Hamilton Wins To Lead Championship As Rosberg Retires

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A retirement from Nico Rosberg gave Lewis Hamilton a golden opportunity to seize the lead in the Driver’s Championship and it was an opportunity Hamilton took with full force to win the Singapore Grand Prix. A Safety Car period meant Hamilton needed to extract the maximum from his Mercedes for the victory. Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo completed the podium.

It had looked like it would be a battle for the in with both Mercedes and Red Bull drivers, but it was cut by one with Rosberg suffering technical issues before the race begun. Mercedes discovered the problem in the pitlane and changed steering wheels, meaning it was to be a start from the pitlane for the German. Rosberg’s problems got worse as he was unable to get away from the grid on the formation lap and later retired on lap 13 at his first pit stop.

Hamilton had led from the start but a Safety Car brought out by a clash between Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil on lap 31 left debris littered along the track. Fernando Alonso pitted while Hamilton and the others stayed out on track. This left Hamilton with a lot of work to get a wide enough gap to make his final stop and retain the lead. The 2008 world champion launched a full attack with fastest lap after fastest lap but it was not quite enough as he came out of his final stop in second, behind Vettel. Vettel was to be little trouble as Hamilton swept past him with the aid of DRS and from there the win was sealed.

Lewis Hamilton spoke of his delight after the race but expressed disappointment that the team could not get a 1-2 finish.

“It’s been fantastic. It’s not perfect for the team because Nico didn’t finish and we’re always striving to get both cars finishing 1-2. I don’t think anyone has finished one-two before and that was our goal. So there are things we can still work on. I also want to say a big thanks to all the fans. Incredible support today, so thank you guys.”

Vettel congratulated Hamilton after the race

Vettel congratulated Hamilton after the race

Sebastian Vettel posted his best result of the year with a strong second place and his second podium of the year. He said he was surprised at where Hamilton passed him on the track and that the Safety Car had caused him concerns.

“With the overtaking move I wasn’t sure what he was doing,” said the German.

“I gave him all the space to pass me on the inside of next corner but it seemed he couldn’t wait to get back in the lead.

“I had to back off and let him through.

“There was no point fighting. To finish P2 was the best we could do.

“We had the oldest set of tyres in the last stint so it was quite tricky managing those with not much tread left.”

“It was not ideal in terms of timing with the safety car,” said Vettel.

“We’d lost position to Fernando [Alonso] as we stopped late. We went on primes [softs] and hoped for no safety car, and then it came out.

“At the restart we knew it was difficult – probably impossible – to make up 27s [for a pitstop] on older tyres with everyone behind.

“To get the best result, we knew we had to get to the end [on those tyres].

Ricciardo finished behind Vettel but stays ahead of him in the championship

Ricciardo finished behind Vettel but stays ahead of him in the championship

Daniel Ricciardo’s streak of finishing ahead of his team-mate came to end in Singapore as he followed him to the chequered flag in third place. Early in the race, he had been victim to Fernando Alonso cutting a corner, passing both Red Bull drivers and only allowing Vettel through to avoid a penalty, something Ricciardo didn’t comment on directly.

“Obviously he went off, that was clear. I knew he would give it back to Seb [but] whether he had to give it back to me, I’ll have a look at that. I was just sort of focused on regrouping from the start really. To get on the podium I guess is not a bad result, good for the team and at least we’ve got some Aussie flags.”

Fernando Alonso had looked like he could challenge for the win but could only manage fourth, and he defending Ferrari’s pitting strategy after the race.

“I think the strategy was good,” Alonso said.

“If we had the pace of the Mercedes the strategy was to stay out, because if you don’t pit with the safety car and you have a two-second [per lap] advantage, you have the laps to open the gap and pit in front [of the others].”

Rosberg had to watch the race with his team on the pitwall following his early race retirement

Rosberg had to watch the race with his team on the pitwall following his early race retirement

Nico Rosberg described his race night in Singapore in negative terms as the German went from a 22-point advantage over his team-mate in the Driver’s Championship to a 3-point deficit. Little would work as he tried to recover from the issues but couldn’t and retired from the race.

“The gear paddles sort of worked which was strange, but they would always up shift two gears at a time, so I had no fourth or sixth gear. It was just all over the place, and that’s why I was slow.

“My brake balance was completely in the wrong place and I couldn’t brake properly because I couldn’t change that, so everything was all over the place.

“Even coming into the pitstop I didn’t have a pit limiter I couldn’t go into neutral, so I couldn’t do anything.

“They were going to jack me up. I would have to go full speed then they drop the car and go, but they decided that was too dangerous.

“So that was all part of the day: the toughest day of the year for me.”

Felipe Massa said he changed his driving style to finish fifth

Felipe Massa said he changed his driving style to finish fifth

A conservative style allowed Felipe Massa to finish a strong fifth in a race which was expected to be one of the wors of the year for the Williams team. Massa said he was unsure of the team’s idea when told he needed to make his tyres last some distance but was pleased as it paid off in the end.

“I was not so sure about keeping the tyres until the end – for me it did not seem possible, but I changed completely my driving style,” he said.

“I was driving like a grandmother! Completely like that.”

“For me it was a joke when they said that, because there were still 25 or something laps to go – it was really a lot,” Massa added.

“I said I don’t think it will be possible, but let’s try, and I changed completely my driving style.

“For sure I was a bit slower than I was supposed to be but still quicker than everybody behind so it was a good job.”

 

Singapore Grand Prix Result

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2h00m04.795s
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault 13.534s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 14.273s
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 15.389s
5 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 42.161s
6 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Renault 56.801s
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 59.038s
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m00.641s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m01.661s
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1m02.230s
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m05.065s
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Renault 1m06.915s
13 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1m08.029s
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m12.008s
15 Marcus Ericsson Caterham/Renault 1m34.188s
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia/Ferrari 1m34.543s
17 Max Chilton Marussia/Ferrari 1 Lap
Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes Electrical
Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari Water leak
Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari Electrical
Nico Rosberg Mercedes Steering wheel
Kamui Kobayashi Caterham/Renault Not started
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