Seventh heaven for Lewis in Singapore
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s Lewis Hamilton took his seventh victory of the 2018 FIA Formula 1™ World Championship at the Singapore Grand Prix with teammate Valtteri Bottas scoring another strong points-paying P4, extending the team’s advantage over Ferrari to 37 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
In Saturday’s qualifying session, Lewis clinched a stunning pole position under the lights on his first Q3 attempt with Toto Wolff describing it as “one of the most incredible qualifying laps I have witnessed”. Valtteri lined up in fourth on the grid behind Max Verstappen in second and Sebastian Vettel third, the Finn admittedly disappointed with this result but optimistic about his chances for the race ahead.
The Silver Arrows got away from the line cleanly at the start of the 61-lap Singapore Grand Prix, retaining their positions into the tight Turn 1, 2 and 3 complex, as contact further back in the pack resulted in the Mercedes-AMG GT-R safety car being deployed before the end of Lap 1.
Once the race resumed on Lap 5, Lewis focused on building a gap to the chasing Vettel to break DRS range – and the risk of a challenge in the pit window – until the Ferrari blinked first on Lap 15. On the two laps prior, car #44 set consecutive fastest times of the race to ensure safety from any challenge, with Vettel’s focus now shifting to the chasing Red Bull of Verstappen in third.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport pitted Hamilton on Lap 16 for Soft compound tyres and Bottas soon followed a lap later opting for a similar strategy, setting the fastest pit lane time of the race whilst doing so (28.5s total).
Resuming the race in fourth, Valtteri was in a position to comfortably control his pace ahead of the chasing Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo – the latter joining the battle after being the last of the frontrunners to pit on Lap 28.
Race leader Hamilton (now being pursued by Verstappen) had an alarming moment on Lap 38 encountering the fighting Grosjean and Sirotkin, the two disregarding the blue flags shown to indicate a lapping car behind. This brought Verstappen within metres of the Silver Arrow ahead, but the threat was thankfully nullified once traffic was cleared.
Lewis cemented his fourth victory at the Marina Bay circuit by building a 10 second gap over the chasing Red Bull in the remaining 23 laps, with Valtteri bringing his W09 EQ Power+ home in a comfortable fourth, successfully managing a 1.1s gap to Raikkonen behind despite increasing pressure in the closing stages.
This result is Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s third consecutive victory in Singapore, and fourth overall in the turbo-hybrid Formula 1™ era.
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