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Purple patch for Lewis Hamilton in Singapore

Purple patch for Lewis Hamilton in Singapore

In doing so, Hamilton secured a record-extending 79th pole in Formula One and 200th for a British driver.

"I have optimism in that Ferrari tried to get through Q2 with ultras", he said. "It felt like one of the best laps I can remember feeling", the Briton added of a 23-turn floodlit circuit that he later described as "Monaco on steroids". We needed a mega out lap and I did what I could but it wasn't enough. "I managed to maximize on every corner".

OUT: Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso), Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren), Sergey Sirotkin (Williams), Lance Stroll (Williams).

"I said before the weekend we can only beat ourselves", he added, hinting at his growing displeasure with his team's latest strategic mistake.

Both culprits were slapped with a five seconds penalty but they could so easily have cost Hamilton the win as he reached out towards a fifth world crown. "Definitely not. But I'm very grateful for those points and for all the hard work the team have put in".

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The 20-year-old apologized to his team on the radio as he left his auto stranded in an escape road with two minutes left in the session, a sight that will disappoint his future employers, who will hope he does not make similar mistakes next season.

"I was happy and confident. When I saw second on the board I was surprised, with all the issues I've been having".

The fifth championship looks closer than ever now, unless Ferrari come up with the heist of their lives to grab it away from him.

Vettel will start alongside Valtteri Bottas, less than a tenth between them, though Bottas was nearly seven-tenths off his pole-sitting Mercedes teammate. Verstappen said that he didn't want to take the risk on passing the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport auto, plus saying he found it unfair how the slow cars didn't get out of the way for him. "There was too much time missing". However, he crashed heading into the first turn, taking out Verstappen, Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso with him.

Vettel, who had looked dominant in practice, has struggled to stamp his authority on the title race in a Ferrari regarded as superior to all of his rivals.

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The next round is in Sochi, Russia on September 30, where Hamilton has won twice before and Mercedes all four races since it was added to the Formula One calendar in 2014.

Hamilton struggled here in qualifying a year ago, placing only fifth, but took advantage of Vettel's clumsy crash to win and take control of the title race.

Carlos Sainz Jr. did likewise to take eighth place while Charles Leclerc also adopted that strategy to score ninth - his first points since Austria.

"It's the most challenging track of the year for us". Stoffel, starting from 18th, drove a solid race despite it being relatively incident-free up front, to finish in 12th.

Qualifying is split into three sections - Q1, Q2 and Q3 - with five drivers eliminated in the first two leaving 10 fighting for pole.

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"On the [soft and super-soft] tyres we are looking as good or better than everyone but, honestly, if we don't qualify in the top two or three it's probably not that important", Ricciardo said.


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