Lewis Hamilton wins Singapore Grand Prix to open up big championship lead

Formula One World Championship

Formula One World Championship

Lewis Hamilton wins the floodlit Singapore Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday to extend his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel to a commanding 40 points.

The Ferrari pairing of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen had set the pace for most of the weekend but the German could manage only third place, more than half a second down, and will start alongside Mercedes's Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton promptly put in a fizzing flying lap, of 1:36.015, pushing Vettel into third and Raikkonen into sixth.

Hamilton pitted a lap later but instead opted for the soft tyre - as did the rest of the leading drivers with the exception of Ricciardo. That was the longest race in my life and its a blessing.

"Look, even with good pace here it's so tricky to overtake".

The front three looked locked in as they spread out 10 laps from the end, with Vettel eventually crossing the line more than half a minute behind second-placed Verstappen.

"I tell you, this track is epic", said Hamilton.

And although Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo found themselves behind a Ferrari and a Mercedes in the cooler FP2, the duo believe they're still in the hunt for a strong result in Singapore.

The 20-year-old was delighted.

This is Vettel's best chance.

The stewards immediately opened an investigation into the crash and awarded Perez a drive-through penalty for his behavior.

Hamilton struggled here in qualifying a year ago, placing only fifth, but took advantage of Vettel's clumsy crash to win and take control of the title race. The British driver had nailed an extraordinary lap to take pole. He crossed the line third, but nearly 40 seconds off the pace. So much so that he now has one hand on the title. "The team have just never given up faith and belief in me".

"I can certainly say I have put myself in a good position to try". "What a day, what a weekend!" However, his team mate Verstappen was more cautious about Red Bull's prospects for Saturday. "When I saw second on the board I was surprised, with all the issues I've been having". "I think there were also other races where we shouldn't have done so well and we did".

The Briton emerged from that tailback with his lead intact - if a little narrower than before - and was soon putting space between himself and Verstappen once again when he hit clean air.

"I think the approach I have is working really well, so I don't see the point in changing, " Hamilton said after his seventh win of the season and 69th in F1.

"It was clear we were not fast enough in the race, we need to understand why". "I feel we have stopped too early", he said, as a few spots of rain began to tumble around the circuit.

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