Lewis Hamilton earned himself a commanding lead over Sebastian Vettel in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship with a convincing victory at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The 33-year-old crossed the finish line almost nine seconds ahead of his nearest challenger, underlining the ease with which he wrapped up his second successive race win.
Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel occupied the other two places on the podium at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in a bitterly disappointing result for the latter.
The Ferrari man has now fallen 40 points behind Hamilton and needs to be almost perfect if he’s to catch him within the five events remaining this season.
It’s no secret Vettel has made life relatively easy for his Mercedes rival at times in 2018 - something the man himself acknowledged during the lead-up to Singapore.
"It's pretty straightforward for me. I think the biggest enemy is me," he said when asked if he felt he couldn’t afford to lose any more ground to Hamilton.
"We have a great car, if I have something to play with then I think we have all the chances to do it in our way.”
Given the widespread belief Ferrari boast the best car on the circuit this year, Vettel could easily be much closer to the top of the table if not he and his team’s occasionally poor decision-making.
In fact, six key errors could prove to be the moments that rid the German of his shot at dethroning Hamilton, according to ESPN.
Azerbaijan Grand Prix - 13 points lost
Lost two places after damaging his tyres during a misjudged overtaking manoeuvre on Valtteri Bottas.
He was forced to settle for fourth (25 points) when first place probably would’ve restricted Hamilton to 15.
French Grand Prix - 8 points lost (21 overall)
Crashed with Bottas in a duel for second position going into turn one. Considering the Ferrari’s suitability for this circuit, Vettel’s fifth-place finish was hugely underwhelming.
He could easily have collected 15 or 18, even without preventing Hamilton from getting the win.
Austrian Grand Prix - 10 points lost (31 overall)
Vettel was handed a three-place grid penalty for holding up Renault’s Carlos Sainz in qualifying, relegating him to start from sixth instead of third.
It was always going to be a tough ask to win the race from there, despite having the luxury of both Mercedes retiring.
German Grand Prix - 25 points lost (56 overall)
Spun out of the race when heavy rain started falling late in the day. While nobody handled the sudden weather change particularly well, Vettel must look back on this as a missed opportunity to score maximum points on home soil.
However, he ended up with none as Hamiltons stormed to a miracle win from 14th.
Italian Grand Prix - 13 points lost (69 overall)
Vettel deserves praise for fighting his way through the pack after spinning around on the opening lap.
He managed to secure fourth spot (12 points), but if there was ever a race Ferrari should be winning with their car, it’s Monza. To make things worse, Hamilton instead topped the podium.
Singapore Grand Prix - 10 points lost (79 overall)
Multiple errors cost Vettel in Singapore. He hit the wall during the second practice session; Ferrari looked appeared to make a mess of its final preparations before qualifying; then the 31-year-old locked up his tyres several times on his final lap.
Once again, the SF70H was the envy of the grid in Singapore and gave Vettel a brilliant chance of claiming full points while taking a chunk of eventual winner Hamilton.
This same prediction suspects Hamilton would be 34 points worse off, meaning if Vettel had won the 79 he’s estimated to have dropped this season, the German would be 73 points ahead at this stage.
One has to wonder what could’ve been for Vettel and Ferrari in 2018.
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