Hamilton's 69th overall victory was his seventh of the season and it was built on the foundations of a stunning qualifying lap on Saturday, when he stormed to pole in a vehicle deemed inferior to the Ferraris and Red Bulls on this circuit. "I will always defend the team", he said.
"It was no boring race for me, as we still needed to open some gaps in case of a Safety Car, and we didn't know when people behind us would stop". "I know that not a single member of the hierarchy, like [strategist] James Vowles or Toto probably, really didn't think that was possible - maybe more of them". I mean taking the lap times out, we were more comfortable this morning with a hotter track, which is a bit weird. The vehicle was just underneath me and I managed to maximize on pretty much every corner.
Montreal's Lance Stroll will start 20th and last on the grid. He also started from second a year ago.
After a frustrating race, Vettel finished third. "It's the best I've ever done in F1".
"I think it's very close".
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"Honestly, this feels like a victory".
"I was happy and confident".
But if it gets to Lap 15-16 and he is within 10 seconds or so of the Briton it may be worth Ferrari pitting him early. It also helped Mercedes increase their constructors' points over Ferrari as Bottas also survived a late onslaught from Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari.
The demanding 23-turn circuit has traditionally favored the Red Bulls and Ferraris, so it was no surprise to see Vettel and Raikkonen clock the next quickest times as Mercedes opted to concentrate on long runs instead of qualifying simulations. As we'd gone through the qualifying session again, the real challenge in Q1 on the ultra-soft, and then we obviously got into that last session and it was just about pulling all of the little bits you'd found through practice and trying to see if you could put it into a ideal puzzle. "There was too much time missing".
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It is looking increasingly like a repeat scenario for the Ferrari driver, who now has just six races left to catch Hamilton as they both bid for a fifth F1 title.
Hamilton struggled here in qualifying previous year, placing only fifth, but took advantage of Vettel's clumsy crash to win and take control of the title race.
The Dutchman had battled engine problems throughout practice and qualifying and was running with his Renault unit detuned for qualifying, but managed to pull everything together in Q3 to end the first run three tenths down on Hamilton.
A unique set of challenges makes the steamy track in the heat and humidity of Singapore's tropical climate the toughest physical test of the season.
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