Belfast Telegraph

Lewis Hamilton seizes title initiative

By Ian Parkes

Lewis Hamilton chalked up win number 29 of his Formula One career to finally regain the lead of this year's world title fight after Nico Rosberg suffered only his second retirement of the season.

Rosberg's Mercedes encountered an electronics issue before the start of the Singapore Grand Prix and he was ultimately forced out of the race after 14 laps.

Hamilton drove faultlessly from pole position around the Marina Bay Street Circuit to take the chequered flag for the seventh time this campaign and eke out a slender three-point gap lead over Rosberg with five races remaining.

It is only the second time this season Hamilton has led the way in his one-on-one feud with Rosberg, the other occasion after a win in Spain going into what proved to be a highly-controversial race in Monaco.

Behind Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel chalked up his best result of a troubled year with second in his Red Bull, followed by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the trio covered by 1.8 seconds at the line.

Prior to this race Rosberg had suffered just one retirement, at Silverstone when his car suffered a gearbox failure.

On this occasion, Rosberg's race was virtually over before it had even started due to an electronics issue related to the gearbox.

Come the start of the formation lap, Rosberg was sat on the grid doing all he could to engage the gears.

It was to no avail, resulting in his mechanics wheeling him into the pit lane where they at least managed to get him going.

Once in the race Rosberg's problems were highlighted further as he was told at one stage the only thing working on his dashboard were the gearshift paddles.

With no read-out on his dash, Rosberg coasted into his grid slot where he had to stall the car in order for his crew to fit new tyres.

But after the team fired up his car again, Rosberg was unable to find any gear, with retirement following moments later.

There was more drama to come, however, with Sergio Perez losing his front wing underneath his Force India after colliding with Sauber's Adrian Sutil, bringing out the safety car.

After six laps to clear the debris, Hamilton was left running on the supersoft tyre – but needing to make a final stop.

Hamilton then wrung the life out of his car through to the end of lap 52, with nine remaining.

It was a breathtaking drive from Hamilton as he came out in between Vettel and Ricciardo.

It took Hamilton one and a half laps to clear Vettel, from which point he stormed on to victory.

Following his second victory at Singapore, Hamilton said: "I was dreaming about this, but you never think it's going to happen.

"Knowing we have a car we can fight with and the way it felt on track, it's incredible. I was looking for that clean wekeend, and this has been it, but it has not been perfect as Nico didn't finish, so there are things we can still work on."

Final Positions after Race (60 Laps): 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 2hrs 00mins 04.795secs, 2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger)Red Bull 2:00:18.329, 3 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus)Red Bull 2:00:19.068, 4 Fernando Alonso (Spa)Ferrari 2:00:20.184, 5 Felipe Massa (Bra)Williams 2:00:46.956.

Belfast Telegraph

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