Lewis Hamilton looked exhausted as he exited his W09 following the Singapore Grand Prix, but the Briton took another step towards the championship with his seventh victory of the season, and his fourth in five races.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver came into the weekend expecting a tough time of it as the team had traditionally struggled around the Marina Bay Street Circuit but Qualifying on Saturday showed the team had the pace and it was something Hamilton wanted to capitalise on, which he did to perfection.
“I’m so excited,” said Hamilton. “I came here knowing that Singapore is a hard one for us. But I’m always optimistic, thinking that if we’re really diligent and do our work, we can create some chances.
“Then Friday was already a good day for us. Saturday didn’t start off well, but then all of the sudden that special lap came in. Knowing that we would start on pole, I knew that it was a great opportunity for us to capitalise on.”
Hamilton was pleased with his start that gave him the advantage at the front of the field and despite Max Verstappen getting close when they were going through the traffic, particularly when they came up to the battling Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin, he was able to maintain his position and take another giant leap towards his fifth World Drivers’ Championship. With title rival Sebastian Vettel finishing only third, it means the Briton leaves Singapore with a forty-point advantage at the top with just six races remaining.
“I had a great start and from then I was able to manage it,” said Hamilton. “When I hit the traffic, I was just mindful not to take any risks. When you start to get closer to another car, you start losing grip and start sliding around more, so there’s a higher chance of mistakes.
“If you’re lucky you catch the cars at the right point and they let you by so you don’t lose any time, but today I always caught them at an unfortunate point. So when Max was right behind, I had to go on the defensive, and I thought to myself “Bro, you’re not getting by – not today!”
“It was physically such a demanding race, so I’m relieved that it’s over now – it felt like such a long night, but I’m super grateful for the result.”