Singapore’s Marina Bay comes alive every year, when the barriers go up and the lights go on – with this year’s event bringing extra sparkle, as the 10th edition of the sport’s original night race.
And just like the setting, the race didn’t disappoint – with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton winning for the third time in Marina Bay, the Brit remaining calm through a thrilling, but chaotic multiple safety car affected Grand Prix.
An historic first wet start in Singapore put the grid on edge, with concerns the spray could potentially affect their vision. At lights out, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen got a great start – but so did Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen, making it three wide into the first corner. But polesitter Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel cut across to defend, forcing instant carnage, with the Dutchman sandwiched between the two Ferraris - and the safety car to emerge.
Verstappen and Räikkönen retired on the spot, with Vettel spinning out at turn five with damage – handing Hamilton the lead, with Daniel Ricciardo - and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg behind him.
At the restart on lap five, Hamilton set a string of fastest laps to pull out a gap on Ricciardo – but his five-second lead went up in smoke on Lap 11 when Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat went into the wall at Turn 7. Again bringing out the Safety Car.
Ricciardo pitted for more intermediate rubber, while Hamilton stayed out – but the Australian was unable to pass at the restart on Lap 15, Hamilton building another five-second gap on Ricciardo by Lap 24.
Lap 28 and Ricciardo pitted again for ultrasofts – followed by Hamilton on the next lap, who retained his lead. But nine laps later, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson crashed on the narrow Anderson Bridge – forcing the safety car for a third time with the C36 in a dangerous position.
At the third restart, Hamilton again pulled away from Ricciardo, with the clock ticking down to the two-hour time limit.
With 20 minutes to go, Bottas began to close down Ricciardo – who was losing oil pressure in his gearbox, though couldn’t get past.
But it was Hamilton’s day, his pace on the intermediates turning the form book on its head and setting up his milestone 60th Grand Prix win.
As broadcast on 19/09/2017.