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Class of the Field
Adam Barton

A Formula One fan since he was six, back while Häkkinen and Schumacher were having many an epic battle, Adam has seen a great deal. From German domination (twice), to British determination (once) and a Spanish invasion. A near compulsive fan who one day hopes to write about the sport for a living, outside of F1 Adam also authors his own blog One Guy's Opinion.

Championship fight takes huge Singapore swing // Hamilton cashes in with flat out sprint to victory

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The Singapore GP may have started out as a moonlit cruise but the fireworks came out in the second half of the race as Adrian Sutil caused a safety car that completely changed the complexion of the race. Though the early part of the race had been fairly processional (12 to 21st all remained in the same order until lap 8), it was packed with drama as the one retirement was a critical one. A wiring loom failure created pre-race anxiety for Nico Rosberg which was justified as the German failed to pull away for the formation lap. And while Rosberg did manage to get away from the pitlane, he never really got going, even the Caterham and Marussias easily pulled away from his mis-shifting Mercedes.

Hamilton earns championship lead

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team: Started 1st, Finished 1st

At the point that Rosberg pitted and was unable to return to the action, Lewis Hamilton looked to have built up an unassailable lead over the Red Bulls and Fernando Alonso. The gap was being managed and in fact, at Hamilton’s second stop Mercedes took the opportunity to clean his front wing in the knowledge that they had a big enough lead, though it did bring Alonso into range.

Hamilton earned his 25 points in Singapore for sure
Hamilton earned his 25 points in Singapore for sureCredit: Daimler AG

The race turned on a sixpence when Adrian Sutil clumsily squeezed Sergio Pérez into the wall – which clearly warranted a penalty, breaking the Mexican’s front wing, which then went under the car and caused debris to spread all over the track. A safety car was inevitable. Much of the field had used both the soft tyres as well as the supersoft tyres that they started the race on. Lewis Hamilton had not and his lead was eradicated.

While Nico Rosberg may have cracked a smile, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton knew what they had to do, and this was the true start of the Brit's race. Hamilton had 23 laps to build up a 28 second lead and pit for the slower soft tyres, knowing that the trio of Vettel, Ricciardo and Alonso would put up a fight if he came out behind them. Hamilton went to work taking out huge chunks of time over the Red Bulls. The lead was growing by seconds per lap but the gains were getting smaller and smaller as the Brit's soft tyres became more and more worn. Lewis was well aware of this, desperate to pit and get on to fresh rubber.

The race was incredibly reminiscent of another of Hamilton’s finest wins in the 2008 German GP

The decisiveness of Mercedes paid off as Hamilton came out within spitting distance of Sebastian Vettel on old tyres and critically millimetres ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. While Vettel did lead his first lap of the season, it was only a single lap as Hamilton’s comeback was completed with an aggressive move through the turn six kink and under braking into turn seven, maximising the benefit of his fresh tyres. The race was incredibly reminiscent of another of Hamilton’s finest wins in the 2008 German GP, but the significance of this race as he wiped out Nico Rosberg’s 22 point championship lead made the win all the more sweet for the Brit. Lewis Hamilton earned his 25 points in Singapore for sure.

Vergne puts himself in shop window

Jean-Éric Vergne, Scuderia Toro Rosso: Started 12th, Finished 6th

Jean-Éric Vergne was a man on a mission in Singapore as he tried to prove that Toro Rosso were wrong to fire him. Having been beaten in qualifying by his teammate Daniil Kvyat, missing out by just seven hundredths of a secondbut ultimately two places on the starting grid.

By pitting early, Vergne undercut much of the pack to jump up to the lower end of the points. The Frenchman had competitive pace but was clearly ahead of the true performance of the car as a gap opened up ahead of the Toro Rosso, unable to match the race pace of the Williams, Ferraris and Red Bulls.

Vergne was up for the task, passing cars with consummate ease
Vergne was up for the task, passing cars with consummate easeCredit: Peter Fox/Getty Images

Vergne used the confines of the Singapore street circuit to his advantage, holding the Force Indias and Kevin Magnussen behind, along with the Lotuses and Saubers sniffing a rare points finish. But having shown his guile in defence, Vergne was about to show his aggression in attack. The Frenchman pitted for soft tyres, five laps after the safety car period had ended. Stuck in the same position as Hamilton with the need to run the slow soft tyres, Vergne was suddenly on far fresher tyres but had to recover from 15th. But Vergne was up for the task, passing cars with consummate ease.

Vergne made only one error on his charge - having already been penalised for passing Räikkönen off track when the safety car came out – when he made a desperate move on Pastor Maldonado into turn eight, having gained an advantage by running off track in turn seven. The 5-second penalty meant that when Vergne reached ninth his charge had been halted. But no matter, Vergne barged rudely past Nico Hülkenberg, Kimi Räikkönen and the hapless Valtteri Bottas (because his tyres had gone off the cliff) and even gained the critical five second gap he needed in the final lap and a half to secure sixth.

Pérez charges back

Sergio Pérez, Sahara Force India F1 Team: Started 15th, Finished 7th

Pérez’s race was ruined when Adrian Sutil drove into him
Credit: Sahara Force India

It looked as though Sergio Pérez’s race was ruined when Adrian Sutil drove into him, breaking the Mexican’s front wing and forcing him to pit for a third time in the race on just lap 30. He was languishing in 17th and with nothing to lose, Force India pitted him with 16 laps to go, fitting the supersoft tyres and allowing Pérez to go all out and attack anyone in his path.

Much like Jean-Éric Vergne, ‘Checo’ was able to take advantage of his fresher, softer tyres as the rest of the field drove like grandmas ahead. Pérez was 40 seconds behind Valtteri Bottas in sixth after he had pitted with 16 laps to go, not to mention 11 cars but fought on nonetheless.

Sergio ploughed through the field, passing cars like they weren’t there and secured a spectacular seventh because he went against the traditional strategy and had the clinical ability to make passes on a street circuit when others lacked the conviction to make the decisive move.