The hot and humid Singapore was not the only uncomfortable aspect of the season’s 14th meeting that ended with Lewis Hamilton’s seventh victory in 2014. The other hurdles on the 61-lap 192 mile long Marina Bay Street Circuit were the sharp bruising corners, driving at top speed on the flood-lit track and a 300 C temperature even at the time of the start. Moreover, the city had a very heavy downpour on Saturday evening, soon after the end of the practice sessions and the threat existed on Sunday as well. The 2014 season became notorious for the two main contenders; Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who have since acquired the tags of each other’s bitterest enemies. While they are fighting a ferocious battle for the title chase, the funniest part of their hate relationship is the intriguing compulsion that they are part of the same formidable Mercedes Team. Lewis Hamilton’s win on Sunday resulted in his taking a marginal lead over Rosberg. This was the first time in four months that Hamilton went into a 3-point lead over the German in the Formula One world championship. Rosberg was distinctly unlucky to have a defunct race and had to leave the track after 14 laps as his car suffered from technical and electronic problems.
On Saturday, Hamilton had snatched the pole in a photo-finish with Rosberg. The margin of difference between the two drivers was as low as seven thousandths of a second or 0.007 seconds. Hamilton was not fastest in the practice sessions as five other drivers had better timings than him. However, a particularly strong pull-away in the middle part of the lap allowed him to pip Nico Rosberg. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel finished third and fourth, respectively; Fernando Alonso was fifth; Felipe Massa sixth; Kimi Raikkonen seventh; Valtteri Bottas eighth; Kevin Magnussen ninth and Daniil Kvyat tenth.
Just as the main race began on Sunday, Hamilton began to lead with Alonso right behind. On their backs, Vettel passed Ricciardo and as Alonso went wide off the track, Vettel fell into the second place behind Hamilton. Rosberg had a late start and he fell way behind the top of the pack. By lap 5, Vettel was still behind Hamilton but Rosberg was not able to generate any pace and languished at 19th by lap 8. Behind Vettel, Alonso and Ricciardo occupied the third and fourth places. In lap 14, Hamilton made a 2.9 seconds pit stop and 29 second in the pit allowed him to remerge with the lead intact but Rosberg dropped out of the race at this point as his car didn’t cooperate. In lap 17, Ricciardo set the best timing and he was too far ahead of Massa with Raikkonen and Bottas following closely. With Hamilton comfortably in the lead, the battle shifted for second and third places.
Halfway into the race, the top six continued to be Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Alonso, Massa and Bottas. Lap 40 was Hamilton’s fastest and since he had only 7 laps remaining for tyre-change, he was in a position to add on his lead time further with new set of tyres. Vettel went ahead of Hamilton as he went for the change of tyres but he still came out ahead of Ricciardo. Racing faster now, Hamilton overtook Vettel to regain his lead by lap 54. In the remaining laps, Hamilton kept building his lead and in the end he was 8 seconds ahead of Vettel. The final 10 after the race were; 1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Sebastian Vettel 3) Daniel Ricciardo 4) Fernando Alonso 5) Felipe Massa 6) Jean-Eric Vergne 7) Sergio Perez 8) Kimi Raikkonen 9) Nico Hulkenberg 10) Kevin Magnussen.
In recording his seventh win of the season, Hamilton has gone past Nico Rosberg in the chase for the World champion’s title that he has taken just once in 2008. For Hamilton, the lead came at the right time since only five races remain now. Rosberg has been having a bad time since the entanglement with Hamilton at Spa last month. Rosberg faced the penal action and was asked to apologize for the clash with his sworn rival and Mercedes team-mate Hamilton. But the German cannot be taken lightly as he is still the biggest threat to Hamilton for the World Champion’s title.