Lewis Hamilton was surprised with his victory in the Singapore Grand Prix as his main championship rival, Sebastian Vettel, retired from the lead on lap one following a dramatic clash with his team-mate and Max Verstappen.
“What a day – I can’t believe it, I’m so happy!” said Hamilton. “I came in today and I saw that I was raining and I knew that this balances everything out. I love racing in the rain, then everything unfolded in the beginning.”
The Marina Bay Street Circuit was always believed to offer the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team their biggest challenge of the season, and indeed, both Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggled to match their rivals Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing in qualifying.
Starting on intermediate tyres in fifth as rain fell around the circuit, Hamilton passed Daniel Ricciardo and benefited from a dramatic collision between both Ferraris and the Red Bull of Verstappen to lead the first lap and not be headed until the finish. Hamilton credited the weather for the part it played in his shock success.
“Starting on the Intermediates I thought it was going to be much closer pace-wise,” revealed Hamilton. “These conditions give you the opportunity to really make a difference with your driving.
“It was the first time for all of us driving here in the rain, so it was a massive challenge. But I love that when you have to rise to the toughest of challenges, that’s the most exciting part for me. Then it was all about staying focused and not making any mistakes.
Hamilton’s seventh victory of the year – his third in a row – extends his lead in the driver’s championship to twenty-eight points but he was quick to point out that his team has also made big strides in securing a fourth consecutive constructor’s championship.
“We came to a track that was potentially our weakest circuit and we leave with a win like this and so many points – that’s a very fortunate scenario for us,” said Hamilton. “Valtteri also did a great job, so to have all these constructors’ points is awesome.”