Formula 1

Hamilton Takes Championship Lead With Singapore Win

2 Mins read

Lewis Hamilton drove a near perfect race to take victory and the championship lead away from Singapore after his team-mate Nico Rosberg was forced to retire from the race with mechanical problems.

There was drama before the race started and Rosberg was clearly in trouble on the grid as the team worked frantically around the Mercedes; As the grid cleared and the cars went on their formation lap Rosberg was left on the start-line. The team wheeled his car back to the garage with the German forced to start the race from the pitlane.

Kamui Kobayashi was an early retirement as his Caterham came to a halt on circuit, the Japanese driver was forced to leave his car where it was and probably left wondering how many times he will be on circuit this year after he admitted he may not be taking part in his home Grand Prix.

As the lights went out Hamilton jumped in to the lead from pole position as Sebastian Vettel followed after a strong start leap-frogged him ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard had managed to get a good start but out-braked himself in to turn 1.

After starting from the pitlane Rosberg set about trying to make progress through the backmarkers, but it was clear that the Mercedes was in trouble and by lap 13 he pitted for his first pitstop, this would be where the race would end as the W05 failed to engage a gear.

A safety car would be brought out on lap 31 following a coming together between Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez. The front wing of the Force India would self-destruct on track sending carbon fibre cascading across the circuit, giving the marshals the job of clearing up the debris.

Six laps behind the safety car slowed the pace of the race down and bunched the field back up but Hamilton wasn’t going to let this faze him and a lap after the race restart was already over 3 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton would stretch his lead to more than 25 seconds before making his final pitstop but this wouldn’t be enough to keep him ahead of the reigning world champion, as he rejoined the race Vettel powered through with Hamilton being made to fend off the advances of Daniel Ricciardo.

With Hamilton on fresh tyres it wouldn’t take long for the Englishman to take back the lead and power on to victory as the time limit hit two hours.

The two Red Bulls would come home 2-3 with Vettel returning to the podium for the first time since Canada and taking his best finish of the season ahead of team-mate Ricciardo.

Fernando Alonso drove a strong race but couldn’t quite do enough behind the Red Bull drivers. Felipe Massa took fifth place after an early race battle with Kimi Raikkonen.

An impressive drive from Jean-Eric Vergne would see the Frenchman equal his best ever finish of sixth place despite having a 5 second penalty applied to his race result.

Perez would follow a similar pattern of Vergne and recover to seventh place following his earlier front wing problems ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

Valtteri Bottas was the the biggest loser of the closing stages of the race as he fell from sixth place back to eleventh.

Jenson Button looked set to score points for seventh place but he McLaren broke down and a quick reboot of the system couldn’t repair it. His retirement marking the first time he hadn’t finished a race since the Korean Grand Prix in 2012.

With Rosberg failing to score any points Hamilton now leads the championship by three points ahead of his team-mate with five Grand Prix left of the 2014 season. Red Bull’s Ricciardo trails Hamilton by 60 points while Fernando Alonso is now 108 points adrift of the number 1 position.

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