18 September 2017Hot off the Press
On a weekend that looked set to be dominated by Red Bull and Ferrari, it was Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes that was first across the finish line in the 2017 Singapore Grand Prix. Despite starting fifth on the grid, Hamilton seized several opportunities that brought him his 60th win, and extended his lead in the Formula One World Championship to 28 points.
The rain returned just before the race was due to start, so all drivers started on full wet weather and intermediate tyres. A messy collision before the first corner saw the Red Bull of Max Verstappen squeezed by the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen.
Verstappen and Räikkönen were swiftly eliminated, with Räikkönen losing control and colliding with Fernando Alonso, who subsequently retired on lap nine from what was shaping up to be a strong result for the McLaren driver. A few corners later Vettel, who had maintained the lead, lost control of his car, hit the wall and ended up facing backwards before retiring from the race.
Hamilton grabbed the lead and held on for the remainder of the race. While other drivers pitted to take on fresh intermediate tyres when the Safety Car was deployed after Daniil Kvyat locked up and crashed his Toro Rosso into the wall, Hamilton stayed on track. Hamilton also switched to slick (dry) tyres later than the other drivers, which allowed him to open up the gap between him and the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, retaining a comfortable lead for the rest of the race.
Ricciardo, who started third, was never able to catch Hamilton despite several Safety Cars periods, although he was matching Hamilton for pace. The Australian, who has been on the podium at Singapore four times now, had to settle for second, ahead of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
Carlos Sainz Jr secured his best result in Formula One with fourth, overtaking many cars in the early stages of the race and retaining his position comfortably. Sergio Pérez (Force India) started 12th and finished fifth, while Jolyon Palmer (Renault) and Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) also earned their best Formula One results behind Pérez. Palmer scored his first points in what proved to be a difficult season for him, finishing sixth having started 11th.
Late retirements from Marcus Ericsson (Sauber), Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) and Kevin Magnussen (Haas) promoted much of the field up into the points, including Lance Stroll (Williams) who finished eighth, Romain Grosjean (Haas) in ninth, and Esteban Ocon (Force India) in 10th. Felipe Massa (Williams) and Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber) finished 11th and 12th.