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Singapore analysis - Rosberg undone as Hamilton triumphs

22 Sep 2014

As Lewis Hamilton secured a superb victory in Singapore, Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg could only watch from the sidelines, his championship lead snatched away by cruel luck.

A broken wiring loom was the innocuous cause of his agony, and conversely a contributing factor in Hamilton's joy. The Briton now leads the world championship for only the second time this season, and has momentum on his side after two consecutive Grand Prix hat-tricks (pole position, fastest lap, race win). The Red Bulls were once again the main threat, although they in turn came under pressure from a resurgent Ferrari, led once again by Fernando Alonso. We take a team-by-team look back through a tense 60 laps at Marina Bay...

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton, P1

Nico Rosberg, retired lap 14, broken wiring loom

Things went wrong for Mercedes even before the start when Rosberg's car refused to answer to all the commands he made with the steering wheel, leaving him with only gearshift and radio functions but not control of the various hybrid units. A change of steering wheel before the grid formed, and another after he had been left behind on the formation lap, failed to effect a cure - he lacked DRS, hybrid power, and had to contend with the gearbox skipping gears - and after struggling for 13 laps his car was withdrawn when he was unable to engage first gear following his first stop.

Hamilton, starting from pole, led into the first corner and seemed to have the race in the bag - at least until the safety-car deployment on the 31st lap. While his main rivals quickly switched to two-stop strategies, he was forced to make a three-stopper work, which meant a 27-second lead was required for him to pit and retain his lead. That didn't quite work out, but having slotted back into second - just ahead of Ricciardo - he quickly repassed Vettel for the lead and romped home to his seventh victory of the season, 13.5s clear. That combined with Rosberg's exit to put him back in the lead of the world championship for the first time since Spain in May.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, P2

Daniel Ricciardo, P3

Red Bull were a force throughout, and kept Ferrari at bay after working their strategy change from three to two stops to perfection. By the end of the race neither Vettel nor Ricciardo had sufficient tyre performance left to deny Hamilton victory, but they kept Alonso's Ferrari's under containment. Ricciardo had problems with a battery which refused to discharge and created power surges, but still made the podium on an evening when Red Bull garnered another 33 points.

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso, P4

Kimi Raikkonen, P8

Alonso made a great start to pass the two Red Bulls and run second to Hamilton, but it was a little too good as he ran across the run-off area at Turn 1 and had to hand a place back to Vettel. Ricciardo later got the drop on him in the pit stops, as Alonso came in under the safety car, but fourth place confirmed that the Marina Bay track suited the F14 T better than many expected. Raikkonen had a frustrating afternoon, chasing Massa initially, then Bottas, and struggling with increased tyre degradation as a result.

Williams

Felipe Massa, P5

Valtteri Bottas, P11

Both drivers did great jobs to make a set of soft tyres last from the 22nd and 23rd laps respectively to the finish. Massa said he had to drive like a grandmother to achieve that, but his fifth place kept Williams ahead of Ferrari in the constructors' championship. Bottas did a beautiful job to fend off a train of cars right until the end, but a combination of power steering problems and tyre wear ultimately stymied him as, having been passed by Vergne and Perez, he locked up and slid wide on the final lap, dropping to 11th. He deserved better.

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne, P6

Daniil Kvyat, P14

Vergne was the hero here, taking a fighting sixth place despite two five-second penalties - one served as a stop and go, the other added to his race time - for exceeding track limits. By contrast, Kvyat had an uncharacteristically poor race, dehydrating because of problems with his drinks bottle.

Force India

Sergio Perez, P7

Nico Hulkenberg, P9

Perez was arguably partly to blame for the clash with Sutil which led to the safety car being deployed, but made amends with a resolute drive to seventh. Hulkenberg struggled with tyre degradation but took ninth, the combined tally of eight points hoisting Force India back ahead of McLaren in the constructors' table.

McLaren

Kevin Magnussen, P10

Jenson Button, Retired lap 53, power box failure

Button was strong all afternoon, the more so because McLaren opted to put him in the slower two-stop strategy from the start. But just as he was about to pounce on Bottas's sixth place on the 54th lap his car hiccoughed and cut out as its power control unit malfunctioned. Magnussen, meanwhile, served a five-second stop-and-go penalty for track limit infringements, and also suffered when an electrical problem started to overheat his seat. He took the final point after a brave performance.

Lotus

Pastor Maldonado, P12

Romain Grosjean, P13

Lotus agonisingly missed out on what would have been only their third points score of 2014, but they did at least get both Maldonado and Grosjean to the finish. While the pair diced cleanly on the track, there was drama in the garage as a mechanic was slightly injured during one of Maldonado's pit stops, when he was struck on his helmeted head by a hose.

Caterham

Marcus Ericsson, P15

Kamui Kobayashi, DNS, power loss/fire on formation lap

Caterham lost Kobayashi even before the race started when his CT05 rolled to a halt with power loss and a resultant fire on the formation lap. But Ericsson drove well to beat Marussia duo Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, which was a much-needed fillip.

Marussia

Jules Bianchi, P16

Max Chilton, P17

Bianchi had brake wear problems which prevented him from challenging Ericsson, though they ran in very close proximity for a long time. Chilton's engine stalled as he was leaving the pits while the grid was forming, and later had a right-front puncture which compromised his strategy thereafter.

Sauber

Adrian Sutil, Retired lap 41, water leak

Esteban Gutierrez, Retired lap 18, electronics

Sauber had another unhappy day, with Gutierrez running well initially but being very disappointed when his C33 stopped with electronics problems. Sutil was involved in that clash with Perez, got a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits, and subsequently retired with a water leak.