Lewis Hamilton wins in Singapore
Lewis Hamilton produced another excellent performance in his triumphant victory in the Singapore Grand Prix. The win puts the Mercedes driver and his team in a strong position to win this year’s Formula One World Championship. Hamilton has a lead of forty points with just six races and a maximum of 150 points remaining.
Lewis Hamilton took a giant stride towards what looks like a routine World Championship win with a controlled race from pole position. The win for Hamilton puts him level with Sebastian Vettel on four career wins in Singapore and this was the 200th win for an English driver in F1 history. The first dates back to 1955 when Stirling Moss clinched the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton put on a classic controlled performance and the rest of the pack rarely challenged, but the Stevenage born driver had to guard against complacency. An example of this came on turn seven when Hamilton had to guard against an attack from Verstappen. The Brit was successful and at the end of the race Hamilton eased to victory 8.961 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen for Red Bull, 39.945 seconds ahead of his closest rival Vettel and 51.930 seconds ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas in third.
Hamilton himself acknowledged he wasn’t expecting to be increasing his lead over his nearest challenger on a track that has been difficult in the past for Mercedes. The 33-year-old said:
I definitely did not come to Singapore expecting to leave with 10 points more than Vettel, of course, it feels great, but I have been in this sport for a long, long time, so I know I can’t get ahead of myself.– Lewis Hamilton, F1 Driver
On a relatively slow circuit, Hamilton’s biggest fear would have been to lose the lead on the first corner or to be overtaken by Verstappen during the pit-stop. Ironically, it was a call from the Ferrari team that contributed to the Mercedes team win.
The Ferrari team looked like they had made a smart call when they brought Vettel into the pit on lap 14 to switch to ultra-soft tyres in a bid to be more aggressive and put pressure on Hamilton.
However, Mercedes responded perfectly as they called in Hamilton on the 15th lap and fitted him with the soft compound tyres that are more durable. A tyre they predicted would last until the end of the race.
Vettel, the 2013 winner, immediately realised that the ultra-soft tyres would not make it to the end. The gamble that the team had made was ultimately disastrous. Hamilton re-joined after his pit-stop in the lead and then Verstappen jumped Vettel. To further add to his misery when he pitted for softs, the delay caused him to finish third, 39.945 seconds behind the leader.
Hamilton has now won four of the last five races. He talked about working on keeping the same focus and his ambition to win every race.
Sebastian Vettel, his closest rival in the Championship, fell back from second to finish third in the race. The Ferrari team was expected to be the dominant force at the Marina Bay Circuit, but made numerous questionable calls on their strategy, that contributed to them losing the hold on a race that the German started well.
The Ferrari driver will have a lot of questions for his team for the second time after having a disappointing run in the qualifying race, finishing third but a huge 0.613 gap behind Hamilton who stormed onto pole.
The signs are looking ominous for the 31-year old four-time Formula One Champion. Hamilton beat Vettel in Singapore in last year’s Formula One Championship and went on to win last year’s competition by 46 points.
Formula 1 fans don’t have long to wait, as it’s just a fortnight to go to the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, where Hamilton will be looking to reach his 70th career win. The Japanese Grand Prix starts just a week later.