F1-Hamilton consolidates lead with Singapore triumph

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SINGAPORE, (CMC) – Lewis Hamilton stretched his lead in the Formula One drivers’ championships to 28 points after cashing in on his luck to win the Singapore Grand Prix in style here Sunday.
Starting from fifth on the grid, the Brit capitalised on pole-sitter and closest challenger Sebastian Vettel’s unfortunate crash with Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen before the first corner, to grab the lead and control the race.
He took the chequered flag nearly 4-1/2 seconds clear of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo while Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas clinched the other podium spot.
The win – his third in as many races since the mid-season break, left Hamilton on 263 points with Vettell on 235 and Bottas on 212.
Hamilton said afterwards once rain became a factor at the start, he knew he would’ve been in with a chance of winning.
“When it started raining when I woke up this morning, I was thinking, ‘fantastic’, because it’s a very difficult circuit on which to overtake,” said the 32-year-old, whose paternal grandparents hail from Grenada.
“Being fifth, knowing that the Red Bulls and the Ferraris were so quick, on a grippy circuit, being dry, I knew it would be very, very difficult to progress from fifth place. But I did know there is a start, a strategy, and the potential for a safety car, that often happens here every year.
“It dried up and it started to rain just as I started, which was really a real blessing. Those are my conditions that I love to drive in.”
Starting in wet conditions, Hamilton managed to avoid the chaos ahead of him and emerged leader on the first corner with Ricciardo chasing.
The three-time World champion then produced a series of fast laps to extend his lead, remained calm as three safety cars interrupted the contest, before completing the 58 of the scheduled 61 laps to win handily.
“These kind of wins are a lot more satisfying than pole to win … these wins when it is those tricky conditions. It is the toughest race for us,” Hamilton pointed out.
With the success, Hamilton became only the second F1 driver to reach 60 wins, only behind the irrepressible Michael Schumacher with 91.
The win was also his third at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and seventh overall this season.

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