Verstappen Didn’t Want To Risk On Passing Hamilton For Singapore Win

Formula One World Championship

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel are seen after the Singapore Grand Prix September 16, 2018. Vettel completed the podium, almost 40 seconds off the pace.

"I got a great start and was able to control the pack, control the tyres and push where I needed to push", he said after crossing the line nearly nine seconds ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen with Vettel way off the pace in third.

Mercedes have long regarded Singapore as a "bogey track" and were fearing the worst as Vettel's Ferrari team and the Red Bulls dominated practice, but Hamilton drove a flawless lap to qualify first and was never really threatened in the race.

On the short dash to the left-handed opening bend, Hamilton retained his lead with a peerless start.

Ferrari had come into the weekend expecting to take pole on Saturday and the win on Sunday so if failing to do so in Belgium was disappointing, failing again in Italy was painful then a further failure in Singapore is a punch to the gut.

The German was the first of the leaders to pit for fresh tyres, but re-joined in traffic and behind the Force India of Sergio Perez.

The incident meant it was for the third year in a row that the safety auto was deployed on lap one. Vettel was the first to dive in, on lap 14, taking on a set of ultrasofts. With less than 10 laps to go for the chequered flag, Hamilton had built up a four second advantage over Verstappen and was able to hold on to the lead despite constant pressure from the Dutchman.

There's "no chance" of winning, Vettel moaned over team radio.

"I am spent. That was a tough race", Hamilton said afterwards. However, he didn't blame Grosjean and Sirotkin entirely, despite the pair being slapped with five-second time penalties.

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No further action occurred until Lap 34 when Perez-struggling to pass Sirotkin-hooked left too early after getting alongside the obstructive Russian, puncturing his own left rear tire and trading floor damage with the Williams.

Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull's long-run pace in Singapore is better than both Mercedes and Ferrari's but he stressed it will count for little should the team qualify outside the top two rows on the grid. Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who won the inaugural race here 10 years ago, was seventh for McLaren. "What a weekend. Keep pushing".

Later, crouching over his vehicle, Hamilton added: "I am spent".

"I got a great start and was able to control the pack, control the tyres and push where I needed to push".

However, Red Bull did show impressive signs during its race simulations in the second half of FP2 and Ricciardo feels he could be firmly in the hunt on Sunday if a few gains can be made with its qualifying setup. I'm glad it's over. Mercedes also reacted promptly when Ferrari attempted an undercut strategy for Sebastian Vettel.

"We rolled the dice today and chose to pit early, I was quicker than the guys in front being on the hypersoft".

"We focused on making it home".

"But I'm always optimistic, thinking that if we're really diligent and do our work, we can create some chances".

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