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Singapore GP: Winners & Losers from Marina Bay

Written by  Sep 17, 2017

A third consecutive win for Lewis Hamilton saw him extend his lead on top of the championship table to 28 points, as his main title rival, Sebastian Vettel retired from the Singapore Grand Prix.

In an action-packed chaotic race that saw three Safety Car interventions and the retirement of eight drivers, who emerged from under the lights with the upper hand and who will wish to forget this Singaporean night?

Biggest Winner:

Lewis Hamilton:

Another race weekend and once again the Briton collects the ‘biggest winner’ title. Hamilton continued his post-summer break momentum by grabbing another win at a venue he was expected to struggle at. In fact, the Mercedes driver was heading into a race in damage limitation mode after qualifying fifth but instead saw himself charge to a comfortable victory under the lights in difficult conditions.

Winners:

Valtteri Bottas:

After being confirmed as a Mercedes driver for 2018 a few days before, Bottas struggled for pace the whole weekend in Singapore. The Finn was only able to qualify sixth on Saturday and a whopping eight-tenths slower than his teammate, but when an opportunity came in the race, Bottas did not hesitate to grab it and claim an unexpected podium result. With Vettel's retirement, hopes of claiming second in the championship were renewed although the inability to still be competitive when the car isn't was a slight concern.

Carlos Sainz:

Just days after a move to Renault for next season was announced, Sainz showed the world his worth by claiming his best career result in F1 and Toro Rosso's highest finish since Austin 2015 in fourth. The Spaniard made the most of starting on intermediate tyres and produced good pace to maintain position and cross the finish line fourth, also giving his future teammate Nico Hulkenberg a sample of what he can expect as the two men battled early on.

Jolyon Palmer:

Everyone was expecting a demotivated Palmer to show up this weekend after finding out via the internet that he will be losing his seat at Renault. However, the former GP2 champion only just missed on Q3 Saturday, before having an amazing start for his race on Sunday reaching fifth at one point. A weird strategy call from Renault looked as if it would destroy his hopes of a strong result but a good drive earned him a well-deserved sixth position, making it his best F1 finish and first points this season.

Biggest Loser:

Sebastian Vettel:

While one title contender saw the first wet night race go in his favour, the other was left to ponder a major hit to his championship chances. Vettel headed into the weekend hoping to make the best of the trip to Singapore, a race that suited him and Ferrari, and everything seemed to be going as planned, taking pole while Hamilton struggled. The German seemed all set to retake the championship lead but all that evaporated before reaching the first turn with a collision that saw four cars retire.

Widely considered to blame for the incident, though the stewards would consider it a racing incident, the four-time world champion will be hoping this didn't signal the end of his chances for a fifth.

Losers:

Kimi Raikkonen:

Another major disappointment for the former world champion, Kimi was the best to react to the lights and might have sneaked into the lead had it not been for the incident with Verstappen and Vettel, forcing him to retire. Raikkonen has had several dips in forms and needed a good race to get the winning feel running again, unfortunately for him, his try was cut short and will have to try again somewhere else.

Nico Hulkenberg:

The German was looking to avoid equaling the record of most race starts with no podium finishes and astonishingly, he looked on the right track after the Turn 1 drama promoted him to third. However, a slightly later stop behind the Safety Car to switch from full wets to intermediates meant Hulkenberg dropped positions and then, later on, a pneumatic issue caused him to retire and surpass the record held by former Force India teammate Adrian Sutil such has been his bad luck in F1.

 

Fernando Alonso:

Amid speculation over his future, as McLaren confirmed a Renault engine deal for next year, Alonso headed into Singapore in search of another top 10 result on a circuit better suited to his MCL32. Eighth in qualifying was a good foundation and then an excellent start saw him as high as third but then Alonso was caught up in a skittles crash between Raikkonen and Verstappen causing major damage to his car. A few laps later, a disappointed Alonso was forced to retire from what could have been his best result in the last few years.