Lewis Hamilton won the Singapore Grand Prix, taking a three point lead in the championship standings as his teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg retired.
Mercedes locked-out the front row of the grid in qualifying, Hamilton taking pole by 0.007 seconds. Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel lined up on row 2.
Rosberg’s race got off to a disastrous start when a gear selection issue prevented him from starting the warm-up lap. That meant he had to start from the pits.
A change of steering wheel did nothing to alleviate the problem, which was compounded by the hybrid system on his Mercedes engine not working properly. His race was done after his first pit stop when the transmission wouldn’t engage a gear.
Rosberg’s woes left Hamilton to race away from the front. A mid-race safety car didn’t interrupt his momentum; he lost the lead to Vettel after his last pit stop, but he was back in front within a lap-and-a-half.
Vettel, Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso traded places throughout the race as the battled over the remaining podium positions. Alonso made a fantastic start from fifth, but ran wide at Turn One. He came out in second, but, having gained an advantage, handed the place back to Vettel.
Alonso got back in front with an earlier pit stop, but fell back to fourth when the safety car came out. With fresher tyres on his Ferrari, Alonso piled the pressure on Ricciardo, now third, but to no avail. Despite running nose-to-tail, neither driver was able to get past Vettel.
Williams driver Felipe Massa finished a fine fifth, while Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Force India’s Sergio Perez were sixth and seventh.
Valtteri Bottas in the second Williams had been running in sixth, but couldn’t make his tyres last and dropped to 11th. Kimi Raikkonen finished eighth, losing out to Vergne and Perez at the last round of stops.
Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top ten. Magnussen battled heat and dehydration as his seat became burningly hot and his drinks bottle boiled.
Five races remain in the 2014 Formula 1 season with 150 points available. Hamilton’s three point advantage is less than the difference between first and second place, so it is still to early to call the championship one way or the other.
But with Hamilton regaining the championship lead for the first time since May, the momentum could well be swinging back in his favour.
The Japanese Grand Prix is next up on 5 October.
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Singapore GP results after 60 laps
- Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes — 2h00m04.795s
- Sebastian Vettel — Red Bull-Renault — +13.534s
- Daniel Ricciardo — Red Bull-Renault — +14.273s
- Fernando Alonso — Ferrari — +15.389s
- Felipe Massa — Williams-Mercedes — +42.161s
- Jean-Eric Vergne — Toro Rosso-Renault — +56.801s
- Sergio Perez — Force India-Mercedes — +59.038s
- Kimi Raikkonen — Ferrari — +1m00.641s
- Nico Hulkenberg — Force India-Mercedes — +1m01.661s
- Kevin Magnussen — McLaren-Mercedes — +1m02.230s
- Valtteri Bottas — Williams-Mercedes — +1m05.065s
- Pastor Maldonado — Lotus-Renault — +1m06.915s
- Romain Grosjean — Lotus-Renault — +1m08.029s
- Daniil Kvyat — Toro Rosso-Renault — +1m12.008s
- Marcus Ericsson — Caterham-Renault — +1m34.188s
- Jules Bianchi — Marussia-Ferrari — +1m34.543s
- Max Chilton — Marussia-Ferrari — +1 lap
Retirements: Jenson Button — McLaren-Mercedes (Power box); Adrian Sutil — Sauber-Ferrari (Water leak); Esteban Gutierrez — Sauber-Ferrari (Electrical); Nico Rosberg — Mercedes (Wiring loom)
Non-starter: Kamui Kobayashi — Caterham-Renault (Power unit)