Well, there you go…

 

Popping off the start into that all-important first corner somewhat gingerly but controlled, Mr Hamilton scored his 69th career victory – his seventh of the 2018 Formula One season and fourth at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The feisty Max Verstappen finished a glorious 2nd with Sebastian Vettel 3rd. Mercedes’ Chief Vehicle Dynamicist accepted the Constructors’ trophy on behalf of the team.

Hamilton (281 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 40 points from Sebastian Vettel (241 points) with Valtteri Bottas (171 points) in P4.

Said Hamilton: “I had a great start and from then I was able to manage it. When I hit the traffic, I was just mindful not to take any risks. When you start to get closer to another car, you start losing grip and start sliding around more, so there’s a higher chance of mistakes. If you’re lucky you catch the cars at the right point and they let you by so you don’t lose any time, but today I always caught them at an unfortunate point.

“So when Max was right behind, I had to go on the defensive, and I thought to myself ‘Bro, you’re not getting by – not today!’ It was physically such a demanding race, so I’m relieved that it’s over now – it felt like such a long night, but I’m super grateful for the result.”

James Allison: “Yesterday felt great, exhilarating and breathless, but about five minutes afterwards, those feelings disappear and our thoughts turn to the race. Making good on pole position takes over our world.

“Now, just 24 hours later, a wonderful feeling of contentment washes through the whole team from the knowledge that we’ve done a good job here and increased our lead in both championships. More importantly, we have put right the weaknesses that have plagued us at this circuit for a number of seasons and validated a lot of the theories and analysis of why we have suffered previously. This sport can beat you up, like what happened recently to us in Spa, but it is days like today that remind us why we are so very fortunate to work in Formula One.

“But this feeling, too, will last for about 10 more minutes before we begin fretting about Sochi, because our competition is desperately strong and the remaining races cover a very wide range of challenges. We are all aware that we need to keep having weekends like this one if we are to finally achieve the results that we so crave.”

 

 

Max Verstappen: “It was a shame to lose a position to Sebastian so early on but there was not a lot I could do as we were both flat out. I should have been able to hold the line but I just couldn’t match his speed. My only real chance to win was at the start, unfortunately it was a bit all over the place and I knew my chance had gone.

“Luckily the team had me on a great strategy and therefore managed to get me back into second place with a brilliant pit stop. When I got close to Lewis due to back markers I never really thought the pass would be possible. It’s hard to overtake here so I didn’t want to take the risk. It was also slightly unfair how he had been held up by drivers not getting out of the way.

“I had a few driveability issues again behind the Safety Car and pulling away from the pit stop was dreadful, but in the end we managed it well and got the result we wanted. After the way the car has felt at certain points this weekend, qualifying on the front row and taking second place today is an amazing result.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It’s never easy to come and win even if, obviously, that was our target. Yesterday the qualifying didn’t go the way we wanted and we couldn’t extract the best out of ourselves. Today, starting from third position, we had to try something different, but it didn’t work out and we finished where we started.

“We were running second after a good start which allowed me to get past Max. I was happy and confident when I got the call to box. I knew I needed a mega out lap to try and challenge for the lead but it didn’t work. I lost time behind another car and the brakes got a little too hot. It was close but we got the worse of it.

“I fully support the team’s decision because, as I am sitting in the car, I can’t be aware of everything that goes on, so I rely on them. Our target was not to finish third, but today we just did not have enough speed.”

What an amazing lap – a piece of Hamilton genius

 

Well, it’s all been sinking in. No-one expected a 1′ 36″ when Lewis suddenly pulled it out of the bag in qualifying – his 79th career pole position, fourth at the Marina Bay Street Circuit and seventh of the 2018 Formula One season. It may well be the pole that seals the championship.

Said the man himself: “That lap just started perfect and it just kept going – it felt magical. It felt like one of the best – if not the best lap I’ve ever done. It’s what my brother and me would call a ‘sexy lap’. I only had that one lap in me today, I just couldn’t go any faster afterwards.

“This track is all about confidence, confidence in your braking points and the stability of the car, you only have a few laps to build your steps towards it. As soon as you lose it, it’s very hard to build back up to it. So I’m grateful that I had the extra two laps on the HyperSofts in Q2 as I could try and understand the tyre a bit more. In Q3, it really felt like each corner was on the limit, but no more, I didn’t have any wheel spin or any of that.

“I think the races have generally been quite strong for me this year, so I hope this will continue tomorrow. I’m going to work hard tonight to make sure the start is good. After that it will be all about looking after the tyres. Making the HyperSofts last long won’t be easy, but we’re all in the same boat, so it should be interesting.

“The Ferraris and the Red Bulls in particular had good long-run pace, so we have a fight on our hands tomorrow. But I’m just so grateful that we did a better job today and so grateful for the support from everyone in the team today. This journey that I’m on with Mercedes and the entire team is just a remarkable experience.”

 

What an incredible win…

Back online, just… And what a time to be back.

As if Lewis Hamilton’s earlier fastest lap in Monza – his 40th fastest in Formula One, hadn’t wound up the tifosi already, what turned out to be his 68th career victory today – his sixth of the 2018 Formula One season and fifth at the Italian Grand Prix – really rubbed salt in the wound when we all thought the Ferraris had Monza stitched up.

Valtteri Bottas finished the race in P3 – his sixth podium of the season and 77th points finish.

Lewis Hamilton: “That was one tough race, but a really enjoyable one – I’m very, very happy. This afternoon has shaken off to be one of the best. It’s so close between Ferrari and us, this race was really down to who makes the least mistakes and who looks after their tyres the best. Valtteri did a great job extending his stint which enabled me to close up to Kimi. It was really great team work today, a great pit stop, great communication with the team.

“It was an intense first lap, we all got off to similar starts. When we went into Turn 4, I was a bit surprised that Sebastian chose the inside and did not go for the outside. That was my opportunity and I had to make sure that I was far enough alongside him. We touched for a brief moment and my car was slightly damaged afterwards, but fortunately I was able to continue and keep up with Kimi. Once I had closed the gap to Kimi on my second stint, I could see that his tyres were blistering, so I started to take care of my tyres and made sure that I didn’t blister mine.

“When Valtteri then came in for his pit stop it was a bit harder to keep up with Kimi, but I knew that my tyres were in better shape. I had to push as hard as I could to close the gap, particularly through the Lesmos and Ascari. But this track is really just incredible, it’s such a phenomenal circuit to drive with all its high-speed corners – and the fact that you can follow through the corners and the chicanes make it one of the best tracks in the world. It’s always a real privilege to win in Italy. But we need to keep our heads down, work hard and make sure that we put up a good fight in Singapore.”

 

Well, there’s a surprise

L-r: Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas.

 

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has beaten Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. It’s the former’s first win since the Singapore GP in September 2015.

Hamilton started in pole and it looked as though it might be another Merc 1-2, but Vettel had an advantage on pace and tyre wear, forcing Mercedes into an early pit stop with Hamilton then held up by Max Verstappen.

“A big congratulations to Sebastian and Ferrari. I know this win has been a long time coming for them. This shows we’ve got a real race on our hands this season and it’s a challenge we will relish,” said Hamilton after the race.

“It’s going to be great for the fans. We had a really good start which is fantastic. It was nice to get a good getaway. But I was struggling with grip from the get-go. Sebastian was able to always answer me in terms of lap time and just go quicker. Towards the end of the first stint I caught some traffic and that overheated the tyres.

“I struggled for grip to the point where I needed to come in, plus the gap was closing up and I was sliding around a lot. We made the call to pit, because otherwise I think Sebastian would have come past me anyway. After my stop I got caught in some traffic which was unfortunate but that’s motor racing.”

Chinese GP post race: Mercedes

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Nico Rosberg took his 17th career victory – his second at the Shanghai International Circuit, four years after sealing his first Formula One win at the same venue. Lewis Hamilton produced a battling drive to finish P7 from the back of the grid – despite incurring significant damage to his car in a first lap incident.

This result marks the 100th podium finish for the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows in Formula One. Rosberg (75) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 36 points from Hamilton (39) in P2. MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS (114) leads Ferrari (61) by 53 points in the Constructors’ Championship.

Nico Rosberg
“It’s been a fantastic few days for me here in China. First of all, the fans have been amazing from the moment I arrived. They’re so enthusiastic, which gives us drivers a very special feeling. Then, racing wise, it was an almost perfect weekend. Only the start could have been better – but luckily I was able to pass Daniel later on the straight and from then on I could build up a gap. I must say, I’ve never had a better balance in my car than I had today. It was really perfect, so a big thanks to everyone who helped me achieve that. I’m a very happy man today and, after three races I can be really pleased about how my season has gone so far. But it’s a very long year ahead and there’s a lot of points still on the table, so I’m not losing my focus. Now I look forward to Russia, where I started my good run of qualifying results last year. Hopefully I can get on a nice run like that again.”

Lewis Hamilton
“That was definitely a difficult weekend. I got a good start – but it’s always tricky being at the back and trying not to get caught up in the domino effect of any contact at the first corner. I tried to avoid whatever happened in front of me but I just got tangled up in it. It was just a bit unfortunate, really. From there it was always going to be a battle – but I had a lot of fun fighting back through! There were plenty of overtakes, from what I can remember! I gave it everything I had and P7 was about the limit. There was nothing left in the tyres at the end and, although it’s pretty good for overtaking here, I had quite a lot of damage to the car which made it difficult to get close on the brakes. From what I could feel there was definitely some aero loss and possible suspension damage too, as the car seemed to be flexing all over the place. But that’s racing – it happens sometimes and at least I still managed to get a few points on the board. It’s a pretty big hit points-wise today – but I’ll just have to do what I can to make it up over the next few races. Onwards and upwards…”

 

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Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“That was a rollercoaster race. Nico enjoyed the perfect weekend: he was totally dominant this afternoon, always in control of his performance and did really a flawless job. For Lewis, the circumstances couldn’t have been more different. He got a great start, tried to stay out of trouble in the first corners and still got collected by a Sauber, who was avoiding another car coming back on track. His front wing was lodged under the car for a while, which damaged the leading edge of the floor and cost him a chunk of downforce for the rest of the race – though it was hard to know exactly how much during the race. We did something different with him under the Safety Car, cycling through the SuperSoft tyre with no loss of position, in order to open up some strategic options later in the race. He put in a great recovery drive and pulled off some great overtakes – but the damage to the car meant the tyres didn’t last as long as we had hoped and made it hard to catch cars through Turn 13 before the back straight. He still did a great job and kept charging to the end – but it was damage limitation again for him this afternoon. We are just three races into the longest season in Formula One history, so this isn’t the time to be looking at Championship tables or points gaps. We just need to keep scoring points right now, continue to work on our reliability after some wobbles this weekend and keep working very hard to bring more performance to the car and Power Unit. Today looked like it could have been a three-way fight with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull if our rivals had a cleaner race – so there is no margin for us to relax.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
“Starting on Lewis’ side, one of the debates we actually had overnight was whether to do a bit more work to the car and start him from the pit lane, which ironically would have been a better decision in hindsight given what happened at the first corner. Equally, Lewis had by far his best start of the season, which ironically contributed to him being caught up in the cascade of collisions ahead of him. So, a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances all round put him on the back foot straight away. We could see that there were problems with the car – both aerodynamic and mechanical – affecting him through the low-speed corners in particular. Under the safety car, we chose to perform consecutive pit stops with Lewis to get rid of the SuperSoft and enable us to run the rest of the race on the Soft, which was the stronger race tyre. As it transpired, his first set of softs were cut from the first corner incident – something we were unaware of at the time – which meant we were then forced to run the medium at the end of the race, rendering our SuperSoft eliminating tactic redundant. So, overall, Lewis did a great job to recover what he could with a car that was significantly underperforming. On Nico’s side, he actually had a less good start, losing a place into the first corner – although he was obviously running a less grippy tyre compound than the cars around him. He was, however, able to re-pass Daniel quite quickly once DRS became available and went on to have a straightforward race from there – running a soft/soft/medium strategy as intended from the beginning. An uneventful race from his perspective – but that’s not to underestimate the top job he did to manage the car safely within its limits and claim a well-deserved third victory of the season – and the 100th Formula One podium for the Silver Arrows in the process. We now look forward to Russia – targeting a clean and successful weekend on both sides of the garage.”

Well done Lewis

 

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Mr Hamilton wins title for the third time becoming only the second British driver after Sir Jackie Stewart to win three Formula 1 drivers’ titles. In fact when Stewart was asked on the grid if Hamilton would be able to match his three world titles, he said: “What have I got, an hour and 45? Records were meant to be broken. I think he’s the fastest driver today.”

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