Lewis Hamilton extended his world championship lead to 40 points with victory in the Singapore Grand Prix.
Starting from pole, the Brit held off the challenge of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who finished second, while Sebastian Vettel was third as Ferrari again made hard work of strategy.
Despite the wonderful setting of lights around the harbour, the race itself was not a joy to behold.
But Hamilton again proved himself a convincing championship leader. After a wonderful qualifying lap on Saturday – a blitz seventh pole of the season – he got away cleanly at the start and made no mistake over 61 laps, during which he was mostly out in front.
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Vettel, who started third, passed Verstappen well on the straight on lap one, but his team brought him in to be reshod at an unhelpful time and probably too soon. The stop left him stranded behind Sergio Perez’s Force India.
So when Hamilton emerged from his stop the following lap he was in front of the German (and Perez).
That was pretty much that in terms of the top-two rivalry. The only major threat Hamilton faced came from Verstappen, who got close to Hamilton as the pair of them became ensnared among backmarkers halfway through the race.
Hamilton was alert to the danger and planted his Mercedes straight in Verstappen’s path. Romain Grosjean was given a five-second penalty for ignoring the blue flags.
The victory was another important milestone for Hamilton. With six races, and 150 points, remaining, he has a tight grip on the title destiny.
All the more so because the Marina Bay Circuit in the centre of Singapore was meant to favour the characteristics of the Ferrari over those of Mercedes.