VICTORY IN SINGAPORE:Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the 2014 Singapore GP, his seventh victory of the season. Image: AP/ Wong Maye-E
SINGAPORE - Lewis Hamilton stormed to an emphatic victory at the 2014 Singapore GP on Sunday (September 21) to wrest the championship lead from Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, after he retired due to steering wheel problems.
Hamilton overcame an extended safety car period midway through the race, as well as the twin Red Bull challenge of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, to move three points clear of Rosberg with five races remaining.
Hamilton said in a podium interview: "I was dreaming it last night... I just want to say huge thanks to my team. I was so excited, I was looking for a clean weekend, and I had it."
GOOD WEEKEND FOR FERRARI
Fernando Alonso ended a good weekend for Ferrari with a solid fourth place finish on a hazy Singapore night with Felipe Massa rounding out the top five in his Williams.
For Hamilton, the race could not have gone any better after he arrived in Singapore trailing Rosberg by 22 points and in desperate need of a strong finish to ensure he maintained his bid for a second world title.
He saved his best for last in qualifying on Saturday (September 20) to claim pole position from his team mate and when Rosberg was unable to get his Mercedes moving at the start of the formation lap.
Rosberg was forced to start from the pitlane at the back of the field and when Hamilton stormed clear into the first corner, he always looked on course to record his seventh victory of the season, and 29th overall, in the fastest car on the track.
PEREZ, SUTIL CRASH
Only the inevitable safety car period, for seven laps midway through the race following Adrian Sutil's collision with Sergio Perez, added an element of doubt to the proceedings but Hamilton managed his tyres brilliantly to claim victory by 13.5 seconds.
Vettel, Ricciardo and Alonso opted to go all the way to the finish once the safety car came in on the 37th of the 60-lap race, forcing Hamilton to build as big a lead as possible before pitting again to fit some soft 'prime' tyres.
When he emerged back on the track on the 52nd lap, Vettel was ahead and Ricciardo snapping at his heels but the Briton was able to make the most of his fresher tyres and performed a magnificent pass on the German through turn seven to reclaim the lead for good.
Jean-Eric Vergne drove brilliantly in his Toro Rosso to claim sixth place, his best finish of the season, with Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen completing the top 10.
Click here for our full race report of the 2014 Singapore GP
2014 Singapore GP qualifying and practice times: