F1’s Night Race lit up the Singapore streets, and for Lewis Hamilton it was champagne and fireworks off the track, even if the racing on the track didn’t quite deliver a spectacle befitting the scenery.
Here’s how we saw the power rankings shifting after the race.
Moving on up
▲ Lewis Hamilton took another victory in what a many people are saying is the decisive blow in the championship. After taking a fantastic pole on Saturday, all he had to worry about was the threat coming from Verstappen (with nothing to lose) and Vettel (with his season on the line), yet neither were able to get near the Mercedes, leaving Lewis to claim an unexpected yet well-earned victory.
▲ Max Verstappen was the known unknown after lining up on the front row and splitting the championship contenders. Most will have had in their mind the incident involving Max and the Ferrari’s from last year’s race in Singapore, but he kept his head, and despite losing P2 on the opening lap before the safety car was called, and showed the class required to maximise a race result.
▲ Kevin Magnussen thew up a fastest lap after a late pit-stop, and should be applauded for providing a little entertainment in a fairly lacklustre race.
▼ Sergio Perez covered himself in shame after causing an incident that took out his teammate on the opening lap (yet again). Forgetting for a moment whether Perez could see Ocon, or whether it was a “clever” idea for Ocon to put his car around the outside when he did, were it any other driver and not his own teammate Perez would have been looking at a stiff penalty. Add to that the absolute nonsense of chopping in front of Sergey Sirotkin out of frustration in a move that looked positively amateur, and you get a race to forget from the Mexican.
▼ Ferrari strategists in hindsight should admit that their strategy just wasn’t up to scratch. There’s something to be said for gambling on softer tyres at certain tracks, but on a long, tight track like Singapore it just wasn’t the smart play. Especially given that there’s a high-chance of safety cars and matching Hamilton’s strategy would have assured P2 for Sebastian, keeping him in a position to pounce if anything happened to the leader.
▼ Romain Grosjean ignored blue flags while squabbling with another backmarker, leading Charlie Whiting to call it one of the worst examples of disregarding flags and apologised to the leaders after they held up Lewis Hamilton to the point that Max Verstappen was able to gobble up his lead. Had Vettel held on to P2, it would have put immense and undue pressure on Hamilton, and action needs to be taken against the offenders.