” Lewis Hamilton took the lead of the championship with victory at the Singapore Grand Prix after his Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg started from the pit lane and retired.
Hamilton won by 13.5s but was made to work for it after a safety car period upset his strategy. Behind him Sebastian Vettel held off Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo for second, with Fernando Alonso, who also lost out in the safety car period, finished fourth for Ferrari.
Rosberg could only watch from the Mercedes pit wall as Hamilton crossed the line for victory and with it took a three point lead in the championship – the first time he has led the title race since the Spanish Grand Prix. Rosberg experienced an electrical glitch on the grid that meant he failed to make it away on the warm-up lap and had to start from the pit lane. After making slow progress through the field he pitted for a new steering wheel on lap 14 but was unable to select a gear, which brought an end to his race.
As a result Hamilton had a vacant grid spot next to him at the start and easily led into the first corner. Behind him, Alonso overshot Turn 1 as he attempted to pass both Red Bulls on the outside and had to cede second position to Vettel later in the lap. Hamilton soon built a comfortable lead over Vettel, with the first pit stops coming after just eight laps.
In the second stint Alonso started to put the pressure on Vettel and took the lead in the second pit stops. However, both Alonso and Hamilton opted for a third set of super-softs while the Red Bulls took on softs. It proved to be a wise decision from the reigning world champions as a collision between Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil caused a safety car on lap 31.
It is mandatory for drivers to use both compounds during the race, so Hamilton and Alonso still had to pit while the Red Bulls were able to go to the end of the race. Ferrari took the hit under the safety car and pitted both their drivers – in Alonso’s case just seven laps after his second stop. Hamilton, however, opted to stay out on track in the knowledge that his pace advantage would allow him to build a lead when the safety car came in.
After just five laps he had an 11.5s lead and seven laps later it was comfortably over 25s. On lap 51 his tyres were well past their best and he started to lose time to Vettel, forcing him to pit. The Mercedes pit crew did not miss a beat and got Hamilton back out in 2.9s. He came out behind Vettel but within two laps he was able to use his fresher tyres and DRS to breeze up the inside at the high-speed Turn 6. From that point on only a reliability issue could stop Hamilton, but the car held together to the line. ”
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