F1: Hamilton Slingshots to Victory in Singapore

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Source: Twitter (@LewisHamilton)

The Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton dominated the Singapore Grand Prix, with his 69th Grand Prix win extending his championship lead over the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel to 40 points.

At the start, Hamilton got a good getaway from Pole and led into Turn 1, with title rival Vettel passing the Red Bull of Max Verstappen at Turn 7 for second.

Amongst the midfield, Esteban Ocon crashed into the wall at the exit of Turn 3 after he was squeezed by his Force India team-mate, Sergio Perez.

Subsequently, the Safety Car was deployed; the third successive year it had been done so on the opening lap at the Marina Bay street circuit.

On Lap 5, the show got back underway, with Hamilton at the front of the pack, ahead of Vettel and Verstappen.

As the field began to settle down, the leading drivers became to pull away from the Finnish pair of Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) and Kimi Rӓikkӧnen, whilst Hamilton and Vettel trading fastest laps, with the former setting a 1:44.929 on Lap 13.

At the end of Lap 14, Vettel pitted for ultra-softs on a two-stop strategy and re-joined on clear tarmac in seventh.

Mercedes responded and brought in Hamilton for the soft compound tyre to last the remained of the race.

The Briton managed to maintain his advantage and exited the pit lane in fifth, with Vettel stuck behind the sole Force India of Perez.

This left the Red Bull of Verstappen out in front for two laps, before he pitted for soft tyres at the end of Lap 17.

The privilege of clean air served the Dutchman well, as he came out of the pit lane alongside Vettel and parked his car on the inside line to take fourth place.

Rӓikkӧnen had inherited the lead from Verstappen and made his stop for the softs on Lap 22 which dropped him to sixth behind compatriot Bottas, who had also already pitted.

At this point, light drops of rain started to hover over the track, with Red Bull reporting to race leader Daniel Ricciardo that they weren’t expecting anything substantial.

In the battle for ninth, Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) was losing grip and consequently locked up at Turn 10.

This left the Frenchman vulnerable to the Sauber of Charles Leclerc, who closed the gap and got a better exit at Turn 13 to take the position.

Ricciardo then surrendered the race lead to Hamilton at the end of Lap 27, with the Australian taking on a new set of ultras and falling to sixth place.

 

Further back in 14th place, Perez was stuck behind the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin, which was hampering the Mexican’s chances of a top ten finish and made him frustrated.

Then on Lap 34, Perez went around the outside of Sirotkin at Turn 17 and got in front, but then moved across the track to defend for the following turn.

This caused a collision, with Perez’s rear wheel getting punctured by Sirotkin’s front wing and was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop and was later given a drive through penalty by the race stewards for the incident.

The damage to his front wing meant that Siroktin was losing pace and position.

When Romain Grosjean (Haas) had caught up the Russian, the pair had race leaders Hamilton and Verstappen behind them.

Using DRS and slipstream, Grosjean went around the outside of Sirotkin at Turn 7 for 14th place under the blue flags, an action which resulted in the Frenchman getting a five second penalty at the end of the race.

However, the battle between the two backmarkers held up Hamilton, which left him vulnerable to a challenge from Verstappen, with the Red Bull looking for the inside line at Turn 10.

Despite this, the defending champion blocked the manoeuvre and then got past Sirotkin to help re-establish his race lead.

Meanwhile, Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) was in eighth place, had yet to stop and was doing every possible to keep the Renault of Carlos Sainz Jr. behind him.

Although Ericsson tried every form of defence possible, the Spaniard’s determination got the job done at Turn 16, with the Swede making his only stop shortly after.

During the closing stages, Verstappen faded away which left Hamilton unchallenged at the finish line to take the chequered flag, with Vettel a distant third.

Bottas resisted a late charge from Rӓikkӧnen to claim fourth, with Ricciardo close behind in sixth.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso had a quiet afternoon on his way to seventh, ahead of Sainz Jr. and Leclerc, whilst the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg took the last championship point in tenth.

2018 Singapore Grand Prix Official Classification:

Pos. Car No. Driver (Nationality) Team Time
1 44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes 1:51:11.611
2 33 Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing-TAG-Heuer +8.961
3 5 Sebastian Vettel (DEU), Scuderia Ferrari +39.945
4 77 Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Mercedes +51.930
5 7 Kimi Rӓikkӧnen (FIN), Scuderia Ferrari +53.001
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Red Bull Racing-TAG-Heuer +53.982
7 14 Fernando Alonso (ESP), McLaren-Renault +1:43.011
8 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP), Renault +1 Lap
9 16 Charles Leclerc (MON), Sauber-Ferrari +1 Lap
10 27 Nico Hülkenberg (DEU), Renault +1 Lap
11 9 Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Sauber-Ferrari +1 Lap
12 2 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL), McLaren-Renault +1 Lap
13 8 Romain Grosjean (FRA), Haas-Ferrari +1 Lap
14 10 Pierre Gasly (FRA), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda +1 Lap
15 18 Lance Stroll (CDN), Williams-Mercedes +1 Lap
16 11 Sergio Perez (MEX), Force India-Mercedes +1 Lap
17 28 Brendon Hartley (NZL), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda +1 Lap
18 20 Kevin Magnussen (DEN), Haas-Ferrari +2 Laps
19 35 Sergey Sirotkin (RUS), Williams-Mercedes +2 Laps
Not Classified
31 Esteban Ocon (FRA), Force India-Mercedes 0 Laps; Crashed at Turn 3

 

2018 FIA Formula One Drivers’ Championship Standings after Round 15 of 21:

Pos. Car No. Driver (Nationality) Team Points
1 44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes 281
2 5 Sebastian Vettel (DEU), Scuderia Ferrari 241
3 7 Kimi Rӓikkӧnen (FIN), Scuderia Ferrari 174
4 77 Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Mercedes 171
5 33 Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing-TAG-Heuer 148
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Red Bull Racing-TAG-Heuer 126
7 27 Nico Hülkenberg (DEU), Renault 53
8 14 Fernando Alonso (ESP), McLaren-Renault 50
9 20 Kevin Magnussen (DEN), Haas-Ferrari 49
10 11 Sergio Perez (MEX), Force India-Mercedes 46
11 31 Esteban Ocon (FRA), Force India-Mercedes 45
12 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. (ESP), Renault 38
13 10 Pierre Gasly (FRA), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda 28
14 8 Romain Grosjean (FRA), Haas-Ferrari 27
15 16 Charles Leclerc (MON), Sauber-Ferrari 15
16 2 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL), McLaren-Renault 8
17 18 Lance Stroll (CDN), Williams-Mercedes 6
18 9 Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Sauber-Ferrari 6
19 28 Brendon Hartley (NZL), Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2
20 35 Sergey Sirotkin (RUS), Williams-Mercedes 1

 

2018 FIA Formula One Constructors’ Standings after Round 15 of 21:

Pos. Constructor Points
1 Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 452
2 Scuderia Ferrari 415
3 Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 274
4 Renault Sport Formula One Team 91
5 Haas F1 Team 76
6 McLaren F1 Team 58
7 Racing Point Force India F1 Team 32
8 Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 30
9 Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team 21
10 Williams Martini Racing 7
Exc. Sahara Force India-Mercedes F1 Team 0

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