'Spent' Hamilton soaks up special victory in Singapore

Posted September 17, 2018

In qualifying yesterday. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes were wary of Ferrari's straight-line speed going into this race weekend, and that brilliant lap that secured him pole position was just a touch unexpected, particularly after last year's P5 start. "It felt like one of the best laps I remember feeling".

Great performance though Hamilton's was to secure the pole in a Mercedes that, like a year ago, was generally unsuited to the track's characteristics, in reality Ferrari had presented him with an open goal.

Vettel said sometimes you need to take risks in order to make gains but you must accept when they don't come off.

Hamilton and Verstappen received an apology after the finish from race director Charlie Whiting for the delay in clearing the slower cars out of the way, but Hamilton understood the difficulty.

"I've been [around] a long, long time and I know I can't get ahead of myself, we can't get ahead of ourselves, " Hamilton said.

It would nearly certainly give up hope of gaining track position at the time, but it would allow him a run at Hamilton on fresher tyres at the end of the race.

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The report, and the tweet which went with it, did not go down well, with fans accusing the Italian team of being "sore losers", while others questioned why they hadn't spiced it up with a better strategy.

That is how Hamilton beat Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen in Italy and Ferrari will have learned from that.

"I don't think there was a moment in the lap that was wide".

It was quite a transformation in mood for Verstappen, who during third practice (P3) earlier in the evening ranted - once again - on team radio about the unreliability of his Renault engine.

Ferrari looked strong in practice on the sinewy five-kilometre (three-mile) Marina Bay track.

"I believe we saw something and we went for it", Vettel said. However, he crashed heading into the first turn, taking out Verstappen, Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso with him.

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Victory this weekend with Vettel finishing in third place means that Hamilton is now 40 points ahead in the drivers championship with six races remaining.

Hamilton was not expecting to start from first place this time, either.

Mercedes had indeed done a sterling job to produce a vehicle that was more competitive at a circuit where they have traditionally struggled, as acknowledged by the technical director James Allison.

"I'm sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention", said Grosjean.

Vettel conceded Ferrari had made tactical errors in qualifying but argued that although Hamilton's pole lap was significantly faster than his, the Briton was not untouchable.

"It definitely got a little bit interesting towards the end with some of the backmarkers, which was extremely hard", he said.

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