Lewis Hamilton won the Singapore Grand Prix today to take over the lead in the drivers’ standings while his teammate Nico Rosberg was faced with mechanical problems and forced into early retirement. Red Bull got lucky this round as they took the remaining two podiums. Ferrari finished fourth while Williams rounded off the top five. The race ended early with one lap to go as the 2 hour limit was over.
Rosberg ran out of luck from the beginning of the race after his car developed gearbox issues meaning he had to start the from the pit lanes. Capitalising on this, Hamilton slid away from the pack behind him until the 31st lap when the safety car came out. This was after Sergio Perez’s Force India car made contact with Adrian Sutil’s Sauber resulting in his rear wing breaking into pieces on the track.
Fernando Alonso was running second at that time having held off the Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. During the red flag session Alonso lost his second place, rejoining the race in fourth place after the safety car exited the track. Hamilton was still in the lead but he needed fresh tyres in order to keep up with the pack behind him. The Briton pitted on the 52nd lap, lost his lead to Vettel until the 54th lap when he quickly sliced through Vettel to regain it. This was his seventh win of the season and his second career win in Singapore.
After the race, Hamilton said, “It was great to come here after winning in Monza and start the final leg of the season with such a competitive car. It would have been a really hardcore race if Nico had been at the front, as we clearly had the pace. It was all running pretty comfortably until the Safety Car came out, which gave me some problems. I was driving hard to build the gap but then the tyres started dropping off and I wasn’t sure what to do – keep pushing or back off to look after them.
“So we pitted straight away and I came out behind Seb. But I knew they were on a two-stop strategy and that his tyres were old. I went for it down the back straight – the gap was pretty small and maybe I could have chosen another point on the circuit. But I luckily squeezed through and made it stick. Of course, it’s not an ideal result with Nico retiring, so that shows we still have work to do to get on top of reliability. But it’s been a great job from the team at everyone at the factories to make this mega car. Now we need to keep pushing hard for Japan in two weeks’ time,” he said.
Vettel, Ricciardo and Alonso finished in second, third and fourth respectively. Felipe Massa finished in fifth for Williams while Jean-Eric Vergne outshined the rest by finishing sixth for Toro Rosso. Other than Rosberg, McLaren’s Jenson Button retired too with a power issue whle his teammate Kevin Magnussen gave the team the final points of the day by finishing in tenth place. The two Saubers of Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil also retired from the race.
Hamilton is now in the lead with a three-points margin ahead of Rosberg, 241 to 238. Ricciardo is third with 181 points while Alonso climbed back to fourth with 133 points while Vettel is fifth with 124 points. Mercedes still leads the constructors’ points with a total of 479 points to Red Bull’s 305. The next Grand Prix will take place on October 3 in Japan.