Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Hamilton feeling big boost from 'impactful' Singapore win

Formula One World Championship Singapore GP: Raikkonen fastest in 2nd practice session
Herman Weaver | 17 September, 2018, 02:50

Ferrari had been favourites for victory in Singapore, but they failed to convert that potential for the second successive year at Marina Bay, which was something of a surprise for Hamilton.

Openly coming into the Singapore Grand Prix weekend saying that damage limitation was at the top of the agenda, Mercedes and Hamilton had zero expectations of taking pole position. He was watchful, waiting for his opportunity, and struck beautifully to get past Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso. I can't remember one that I though I could do more.

Especially as Hamilton has no intention of easing up.

The result was a fourth win in five races for Hamilton, arguably all of which Vettel could and perhaps should have won himself.

Putting Raikkonen on fresher tyres, potentially in clear air, and letting him set some fast laps could pressure Mercedes into pitting Hamilton earlier then they would. "I know that not a single member of the hierarchy, like [strategist] James Vowles or Toto probably, really didn't think that was possible - maybe more of them". I think Max was a little bit luckier getting by some of the guys in terms of what point on the track and the guys weren't letting me by.

The German said he "didn't have a chance" as he finished a distant third at the Marina Bay Street Circuit to fall 40 points behind race victor Lewis Hamilton with just six grands prix of the 21-race season remaining.

"I'm spent", said the Briton, who boosted his title advantage over Ferrari's Vettel by 25% after the German could only finish third.

"We made a decision to do another pit stop and I got stuck behind the Williams and lost a place".

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"Look, even with good pace here it's so tricky to overtake". "Just disappointing we didn't get the maximum out of our package".

In the closing stages, second-placed Max Verstappen slashed a gap of two seconds to under a tenth as Hamilton got baulked by traffic, with Haas' Romain Grosjean and Williams' Sergey Sirotkin squabbling for position out of the points.

Sebastian Vettel on Sunday night pointed the finger at his Ferrari team after a strategy error saw him lose further ground in the championship to Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel, who had looked dominant in practice, has struggled to stamp his authority on the title race in a Ferrari regarded as superior to all of his rivals.

The Dutch driver finished ahead of Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, jumping him during the pit stop window after the German passed him at the start of the race.

Verstappen says that it was a shame he lost a place at the start, but praises the team for selecting a great strategy that helped him push back up to second place.

"In a place like this it's fundamental to have [the qualifying setup] exactly how we want because it's such a long track", Raikkonen said.

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