Lewis Hamilton takes his seventh win of the season at the dramatic Singapore GP

17 September 2017

At the Singapore GP at the Marina Bay circuit, Lewis Hamilton claimed an important victory in this year’s title race (his seventh of the season) to extend his lead in the championship to 28 points ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas after his rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the race.

As the cars arrived on the grid 15 minutes ahead of the race, rain started to fall and lightning lit up the sky over Singapore. It was the first time in the Singapore Grand Prix’s history that rain had hit on race day and the grid was a mix of drivers opting for intermediate and full-wet tyres.

The start of the race saw Max Verstappen making a good start, but so did Kimi Raikkonen from fourth and he was soon alongside Verstappen. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel’s getaway was routine but he soon found Verstappen closing in on him on the inside, and the Ferrari driver moved across to cover the Red Bull, apparently unaware Raikkonen was on the other side of the No.33 car and next to the pit wall.

Sandwiched between the two Ferraris, Verstappen made contact with Raikkonen, sending the Raikkonen’s car into the pit wall. Raikkonen touched Vettel and lost control of his car as he collected Verstappen and Fernando Alonso in Turn 1.7

The incident took Verstappen and Raikkonen out on the spot, while Vettel continued with a scarred sidepod and fluid draining from the cooling systems within. Alonso also continued despite a large chunk of his sidepod and floor missing, but he retired on Lap eight after McLaren lost all telemetry from the car.

The first corner accident led to a five-lap Safety Car period, with Hamilton leading Ricciardo and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg at the restart. Despite his struggles earlier in the weekend, Hamilton’s car looked good in the wet conditions and he built a five-second buffer to Ricciardo within a handful of laps.

On Lap 11 Daniil Kvyat outbraked himself at Turn 7 and buried his Toro Rosso in the wall beyond the run-off area. The stricken Toro Rosso and damaged barriers caused a second Safety Car and presented the first opportunity for a variation in strategies. The track was still too wet for slicks, but pitting for a fresh set of intermediates was a no-brainer for Ricciardo, who took on new rubber but still retained second place. Bottas moved up to third by not pitting and Carlos Sainz was elevated to fourth on the same strategy.

Hulkenberg then dropped to fifth by following Ricciardo’s lead and switching from the full wets he started on to a set of new intermediates.

Despite the slight tyre disadvantage, Hamilton again built a lead over Ricciardo at the restart on Lap 14. Kevin Magnussen was the first to brave slicks on Lap 25 and within two laps the rest of the field followed suit. Mercedes played it conservative by keeping Hamilton out on intermediates a lap later than Ricciardo, but by the time he returned to the track his lead had extended to over ten seconds.

But Ricciardo managed to take a couple of seconds out of Hamilton in the following stint, but keen to protect his rear tyres, Hamilton was able to manage the race from the front.
The Singapore GP gave us all one final curve ball. This was thrown on Lap 38 when Marcus Ericsson lost the rear of his Sauber on the Anderson Bridge and clipped the barrier. Unable to carry on, Ericsson jumped out of his car and left it blocking one of the bridge’s two lanes, causing a third Safety Car period of the race.

Once again, Hamilton nailed the restart and built a third and final lead over Ricciardo, which he held until the chequered flag. Through drying conditions and three safety car periods, Hamilton led a reduced field of cars until the race time limit of two hours elapsed on lap 58. Despite having his lead zeroed during at three Safety Car restarts, he held off Daniel Ricciardo in second place and crossed the finish line with a 4.5s lead over the Red Bull.

So it was Lewis Hamilton who won the Singapore GP, his seventh win of the season, has now extended his drivers’ championship lead to 28 points. This is now enough for him to retire from the next race and still lead the championship regardless of Vettel’s result.

Hamilton finished ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in second place who was 4.507 seconds behind him and ahead of Valtteri Bottas in third place who was 8.800 seconds behind Hamilton. With Bottas completing a strong result for the Mercedes team yesterday, they now have a 102-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.

Carlos Sainz Jr finished the race in a brilliant fourth place (best result of his career) ahead of Sergio Perez in fifth place and Jolyon Palmer in sixth place who took his first points of the season in a weekend that hasn’t been kind to the British driver.

Stoffel Vandoorne finished in a brilliant seventh place ahead of Lance Stroll in eighth place, Romain Grosjean in ninth place and Esteban Ocon who rounded off the top ten finishers.
Felipe Massa ended the race just out of the points in eleventh place ahead of Pascal Wehrlein in twelfth place. Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg, Marcus Ericsson, Daniil Kvyat, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen did not finish the race.

The classification for the Singapore GP is as follows:-

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2.03:23.544s
2. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-TAG Heuer, 4.507s
3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 8.800s
4. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 22.822s
5. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 25.359s
6. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 27.259s
7. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, 30.388s
8. Lance Stroll, Williams-Mercedes, 41.696s
9. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, 43.282s
10. Esteban Ocon, Force India-Mercedes, 44.795s
11. Felipe Massa, Williams-Mercedes, 46.536s
12. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber-Ferrari, 2 laps
13. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, Not Classified
14. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Not Classified
15. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari, Not Classified
16. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Not Classified
17. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, Not Classified
18. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Not Classified
19. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Not Classified
20. Max Verstappen, Red-Bull-TAG Heuer, Not Classified

Lewis Hamilton leads the 2017 Formula One Drivers Championship with 263 points, Sebastian Vettel is in second place with 235 points, Valtteri Bottas is third with 212 points, Daniel Ricciardo is fourth with 162 points, Kimi Raikkonen is fifth with 138 points, Max Verstappen is sixth with 68 points, Sergio Perez is seventh with 68 points, Esteban Ocon is eighth with 56 points, Carlos Sainz Jr is ninth with 48 points, Nico Hulkenberg is tenth with 34 points, Felipe Massa is eleventh with 31 points, Lance Stroll is twelfth with 28 points, Romain Grosjean is thirteenth with 26 points, Kevin Magnussen is fourteenth with 11 points, Fernando Alonso is fifteenth with 10 points, Jolyon Palmer is sixteenth with 8 points, Stoffel Vandoorne is seventeenth with 7 points, Pascal Wehrlein is eighteenth with 5 points and Daniil Kvyat is nineteenth with 4 points.

Mercedes leads the Constructors Championship with 475 points, Ferrari are second with 373 points, Red Bull is third with 230 points, Force India are fourth with 124 points, Williams are fifth with 59 points, Toro Rosso are sixth with 52 points, Renault are seventh with 42 points, Haas are eighth with 37 points, McLaren are eighth with 17 points and Sauber are tenth with 5 points.

Sarah Jones- @jonesy_laaa