Hamilton takes F1 lead
SINGAPORE (AP): For Nico Rosberg, early retirement from the Singapore Grand Prix was painful. Seeing his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton win the race and snatch back the championship lead was agonising.
Hamilton won his seventh race of the season yesterday to move to 241 points, ahead of Rosberg on 238 with five races left. The advantage is thin but the Briton carries all the momentum after back-to-back victories and Rosberg's hopes of his first F1 title are diminishing.
Hamilton started from pole position and led comfortably for much of the race but was forced into a late pit stop, briefly giving up the race lead to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, before he passed the German seven laps from the finish to win by 13.5 seconds at the Marina Bay circuit.
Rosberg was forced to start from pit lane due to a failure on the installation lap, and he did 14 laps at the back of the field in the stricken car before retiring. The team identified a problem in the steering column, which prevented full usage of the steering wheel, affecting gear selection and preventing use of stored battery power.
"I came here hoping to gain seven points (on Rosberg) and thinking anything more than that is a bonus," Hamilton said. "Those extra points are a huge help.
"This is game time. This is about hunting. In my head, I don't think I am leading the championship. There are still five races left and all I'm going to do is what I've done in the last two races, which is just attack every session."
"It was a horrible feeling to see everyone go because then I knew it was over," Rosberg said.
Vettel, who temporarily looked like winning Singapore for the fourth-straight year, finished second, just holding off Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who moved to 60 points off the championship lead. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fourth. Second to fourth places were separated by just 1.8 seconds.
Williams' driver Felipe Massa was fifth, ahead of fast-finishing Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne. Seventh through 10th places were fought out right until the final corner, with Sergio Perez of Force India seventh and his teammate Nico Hulkenberg ninth, while Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was eighth and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen 10th.