Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Hamilton extends championship lead as Vettel falters again

Hamilton extends championship lead as Vettel falters again

But Hamilton's masterclass in qualifying was exceptional as he recorded one of the best pole positions of his career - described as epic within his Mercedes team.

Ferrari said the pit stop was not based on the radio call, and said they went aggressive because it was their only hope of beating Hamilton.

"Kind of a rookie error from myself, but that doesn't happen too often".

That is how Hamilton beat Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen in Italy and Ferrari will have learned from that.

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Verstappen was however less complimentary towards his car's engine and feels the team was able to achieve an optimum finish in spite of the problems they faced.

The German four-time world champion used his superior Ferrari power to outdrag Verstappen down Raffles Boulevard and just managed to nip past the Dutchman before the safety auto brought a temporary halt to hostilities on the first lap for the third year in succession in Singapore.

The front three looked locked in as they spread out 10 laps from the end, with Vettel eventually crossing the line more than half a minute behind second-placed Verstappen.

Hamilton's time was three-and-a-half seconds quicker than Vettel's pole position a year ago and should he make a clean start on a circuit where he has won three times before, the Briton is highly likely to extend his championship lead.

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"I know we have good race pace but on a street circuit Qualifying is so important", he said.

Verstappen feels that should he get the jump on Hamilton at the start, he will be in with a really good chance of taking the win as overtaking is hard in between the Armco barriers, however from the front row he feels he has at least put him in with a chance.

Hamilton said. "It definitely got a little bit interesting towards the end with some of the backmarkers which was incredibly hard".

The need for speed: The people of Singapore are the fastest walkers on the planet, at an average of 6.15kph Hamilton's pole position in Singapore was the 200th for an English driver in F1 history.

The other option if Hamilton pits first, is to run a longer first stint.

But a progressive drop-off in pace thereafter left the Red Bull driver behind all his fellow front-runners in Q3, including Max Verstappen who outran Ricciardo by six tenths, beating his team mate in qualifying for the ninth consecutive time this season.

"The bad bit, obviously, was the touch with the wall which made the session come to an end", he said.

This is Vettel's best chance.

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