Hamilton off pace as Rosberg takes driver’s seat in title race
A GLUM Lewis Hamilton has admitted he does not know if he will be back on the pace in the championship battle after being thrashed by Nico Rosberg at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Hamilton now trails Rosberg by eight points after he finished only third at the Marina Bay street circuit on Sunday, while his Mercedes team-mate fended off a dramatic late charge from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to seal a hat-trick of consecutive wins.
Hamilton, who has been off colour here this weekend, was a whopping seven tenths of a second slower than Rosberg in qualifying, and the 31-yearold Briton failed to make any impact on his title rival in Sunday’s race.
For the first time this season, and arguably the first in the three years in which they have battled for the championship, Rosberg delivered a crushing victory over Hamilton.
And, after leading the championship race by 43 points, and then finding himself 19 behind, Rosberg is now eight points ahead with six rounds left. So, is his team-mate worried?
“The next race will tell,’’ a subdued Hamilton said on Sunday night. “I’m not really thinking too much about it at the moment. We have got six races left, so I’ve just got to keep pushing in those six races.’’
Hamilton won six of the seven rounds heading into the sport’s annual summer break. But as he holidayed in Costa Rica, Barbados and the United States, Rosberg spent the three-week shutdown with his wife Vivian and their one-yearold daughter Alaia. Rosberg has won the three races since and led virtually every lap.
Hamilton dismissed the notion that he would have done anything differently over the summer, instead paying tribute to his championship rival.
“Nico just did an exceptional job this weekend and we didn’t,’’ Hamilton said. “What it’s going to take for the momentum to change? Just some good weekends which we’ve had in the past.
“We’re both fiercely competitive. Some weekends he does great, some weekends I do great.’’
Hamilton headed into Sunday’s race under the lights hoping luck would be on his side after he qualified third at a circuit where it is almost impossible to overtake.
But the Stevenage-born racer endured an arduous night as he failed to challenge either Rosberg or Ricciardo before a mistake on lap 33 enabled Kimi Raikkonen to pass him, too.
While Hamilton managed to leapfrog the Ferrari – after Mercedes caught the Italian team off-guard with a third pit stop – to claim his 99th podium finish, it is Rosberg who is now in charge of the championship.
The 31-year-old German – despite Red Bull attempting an aggressive threestop strategy that led to a fascinating crescendo – sealed his inaugural win at Singapore and his first podium finish here since 2008.
“It’s been an awesome weekend in Singapore,’’ Rosberg said. “Of course Daniel tried to pull one up on me with the pit stop. We knew it was going to be tight at the end, but it worked out, so I’m really, really happy.’’
Sebastian Vettel started last on the grid, but finished an impressive fifth, one place ahead of Max Verstappen, with Fernando Alonso seventh for McLaren.
British rookie Jolyon Palmer crossed the line in 15th, while Jenson Button retired with a mechanical problem. Aaron Summers led from the front as Glasgow Tigers yesterday shot down Workington Comets,
The popular Aussie powered to 14 points and the skipper was backed up by former Comets star Rene Bach with 13 points.
Nike Lunna with ten points also claimed double-figures in the rout and fans can almost certainly look forward to another cup final for Tigers.
Comets only won one of the 15 heats when Mason Campton, who made his British debut with Tigers in 2012, was first to the tape in heat eight. And the result was achieved despite former Workington racer Richard Lawson, Tigers’ No 1 rider, only claiming six points. TODAY Football LaLiga, Alaves v Deportivo La Coruna - Sky Sports 1, 1940. Cycling Eneco Tour - Eurosport 1, 1330. Tennis ATP St Petersburg Open - Eurosport 1, 1530. Snooker Shanghai Masters - Eurosport 2, 0730. American Football NFL, Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles - Sky Sports 1, 0130 (Tue). Baseball MLB, Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox - BT Sport/ESPN, 1915; Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox - BT Sport/ESPN, 0000 (Tue).
HIGH FLIER: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg of Germany leaps from his car as he celebrates victory on the spectacular Marina Bay Street Circuit Singapore.