Lewis Hamilton won the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix to take a 40-point lead in the standings after championship rival Sebastian Vettel finished third behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Lewis managed to produce a fantastic qualifying lap on Saturday to take pole position for Sunday’s race. He scored a Q3 lap time of 1:36.015, a whopping 0.613 seconds faster than Sebastian Vettel who started the race from third. Max Verstappen was 0.319 seconds slower and started from P2. Qualifying results were truly unexpected as the street circuit was not a strong circuit for Mercedes.
The lights went out at 15h10 and unlike last year, there was no Turn 1 drama. However, Lap 1 was not incident-free as a collision between Racing Point Force India drivers forced Esteban Ocon out of the race. This, in turn, initiated a safety car period that would last for a couple of laps. Sebastian managed to overtake Max just before the safety car period.
After the safety car, Seb tried to overtake Lewis but it didn’t work. The frontrunners then ran nearly 11 seconds off the qualifying pace to preserve their fragile hypersoft tyres and extend the first stint as far as possible.
Ferrari pitted Vettel first and opted for Ultrasofts. But, the Italian team miscalculated the stop’s timing and the German joined the race behind Sergio Perez and spent two laps bottled up behind him.
Ferrari’s tyre compound choice was questioned when Hamilton and Verstappen pitted on successive laps to take on Soft Pirellis with a clear strategy of running to the end with no further stops. And their stop timing’s miscalculation led to Verstappen emerging ahead of Vettel after the former’s pitstop. From there on, the race was all about damage limitation for Vettel; he was pushed back to third and had to preserve his softer tyres to avoid pitting again.
Interesting “Class B” battles took place and one, in particular, resulted in an outburst: Racing Point Force India mistimed Sergio’s stop and he got stuck behind a much slower Sergey Sirotkin. His rivals, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, were gaining 1.5 to 2 seconds on him every lap. He was struggling to overtake the Russian and when he finally did, he “closed the door too early” on him. That resulted in a collision that the Mexican would later get penalized for.
Lewis and Max caught up with the slower cars and started overtaking them. Then, they reached Grosjean who was so caught up in trying to overtake Sirotkin that he ignored the blue flags. Those were a worrying couple of seconds for the world champion as both drivers were all over the place and Max was within attacking range.
Once clear, though, Hamilton stretched his margin out to 3s again and remained out of reach until the chequered flag, eventually finishing 8.9s clear – with Vettel a further 39.9s down the road. The victory extended the Brit’s lead to 40 points with 6 rounds to go.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||TAG||8.961|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||TAG||53.982|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Renault||Renault||1 lap|
|9||Charles Leclerc||Sauber||Ferrari||1 lap|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||Renault||1 lap|
|11||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber||Ferrari||1 lap|
|12||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren||Renault||1 lap|
|13||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||Honda||1 lap|
|14||Lance Stroll||Williams||Mercedes||1 lap|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Haas||Ferrari||1 lap|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India||Mercedes||1 lap|
|17||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso||Honda||1 lap|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||Ferrari||2 laps|
|19||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams||Mercedes||2 laps|
|Esteban Ocon||Force India||Mercedes|