Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Vettel's recklessness plays into Hamilton's hands

Published:Monday | September 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (right) of Britain kisses his trophy after winning the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit Singapore, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia looks on after his second place finish.

SINGAPORE (AP):

Lewis Hamilton had been worried about how many points he would lose to Sebastian Vettel at the Singapore Grand Prix. It was supposed to be a damage limitation exercise for Mercedes after a poor performance in qualifying.

Instead, Hamilton took a significant stride toward the world title after winning yesterday's race from fifth place on the grid.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo prevented a Mercedes 1-2 by finishing ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Fourth place went to Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr a career best for the Spanish driver.

Vettel made one of the worst starts of his distinguished career, throwing away pole position as he recklessly caused a crash heading into the first corner. The Ferrari driver took three others out with him and critically, none was a Mercedes.

Instead of moving ahead of Hamilton in their enthralling title battle, Vettel now trails him by 28 points with six races left.

 

PERFECT SCENARIO

 

"It couldn't be a more perfect scenario," Hamilton said. "I definitely went in today thinking it was about damage limitation. To come out of it in the other direction is a shock."

Vettel was supposed to score heavily here. With less speed and 23 turns, the hard-braking Marina Bay circuit suited Ferrari much more than Mercedes. This was further reflected in qualifying, with Bottas sixth and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen starting fourth.

Furthermore, Vettel had the Singapore record for wins (four) and podiums (six).

But in a few seconds, he threw it all away.

The German driver gunned across the track, triggering first-turn mayhem and causing a domino effect as Raikkonen, Red Bull's Max Verstappen and McLaren's Fernando Alonso all crashed with him.

On one of the toughest tracks in Formula One for overtaking, Hamilton would have been pleased with a podium finish.

Instead, the field opened up perfectly for the British driver to seal his third straight

win, seventh of the season and 60th overall.

"I capitalised on the incident," Hamilton said. "Who could have known that would happen?"

 

F1 Singapore Grand Prix Results:

 

Name Nationality Manufacturer Laps Time Points

1. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes 58 2:03:23.544 25

2. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer 58 +4.507 seconds 18

3. Valtteri Bottas Finland Mercedes 58 +8.800 15

4. Carlos Sainz Spain Toro Rosso 58 +22.822 12

5. Sergio Perez Mexico Force India Mercedes 58 +25.359 10

6. Jolyon Palmer Britain Renault 58 +27.259 8

7. Stoffel Vandoorne Belgium McLaren Honda 58 +30.388 6

8. Lance Stroll Canada Williams Mercedes 58 +41.696 4

9. Romain Grosjean France Haas Ferrari 58 +43.282 2

10. Esteban Ocon France Force India Mercedes 58 +44.795 1

11. Felipe Massa Brazil Williams Mercedes 58 +46.536

12. Pascal Wehrlein Germany Sauber Ferrari 56 +2 laps.

 

Not classified

 

10. Esteban Ocon France Force India Mercedes 58 +44.795 1

Kevin Magnussen Denmak Haas Ferrari 50 did not finish

Nico Hulkenberg Germany Renault 48 did not finish

Marcus Ericsson Sweden Sauber Ferrari 35 did not finish

Daniil Kvyat Russia Toro Rosso 10 did not finish

Fernando Alonso Spain McLaren Honda 8 did not finish

Sebastian Vettel Germany Ferrari 0 did not finish

Max Verstappen Netherlands Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer 0 did not finish

Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 0 did not finish.

 

Driver Standings

 

1. Lewis Hamilton 263

2. Sebastian Vettel 235

3. Valtteri Bottas 212

4. Daniel Ricciardo 162

5. Kimi Raikkonen 138

6. Max Verstappen 68

7. Sergio Perez 68

8. Esteban Ocon 56

9. Carlos Sainz 48

10. Nico Hulkenberg 34

11. Felipe Massa 31

12. Lance Stroll 28

13. Romain Grosjean 26

14. Kevin Magnussen 11

15. Fernando Alonso 10

16. Jolyon Palmer 8

17. Stoffel Vandoorne 7

18. Pascal Wehrlein 5

19. Daniil Kvyat 4

 

Manufacturers Standings

 

1. Mercedes 475

2. Ferrari 373

3. Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer 230

4. Force India Mercedes 124

5. Williams Mercedes 59

6. Toro Rosso 52

7. Renault 42

8. Haas Ferrari 37

9. McLaren Honda 17

10. Sauber Ferrari 5