Sin­ga­pore sling­shot to end Hamilton’s curse


Evening Times - - SPORT - By ADRIAN WHYTE

LEWIS HAMILTON is ready to end his re­cent Sin­ga­pore curse and re­tain the lead in his cham­pi­onship bat­tle with Se­bas­tian Vet­tel.

That was the mes­sage as Hamilton arrives in the Far East with a three-point ad­van­tage af­ter his tri­umph at the Ital­ian Grand Prix a fort­night ago.

The English­man’s dom­i­nant vic­tory at Monza en­sured his first visit to the sum­mit of the ti­tle race this sea­son. But his Mercedes team are cau­tious that the twisty na­ture of the Ma­rina Bay street cir­cuit will be more suited to Vet­tel and his Fer­rari car this week­end.

Hamilton has won un­der the lights on two oc­ca­sions, but he failed to reach the che­quered flag in 2014 be­fore fin­ish­ing a dis­tant third last term.

On that evening, Hamilton lost the cham­pi­onship lead to Nico Ros­berg, and it was a deficit from which he would never re­cover.

Hamilton also re­tired from the lead of the 2012 race, his last in Sin­ga­pore for McLaren.

But he said: “I am com­ing here with pos­i­tiv­ity, and I plan on win­ning this race.

“We have worked as hard as we can to un­der­stand the car and we come here in full at­tack.

“You can’t over­take on this track, and the cars are wider so po­si­tion­ing is def­i­nitely very im­por­tant. Get­ting the car set up right so you can ex­e­cute qual­i­fy­ing is go­ing to be one of the key ar­eas.”

Vet­tel had led the cham­pi­onship since he won the open­ing round of the sea­son in Aus­tralia, but Hamilton has been in sparkling form since the sum­mer break.

He matched, and then sur­passed Michael Schu­macher’s pole record in Bel­gium and then Italy, while lead­ing vir­tu­ally every lap of both races.

The slow-speed Sin­ga­pore track how­ever, could pro­vide Vet­tel, who fin­ished an eye-wa­ter­ing 36 sec­onds be­hind Hamilton in Monza, with an im­me­di­ate chance to move back ahead of the Bri­ton in the cham­pi­onship race.

“In the­ory it should be bet­ter here than i n Monza,” Vet­tel said.

“But it is more im­por­tant to have the lead of the cham­pi­onship on Sun­day night at the fi­nal race in Abu Dhabi.

“We have a lot of races, and a lot of time to get points. We will count them at the end.”

Lewis Hamilton has been in great form since the break

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