Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton roared to victory at the Singapore Grand Prix and claimed the lead of the world championship table after making the most of a three-stop tyre strategy.
Hamilton, who started from pole, did three opening stints on the P Zero Red supersoft before completing the race, which ran to the two-hour time limit rather than the scheduled 61 laps, on the P Zero Yellow soft.
However, he was closely challenged by Red Bull’s reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, who ran a two-stop strategy from fourth on the grid. Vettel did two opening stints on the supersoft and then a final stint on the soft at the end of the grand prix, when the car was at its lightest on low fuel. Meanwhile, his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo followed the same strategy to finish third.
With a time gap of around two seconds between the compounds, all the drivers started on the faster supersoft. How they used the tyres after that proved crucial, providing the key to the strategy.
Paul Hembery, motorsport director for Pirelli tyres, commented: “Again we saw another very tense and exciting race where different tyre strategies formed a crucial part of the outcome. In the closing stages of the grand prix we had Hamilton on newer soft tyres behind Vettel on older soft tyres, meaning he had to overtake to seal the race victory.
“Before then, we had the situation where Hamilton, on the faster supersoft tyre, had to build up a crucial half-minute or so gap after the safety car to give him enough time to get in and out of the pits and change to the soft tyre.
“So, as we have seen before, despite the fact that there were different strategies at work, it was an extremely close finish.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office