So, another race done and dusted. The heat and humidity of Singapore overcome for another year. After a dramatic qualifying session yesterday that saw Lewis Hamilton snatch pole by just 0.007 seconds, the chances were good that the battle would be a tight one between himself and title rival (and Mercedes teammate) Nico Rosberg.
The race produced late drama but not because of anything Rosberg did. His race was effectively over before it even began, an electrical problem with his steering wheel extending to problems with gear control and telemetry that saw him forced to start from the pit lane. His pace was off and an attempt to ‘reboot’ the car in the pits failed, leaving him unable to continue after just 14 laps.
(Hamilton leads into the first few turns as Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso runs wide – picture via The Sunday Telegraph)
Hamilton’s win was not easy though. Whilst he peeled away from the pack quite easily at the start, and looked to be comfortably in control after the first round of pit stops, a safety car period (an ideal time for fresh tyres and with a mandatory pit stop still to come) was not exploited, and Lewis, although on the softer, faster tyre, needed to build up a lead of at least 27 seconds to be sure of getting into the pits and out again ahead of Vettel. In the end, with a handful of laps to go, Hamilton made his stop, and came out right behind the German.
On fresher tyres and in a better car, Hamilton swiftly got past Vettel’s Red Bull, and went on to win.
That win now sees Hamilton take a three-point lead in the title race, and leads for the first time since May. There is still some way to go, but Lewis has seven wins to Rosberg’s four, has won the last two, and looks to be getting some momentum. Will he be able to maintain it, or will Rosberg respond?