Singapore Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has taken victory under the lights at Marina Bay. He saw off the challenge of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen & Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
As the lights went out at the race start, Hamilton got off the line well to hold the lead into Turn 1, while Vettel managed to get alongside Verstappen. Baulked on the outside of the Red Bull, Vettel fell back in behind Verstappen but was able to outdrag him down the back straight and swoop into P2. This was perfectly timed, as the Safety Car immediately came out to cover a crash that eliminated Force India’s Esteban Ocon. The French driver had started well and was alongside teammate Sergio Perez when the Mexican driver moved out wide and hit Ocon, pitching him straight into the wall. Ocon was out on the spot, while Perez was able to continue in P7 without damage.
When racing resumed on Lap 5, Hamilton kept the pace restrained. This allowed Sebastian Vettel to stay roughly within DRS range, with Max Verstappen stalking right behind the Ferrari. This stayed pretty static until the end of Lap 14, when Sebastian Vettel was the first of the frontrunners to dive into the pits. He took on the UltraSoft tyres, and attempted to undercut the Mercedes. However, he quickly caught up on the back of Sergio Perez and lost a small bit of time as he negotiated his way past the Force India. Hamilton took the opportunity to pit from the lead and took on the Soft tyres and came out ahead of both Perez & Vettel.
Verstappen, now leading, pitted and took on the Soft tyres and came out alongside Vettel. Claiming the inside line for Turn 2, he held his nerve and position and quickly opened up a three second lead over the Ferrari driver. Kimi Raikkonen was now the leader, ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, with the Finn pitting for Soft tyres at the end of Lap 22. Five laps later, Daniel Ricciardo also came in and took on the UltraSoft. After all these stops, Hamilton led from Verstappen by about five seconds, with Vettel a further five seconds behind.
Aside from a mid-race bit of drama where Hamilton got badly held up while lapping the squabbling Williams of Sergey Sirotkin and Haas’ Romain Grosjean that allowed Verstappen to briefly attack, Hamilton was untroubled until the end of the race. He came home ten seconds clear of Verstappen, while Vettel struggled home on his UltraSoft tyres over thirty seconds behind Hamilton.
Bottas, Raikkonen & Ricciardo finished nose to tail as they drove around close to each other approaching the chequered flag, but there was no serious attempts from any of them to get past each other. Fernando Alonso finished P7 in his McLaren after running long on UltraSofts for the first stint before swapping to the Soft tyres. Carlos Sainz finished P8 for Renault, ahead of Sauber’s Charles Leclerc who took P9 on his first visit to Singapore. Nico Hulkenberg was the final points scorer as he brought home P10 in the second Renault.
Marcus Ericsson finished P11 in the second Sauber; he ran an extremely long opening stint on the UltraSoft before a late race switch to the HyperSofts. Stoffel Vandoorne came home in P12 for McLaren, while Pierre Gasly brought home his Toro Rosso in P13. Lance Stroll was P14 for Williams and Romain Grosjean P15 for Haas. The French driver was given a five second time penalty for ignoring blue flags while Hamilton was right behind him. Sergio Perez was P16 for Force India. Having run P7 in the early stages after his clash with Ocon, he ended up getting stuck behind Sergey Sirotkin after his pitstop and getting very frustrated while staring at the back of the Williams. Passing around the outside, Perez moved over across the bows of the Williams far too early and collided with him. While both were able to continue, Perez was given a drive through penalty.
Brendon Hartley finished P17 in the second Toro Rosso, Kevin Magnussen P18 for Haas after struggling throughout the entire weekend, and Sirotkin the last classified runner after his clash with Perez and requiring a late race pitstop for a set of HyperSoft tyres.
Hamilton’s win elevates him to forty points clear of Sebastian Vettel in the Driver’s Championship with just six races remaining, while Mercedes are twenty five points ahead in the Constructor’s table.