Article

Hamilton genius triumphs over Ferrari desperation in Singapore

17 septembre 2018 17:51

The Formula One title fight between Mercedes and Ferrari that once threatened to go down to the wire is in danger of turning into a mismatch.

Lewis Hamilton's triumph at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday put him 40 points clear of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' championship, while the Silver Arrows now head the Scuderia by 37 points in the constructors' championship.

Mercedes' success at Marina Bay was perhaps one of the more unexpected wins for a team that has utterly dominated the sport since 2014, coming at a circuit where they have traditionally struggled to find the pace that comes to them so naturally at other locations. Yes, Hamilton won there in 2017, but only after an early crash eliminated his major rivals.

But it was a product of the desperation of Ferrari and Hamilton's remarkable proclivity for producing the incredible.

The pole lap that allowed him to control the race most definitely falls into that category.

Vettel had enjoyed an advantage of half a second in final practice, but Hamilton's first lap of final qualifying saw him go 0.619s faster than the Ferrari as he smashed the lap record.

Ferrari's hand was forced by Hamilton taking pole with Vettel in third and, though he was able to get past Max Verstappen at the start, they still felt the need to attempt to undercut the Briton in the pits with overtaking on the track extremely challenging.

Yet their decision to pit Vettel on lap 14 failed to pay dividends, partly because of Hamilton's astute management of his hyper-soft compound tyres and partly because Ferrari's move to the ultra-softs backfired.

After falling back behind Verstappen due to a Red Bull overcut, Vettel was left needing to nurse his tyres to the finish and, with six races left, will require a remarkable change in fortune to end Hamilton's monopoly on the drivers' championship.

Ferrari's frustration was borne out on their official website, which published a race report claiming boredom was the winner in Singapore.

That statement may have some validity, as there was little to excite the casual fan beyond Sergio Perez sending his Racing Point Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon into the wall.

However, in actuality, the genius Hamilton produced in his qualifying lap was the winner, triumphing over the desperate situation Ferrari were left in with the odds stacked against them.

That desperation will give way to begrudging acceptance of another Hamilton title should things again go his way at the Russian Grand Prix.

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