Jet-setting Hamilton stays on track for title after Singapore win

Lewis Hamilton is ready to kick back and relax after his whirlwind trip around the globe climaxed with victory in Singapore and a major step towards another world championship.

Lewis Hamilton.
Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton will head into the final six rounds with a 40-point championship lead following a commanding win under the thousands of bulbs that light up the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

This was supposed to be a Ferrari track, but Sebastian Vettel will leave the Far East staring down the barrel at another title defeat to his relentless rival. He crossed the line only in third.

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Vettel should have finished one place higher, but for a Ferrari strategy blunder costing him second to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

Ferrari pitted Vettel early in a bid to usurp Hamilton for the lead, but their move backfired as the German got caught up behind Sergio Perez and Verstappen, in clear air, stole the position.

In truth, it cost Vettel only three points. Hamilton was never likely to be beaten here after delivering the lap of his life to take an unlikely pole position and cruising to the flag.

On his arrival in Singapore, the 33-year-old batted away suggestions that the promotion of his debut Tommy Hilfiger fashion collection in Shanghai and New York – a journey that saw him clock up 25,000 miles in just 10 days – was something of a gamble. Here, on Sunday, he was vindicated.

“I know there were questions at the start of the week as to whether these things outside of Formula 1 are a distraction to me,” Hamilton said.

“I came here, and I thought ‘jeez, if I put one foot wrong, people are going to point to the things I do as a result of it’.

“But you can see that it doesn’t affect my performance, and if anything those things add to the performance. The last two weeks have been intense so I am looking forward to a couple of days off.”

The foundations for Hamilton’s victory were laid in place after his dazzling pole lap. His start was then flawless, and even the squabbling backmarkers of Sergey Sirotkin and Romain Grosjean did not put Hamilton off his stride.

On lap 38, and busy jostling for the minor places, the duo did not see Hamilton which allowed Verstappen to close on the back of his Mercedes. But, unflustered, Hamilton defended from the Dutchman before seeing off the backmarkers, too.

Fireworks greeted the Brit as he took the flag nearly nine seconds clear of Verstappen, and the best part of 40 ahead of Vettel. And all of this at a slow-speed venue which is supposed to be a bogey track for Mercedes.