2018 Singapore GP: Hamilton Wins Under the Lights
Like it did in 2017, Ferrari desperately needed a win at the Singapore Grand Prix to keep its championship hopes alive, and like in 2017 they left the street circuit disappointed, though not quite in the same dramatic fashion.
Singapore had often been Mercedes’ Achilles heel throughout its years of dominance. Vettel won comfortably in 2015 and would likely have won again in 2017 had it not been for crashing into Räikkönen at the start.
This time around, however, the Mercedes car showed none of the flaws it had before. Hamilton put in a breathtaking qualifying lap to take pole position by six tenths of a second while his rival at Ferrari could only manage third.
Vettel was nonetheless able to get himself into second place during the race, which Ferrari then proceeded to lose again for him by simultaneously pitting him at the wrong time and putting him on the wrong tire.
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It was yet another show of Ferrari’s operational weakness. The team has consistently been making similar strategy mistakes throughout 2018 and past years, to the point that Vettel has clearly lost confidence in its ability to make the right calls.
This has led him to split his attention between driving and strategy, which could be the reason behind his unusually high amount of small driving mistakes this year, without which he would still be neck-and-neck with Hamilton in the championship.
Instead, the championship is now comfortably Hamilton’s to lose. His advantage is such that even if he wins just one more race, Vettel could then win every remaining Grand Prix and Hamilton would still claim championship victory by finishing second each time.
And given the difference in car and team performance, it’s far more likely that the opposite takes place.
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