around two kilos in qualifying, so hot is it in Singapore, but he delivered a lap described as “stardust” by his Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff to take pole. With track position so crucial in Singapore, with overtaking difficult, the world champion made the most of starting at the front.

    A clean getaway gave Hamilton the lead at the start, and he nailed the restart following the Safety Car period before controlling a tough race that lasted one hour and 51 minutes with humidity peaking at 69%.

    “I’m spent,” said the Briton, who boosted his title advantage over Ferrari’s Vettel by 25% after the German could only finish third. “That was a tough race. That was a long race. It felt like the longest race of my life. I’m glad it’s over. What a day. What a weekend. I feel super blessed.”

    In the closing stages, second-placed Max Verstappen slashed a gap of two seconds to under a tenth as Hamilton got baulked by traffic, with Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin squabbling for position out of the points.

    But once clear, Hamilton was able to pull away from the Red Bull again, crossing the line just under nine seconds clear of the Dutchman to take a 44th career win when starting from pole position.

    “I think I was unlucky with the traffic,” he said. “These guys were moving around. It’s quite difficult to follow. Max was a bit lucky again with some of the guys in terms of what point in the track [he caught them], and they wouldn’t let me by.

    “But it was definitely close and my heart was in my mouth for a minute. Once I got clear of them I was able to put the pedal down and pull away.”

    Ferrari had been favourites for victory in Singapore, but they failed to convert that potential for the second successive year at Marina Bay, which was something of a surprise for Hamilton.

    “They’ve put up a good fight this weekend,” said Hamilton. “I’m not really quite sure where their pace disappeared too. I didn’t come to Singapore expecting to come away with 10 points more, but I‘m very grateful for those points.”

    Hamilton’s lead over Vettel is just two points shy of only needing to finish second in the remaining six races to clinch his fifth world title – but that doesn’t mean he’s going to change tact.

    “The approach I have is working really well so don’t see a point in changing, just need to keep getting better,” he said. “As you go through the year, learn more and more about the car. I think it’s a good balance right now. So I’ll be staying the same.”

    Hamilton has now finished first or second in the last six races. By contrast, Vettel has two wins, a second, a third, a fourth and one retirement. That’s allowed Hamilton turn a one-point deficit into a 40-point lead.

  3. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has defended Ferrari’s over “aggressive” race strategy. Motorsport.com provides the details.

    Sebastian Vettel has defended his Ferrari Formula 1 team’s “aggressive” Singapore Grand Prix strategy, after a race that left him 40 points behind championship rival Lewis Hamilton.

    Vettel successfully got ahead of Max Verstappen to take second in an opening-lap battle after qualifying only third, and chased Hamilton for the lead through the first stint.

    An attempt to undercut the Mercedes for first place by pitting a lap earlier then backfired, as Vettel became temporarily stuck behind the yet-to-pit Force India of Sergio Perez and not only failed to jump Hamilton but also lost second to Verstappen again.

    In addition, Ferrari put Vettel on ultrasofts while all his main rivals had taken softs. He was sceptical about his chances of the tyres surviving to the finish and had to drive conservatively, finishing nearly 40 seconds behind winner Hamilton.

    “I will always defend the team,” said Vettel when asked by Motorsport.com about Ferrari’s handling of a weekend where it had been tipped to dominate.

    “The decision we took in the race to try and be aggressive, if it works then it’s great. Today it didn’t work. It didn’t work by quite a bit. So we need to look into that.

    “But we saw something and that’s why we went for it. Inside the car it’s difficult to keep on top of everything because you cannot see where you come out, etc.

    “Overall if you see the gap at the end it was clear that we were not fast enough in the race today. We need to understand why.

    “It’s largely down to how we decided to race and which tyres and for how many laps, etc. With what we did, we tried to get to first position and get ahead. But Lewis was too quick.

    “Once you are ahead you can control the pace around here, but we never got ahead.”

    Vettel was able to get his ultrasoft tyres to the finish – and even when he was lapping two seconds slower than Hamilton and Max Verstappen ahead of him, he was still able to maintain a stable gap to Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo in fourth to sixth.

    “I wasn’t very confident that we could make it to the end. But fortunately we did,” Vettel added.

    “It was a surprise to see. The guys in the front were disappearing, with fresher tyres I guess.

    “It was surprising to see that Valtteri was not able to keep it up and he was struggling more than I was.”

    The result leaves Vettel 40 points behind Hamilton and Ferrari 37 off Mercedes in the constructors’ championship.

    “Overall I think we had a very strong package, both Kimi and I looked very competitive throughout practice,” Vettel admitted.

    “In the end if you look at the race result we finished third and fifth. Like yesterday probably not where the speed of our car belongs.”

  4. This was a solid result for Fernando Alonso, with seventh position at the Singapore Grand Prix. However, Alonso expects “magical” race to be a one-off for McLaren. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Fernando Alonso believes a “magical” Singapore Grand Prix was just a one-off for McLaren, and the Spaniard expects his team to struggle again in upcoming events.

    Alonso started from 11th place at Marina Bay and went on to finish as best of the rest in seventh position, behind the Mercedes, Ferraris and Red Bulls.

    The result was McLaren’s best since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, and the first time Alonso has scored in the last three races.

    But the two-time champion made it clear after the race that he is not expecting a turnaround in the upcoming grands prix, admitting the nature of the track has aided McLaren’s cause.

    “It’s a pretty unique circuit,” said Alonso. “It’s a complex circuit for the set-up and to extract the best.

    “We lapped Magnussen today. At Monza and Spa with many straights they pretty much lapped us, so I think it’s the circuit that’s abnormal and I’m afraid we’ll have difficulties again in the upcoming races.”

    Alonso had the fastest lap of the race until the final laps, when Haas’ Kevin Magnussen stole it from him after switching to the softest tyres.

    “We did the maximum we could,” Alonso added.

    “A good start and then the strategy we tried to optimise it, first with the purple ones [ultrasofts] and then with the yellows [softs], and if Magnussen hadn’t switched to the hypersofts we would even have the fastest lap of the race so it’s been a magical race for us.

    “We know that every time we come to Singapore we have an opportunity but you have to be there and take it because many times you miss them due to little details, but we usually don’t.”

    The only hiccup in Alonso’s race came when he was stuck behind Romain Grosjean before the Haas driver made his first pitstop, something the Spaniard reckons hurt the American squad more than him.

    “It got complicated there as we waited for Grosjean to pit, but they focused too much on us trying to cover and they lost a position to Hulkenberg and to everybody. Classic of them,” Alonso said.

    Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne continued with his point-less run – now at 10 races – and finished down in 12th.

  5. Sergio Perez has accepted that his drive-through penalty for driving into Sergey Sirotkin was “fair”, after a forgettable Singapore Grand Prix that included a collision with his teammate Esteban Ocon.

    Force India came into the race with high hopes of a good result with both cars starting in the top 10, but Ocon’s race ended in the Turn 3 wall after he was nudged by Perez.

    While the Mexican continued and comfortably led the ‘class B’ battle for best of the rest in seventh, his race fell apart when the timing of his pitstop left him stuck in traffic.

    After complaining for several laps about Sirotkin holding him up, Perez then drove into the Williams between Turns 17 and 18 as they raced side-by-side.

    Asked by TV crews about the drive-through penalty he received for the clash, Perez said: “I have to see the incident. I closed the door earlier than I should have so I have to double check but I think the penalty was fair.

    “It was hard racing, he was defending his position very hard, fighting very hard, moving a lot under braking and a lot of lock-ups under braking.

    “And then as I was going through him, I tried to close the door but I think he was too close.

    “In the end not ideal. It was very costly, but I don’t think it would have changed anything on my result.

    “I knew my race was going out of my hands, it was so hard to overtake.

    “I was just burning my brakes, my engine, my tyres, so it was a massive frustration.”

    Perez said he didn’t realise where Ocon was before they collided, but he admitted he was sorry for the team losing one of its cars at the start.

    “It was a very unfortunate incident, one of those that is very hard to avoid,” he said.

    “As I am picking up the power I just get a clip from one car, I’d not even realised it was Esteban, and then as I get the message from the team I was very sorry for that.”

    Asked if he would speak to Ocon about it, he added: “I don’t think I have much to say, I’m just very sorry for the day the team had in general.

    “I wish I could have seen Esteban there or done something differently.

    “It wouldn’t have changed anything, I think scoring points today would have been very tricky given that we probably paid the price of doing such a good job in qualifying [and having to start on the unfavourable tyre compound].”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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