Lewis Hamilton was able to take advantage of his track position on a Singapore track that allows for very minimal overtaking and cruise to victory in the Singapore Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen was able to keep pace with Hamilton but had to settle for second. Sebastian Vettel continues to lose points to Hamilton with a third-place finish and is now 40 points behind in the championship.
Valtteri Bottas came home fourth, Kimi Räikkönen was fifth. Daniel Ricciardo ended the night in sixth. Fernando Alonso ran a strong race for Mclaren in seventh. Carlos Sainz was eighth, Charles Leclerc ended up in ninth, and Nico Hulkenberg solidified a double points day for Renault in the battle for fourth in the standings with his tenth place finish.
Hamilton got away well on the start, leaving Verstappen and Vettel to battle for second, Verstappen cleated Vettel out of turn three. At that moment the Force India teammates of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon came together, slamming Ocon into the wall, ending his race and bringing out the safety car. Vettel was able to get past Verstappen on the long straight before the safety car officially came out.
On the restart, Hamilton perfectly timed the restart and pulled out to a lead of just about a second through the first stint.
Vettel pitted first for ultra soft tires, trying to trigger an undercut, where he runs a fast first lap out of the pits on fresher tires and come out in front of the car ahead, except it did not work. Hamilton was able to come out in front and put on the regular soft tires with plans to make it to the end of the race.
Not only did Vettel not get the lead, Verstappen was able to emerge from the pits in front of the Ferrari, putting himself into second on the soft tires that could get the young Dutch driver to the end of the race.
The concern for Vettel now became, could he take the much softer and less durable tire to the end of the race? Vettel wasn’t convinced, he came over the radio saying “no chance we’re too late… no way these tires can go to the end.” The Ferrari strategy mishaps that had spoiled many races in the past seemed to have turned its head on the four-time champion.
Such a special weekend! I can’t thank the team enough for everything that they do, they truly inspire me. It felt like the longest race, I’m spent! Thank you to the fans for the incredible support. Giving all the glory to God 🙏🏾 #StillWeRise #Godisthegreatest @MercedesAMGF1 pic.twitter.com/HAJ3xs0YBl
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) September 16, 2018
Hamilton was able to pull away from Verstappen, but then it seemed as if the sky began to open. On lap 26, drops of rain became more and more noticeable, teams were trying to decide how long it would last and if another pit stop of intermediate wet tires would be necessary. Ricciardo, who had yet to pit stayed out longer to see if the rain would pick up, force everyone to pit and keep the Australian in the lead. However the rain didn’t seem too persistent and Ricciardo came in to pit on lap 28, handing the lead back to Hamilton.
Behind them, Sergio Perez, who was running seventh at the start, came out from the pits after the first stint behind the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin. Sirotkin had a front wing problem during the safety car and had to pit for the longer lasting soft tire. Perez became ever more furious as he was stuck behind the much slower Williams car.
After many failed attempts to overtake on a track that doesn’t allow for much, Perez got to the side of Sirotkin, but then drove into the side of Sirotkin, ruining Perez’s race and causing him to pit to for a punctured tire. It wasn’t a big enough collision to trigger a safety car but it capped off a bad race for Force India in their attempt to move back up the standings after having their points reset to zero before Belgium. To top it all off, Perez received a drive-through penalty for the collision.
Drama came on lap 38. Hamilton came up on the lapped cars of Sirotkin, who was now in the way of Romain Grosjean. They ran side by side through the narrow section of the track. Hamilton had to slow significantly and it allowed Verstappen to catch up and make an attempt for the lead. Hamilton was able to cover Max off and keep the lead and speed off into the distance for an easy victory.
Formula One heads to Sochi, Russia in two weeks time. Lewis Hamilton’s strong run to start the second half makes a fifth title more and more likely.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 16, 2018