Lewis Hamilton warned that the Formula One championship was far from over after the first Ferrari disaster in Singapore put him in the driving seat for his fourth world title. The Mercedes driver said he was expecting a strong response from Ferrari after Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen left after an accident at the first corner.
Hamilton had worked on qualifying, starting with the fifth, but headed brilliantly in the wet and under the lights to open a decisive lead of 28 points over Vettel in the standings.
The 32-year-old Brit has already won the last three races but said he still had a lot left to go with six Grand Prix races this season.
“Honestly, I think he’s going to be very close in the next races,” he said.
Hamilton was one of 12 riders who finished the first wet race on the illuminated streets of Singapore, which began with a changing success and saw three safety cars.
Verstappen said Vettel’s move to put him in the start was an unnecessary risk by the German, who held a 20-point lead in July but may now have seen his season go up in smoke.
“If you are fighting for the World Championship, you should not take those risks to squeeze someone that much. You can see what happens,” said Verstappen.
For Vettel, four-time winner in Singapore, it was a miserable night and contrasted with his joy after qualifying, when he took a hypnotizing lap to take pole.
“There’s nothing we can do now and it sure is bitter, and it’s a shame we can not show our rhythm today,” he said.
With his 60th victory, Hamilton is slowly closing Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 – but said the big German triumph of seven world titles was far from his mind.