Jubilant Mercedes driver felt confident of challenging for win in the wet even before Vettel-Raikkonen-Verstappen wipe out
Monday 18 September 2017 11:05, UK
Lewis Hamilton said he knew he could win the Singapore GP the moment it starting raining, after he delivered a potentially defining victory in F1 2017's title race.
Having gone into Sunday's grand prix hoping for a "miracle" from fifth on the grid, Hamilton could scarcely believe his luck as polesitting rival Sebastian Vettel's race miserably ended on the first lap.
While Vettel collided with Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen off the line, and then spun his damaged Ferrari into the barriers coming out of Turn Three, Hamilton avoided the chaos and inherited a lead he never surrendered despite three Safety Cars in challenging wet-dry weather.
But even before three of his main rivals were wiped out inside the race's opening seconds, Hamilton believed the conditions had given him an opportunity to claim an unlikely result.
"I didn't pray for a miracle or for anything to happen but when it rained I thought 'this is it, I can win from fifth'," he told Sky Sports F1. "I was sure I could do something and then everyone disappeared.
"I was really happy, no mistakes, a well-controlled race in those conditions."
It was Hamilton's 60th F1 victory and his fourth in the last five races.
"Today the miracle I needed was rain. We've come here 10 years and we've never had rain on a Sunday, or even in qualifying," he said.
"It was the first time we were all driving in the rain and when that happened I was like 'yes, it's going to be my day'."
Hamilton's third win in a row and Vettel's first retirement of 2017 means the Mercedes man has unexpectedly opened up a 28-point advantage in the Drivers' Championship with six races to go.
"Coming here with the idea of damage limitation, thinking 'I'm going to come out of here behind in the championship again' and now I'm further ahead," said Hamilton, who dislodged Vettel from the head of the standings a fortnight ago at Monza.
"I definitely count my blessings and don't take it for granted."
Hamilton was following Vettel out of Turn Three when his championship rival spun towards the wall and admitted "I was hoping he wouldn't collect me" as the Ferrari bounced back onto the track.
Asked if Vettel's misfortune was somehow payback for June's controversial Azerbaijan GP, when the German still finished one place ahead despite receiving a time penalty for driving into the Englishman's Mercedes, Hamilton replied: "I don't know if it's Karma but whatever it is I will definitely take it.
"I love the positivity and energy that's come from today. I love dancing in the rain and I'm grateful for it. This is our weakest circuit so to come away with the win, couldn't be happier."
Team boss Toto Wolff added: "Formula 1 is incredibly complicated, but days like this remind you that it is still a sport - and that you never know what might happen."
If you are using skysports.com you can comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.