Lewis Hamilton extends his lead championship under the lights in Singapore
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News September 16, 2018 Updated: 11:01 AM PT
MARINA BAY, Singapore -- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has taken another major step in securing his fifth world championship after taking his 69th career victory at Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s victory extends his lead in the driver’s championship to 40 points over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after a dominant qualifying performance on Saturday.
Following the victory, Hamilton praised his team as he continues his positive but cautious outlook on the second have of the season.
“I’m spent, that was a tough race,” said Hamilton. But I have such great support here. We had a great start. The team have just never given up faith and belief in me and in Valtteri and in our ability, and it is a blessing. It was a long race. That felt like the longest race of my life, so I’m glad it’s over. Max put up a good fight as well, but what a day, what a weekend. I feel super blessed.”
Vettel finished third behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen in second taking his sixth podium of the season.
The loss deals a serious blow to Vettel’s championship campaign as things will become mission critical for the four-time world champion from this point on with only six races left in the season.
Despite being held up by traffic during the race and a roll of the dice on strategy which failed to help him meet his target, Vettel stands by the decision made by his team.
”It’s never easy to come and win even if, obviously, that was our target,” said Vettel. “Yesterday the qualifying didn’t go the way we wanted and we couldn’t extract the best out of ourselves. Today, starting from third position, we had to try something different, but it didn’t work out and we finished where we started.”
“We were running second after a good start which allowed me to get past Max, I was happy and confident when I got the call to box, I knew I needed a mega out lap to try and challenge for the lead but it didn’t work. I lost time behind another car and the brakes got a little too hot, it was close but we got the worse of it. I fully support the team’s decision because, as I am sitting in the car, I can’t be aware of everything that goes on, so I rely on them,” he said.
Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas finished fourth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who held off Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo in sixth.
Fernando Alonso made a monster 38-lap stint on the ultra-soft tires to finish seventh for McLaren in what might be his final Singapore Grand Prix.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz finished eighth ahead of Charles Leclerc who took his sixth points scoring finish of the season in ninth as he prepares to join Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari next season. Nico Hulkenberg took the final points paying position in tenth.
Outside the top ten, Marcus Ericsson finished 11th followed by Stoffel Vandoorne who finished 12th after qualifying 18th. Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly took 13th ahead of the Williams of Lance Stroll in 14th.
Romain Grosjean finished 15th after having a scrap with the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin on lap 37. In the end, Grosjean finished 14th but was hit with a 5-second time penalty for not heeding the blue flags to let race leader Lewis Hamilton by who was behind Grosjean as he was battling Sirotkin.
Sergio Perez was the only Force India to finish the race in 16th after losing teammate Esteban Ocon when the two made heavy contact with each other at the start of the race. Perez also had a tussle with Sirotkin which resulted in contact between the two drivers. Perez was hit with a drive-through penalty.
Brendon Harley finished 17th in the second Toro Rosso followed by Grojean’s teammate Kevin Magnussen in 18th with Sergey Sirotkin at the bottom of the time sheet in 19th.