• Singapore GP - Race

Hamilton leads title race after victory in Singapore

Laurence Edmondson in Singapore
September 21, 2014
© Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton took the lead of the championship with victory at the Singapore Grand Prix after his Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg started from the pit lane and retired 14 laps later.

The Story of the Race

  • Shock: Nico Rosberg's race effectively ending before it had started, meaning he could only sit and watch Hamilton take over the championship lead.
  • Shocker: Sauber's double DNF left Esteban Gutierrez throwing a tantrum in the garage - an understandable reaction from what has been a rotten, rotten year for the team.
  • Best overtake: Vergne's late lunge down the inside of Kimi Raikkonen was spectacular.
  • Worst overtake: Adrian Sutil was lucky to avoid a penalty when he chopped across on Sergio Perez, the incident which brought out the safety car.
  • Best lap: Hamilton gained 3.2 seconds on Vettel when the safety car came in on lap 39, the start of a race-winning stint on the super-soft tyre.
  • Worst lap: Valtteri Bottas' tyres needed just one more lap to hold on to an incredible seventh, but they gave up on him and relegated him out of the points agonisingly close to the finish.
  • Drive of the day: Hamilton was superb throughout, especially after the safety car, but Jean-Eric Vergne's late charge to sixth with his F1 future hanging in the balance was superb with two late moves on Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas.
  • Nate Saunders

Hamilton won by 13.5s but was made to work for it after a safety car period upset his strategy. Behind him Sebastian Vettel held off Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo for second, with Fernando Alonso, who also lost out under the safety car, fourth for Ferrari.

Rosberg could only watch from the Mercedes pit wall as Hamilton crossed the line for victory and with it took a three point lead in the championship - the first time he has led the title race since the Spanish Grand Prix. Rosberg experienced an electrical glitch on the grid that meant he failed to make it away on the warm-up lap and had to start from the pit lane. After making slow progress through the field he pitted for a new steering wheel on lap 14 but was unable to operate the clutch and select a gear, which brought an end to his race.

As a result of Rosberg's issues, which first emerged as soon as he got in the car in the garage, Hamilton had a vacant grid spot next to him and easily held the lead into the first corner. Behind him, Alonso overshot Turn 1 as he attempted to pass both Red Bulls on the outside, meaning he had to cede second position to Vettel later in the lap. Hamilton soon built a comfortable lead over Vettel, with the first pit stops coming after just eight laps.

In the second stint Alonso started to put the pressure on Vettel and took second place at the second pit stops. However, both Alonso and Hamilton opted for a third set of super-softs while the Red Bulls took on softs. It proved to be a wise decision from the reigning champions as a collision between Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil a few laps later resulted in the safety car coming out.

It is mandatory for drivers to use both compounds during the race, so Hamilton and Alonso still had to pit while the Red Bulls were able to go to the end of the race. Ferrari took the hit of the extra pit stop under the safety car and pitted both its drivers - in Alonso's case just seven laps after his second stop. Hamilton, however, opted to stay out on track in the knowledge that his pace advantage would allow him to build a lead when the safety car came in and allow him to stop later.

Just five laps after racing had resumed, the Mercedes had an 11.5s lead and seven laps later it was comfortably over 25s. On lap 51 his tyres were well past their best and he started to lose time to Vettel in second place, forcing him to pit. The Mercedes pit crew did not miss a beat and got Hamilton was stationary for just 2.9s. He came out behind Vettel but within two laps he was able to use his fresher tyres and DRS to breeze up the inside at the high-speed Turn 6. From that point on only a reliability issue could stop Hamilton, but the car held together to the line.

Behind him Vettel, Ricciardo and Alonso were bunched up, but despite a battery problem on Ricciardo's car and ageing tyres on both Red Bulls, the Ferrari could not find a way past. Felipe Massa took fifth place in the Williams but his team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggled with his tyres in the last two laps and tumbled down the order. The biggest beneficiary was Jean-Eric Vergne, who completed a breathtaking overtaking manoeuvre on Kimi Raikkonen while the Ferrari was bottled up behind the Williams. Vergne then got past Bottas as well to take a well-deserved sixth place in the Toro Rosso.

Sergio Perez also took advantage of Bottas as the Williams got increasingly sideways towards the end of the lap and Perez was able to move up to seventh place ahead of Raikkonen in eighth. Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen also both found a way past Bottas on the final lap to take the last few points on offer.

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