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SINGAPORE, Sept 16, 2018 (News Wires) - Lewis Hamilton wins the floodlit Singapore Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday to extend his championship lead over Sebastian Vettel to a commanding 40 points.

The Mercedes driver made a clean start and was largely untroubled as he beat Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by nine seconds, with Vettel much further back in third.

The four-time Formula One champion recorded his seventh win of the season and 69th of his F1 career. Vettel's championship bid crumbled when he crashed from pole here last year and then went on to lose the title by 46 points to Hamilton.

It is looking increasingly like a repeat scenario for the Ferrari driver, who now has just six races left to catch Hamilton as they both bid for a fifth F1 title.

Vettel was unhappy with his team after qualifying in third place behind Verstappen, and the German driver sounded irritated during Sunday's race after a team strategy error to send him into the pits for a tire change before Hamilton failed to work.

Instead he lost position and crucial points, dropping back behind Verstappen having earlier overtaken him.

 

SINGAPORE, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Lewis Hamilton insisted that he had been energised by racking up the air miles while his title rivals were preparing for the toughest race on the calendar in Singapore.

The Mercedes driver stretched his lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to 30 points with his victory at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza two weeks ago.

Hamilton then jetted off on a frantic time zone-hopping schedule that took him to fashion shows for his new clothing range in Shanghai and New York before landing in Singapore.

The English four-time world champion denied his hectic off-track life was an unwelcome distraction, instead claiming it actually helped him win races.

BELGIUM, August 23, 2018 (News Wires) - Lewis Hamilton will return refreshed and ready to close in on his fifth world title this weekend when Formula One resumes after the summer break at the Belgian Grand Prix.

After three weeks of inactivity, punctuated by retirement and transfer announcements, the defending four-time champion and his Mercedes team will relish a chance to extend their three-race winning run at the majestic Spa-Francorchamps circuit set in the Ardennes forests.

Hamilton, who is 24 points clear of Ferrari's four-time champion Sebastian Vettel with nine races remaining, has won two of the last three Belgian races and is seeking his fourth overall.

"The second half of the season, after the summer break, is usually better for us," said Hamilton.

"It is always exciting, always intense and particularly so when we go to the long-haul races... It usually gets better for us."

Hamilton will expect a very tough battle with Vettel, however, as Ferrari bid to bounce back for the championship run-in starting with back-to-back weekend races in Belgium and then on home soil at Monza in Italy.

His Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff has been busy damping down any signs of over-optimism and warned that the final months are likely to remain as hotly-contested as the earlier part of the season.

"The competitive balance swings back and forth from circuit to circuit," he said, in a team preview.

"What is clear is that our competitors are pushing extremely hard and put up a very tough fight.

"There are no clear favourites at specific tracks anymore and it’s not always the fastest car that wins."

Hamilton's healthy position at the head of the title race owes as much to fickle weather conditions and some good fortune -– or bad luck for rivals – as it does to his mesmerising talent in wet conditions.

He will be fully prepared for a wet-and-dry contest this weekend at a track where it can be raining in one corner and bathed in sunshine in another.

Hamilton would be wise too to be ready for a challenge from Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who is something of a Spa specialist and is within reach of his 100th podium finish after taking a top three spot in all of his last five outings.

The 38-year-old has won four times at Spa including claiming Ferrari's last victory in 2009. But he is without a win in 106 races since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.

A Belgian triumph would be a timely boost for his hopes of retaining his seat at Ferrari next year when it has been widely suggested that Monegasque protege Charles Leclerc, of Sauber, will step up and replace him.

After making his decision to leave Red Bull for Renault next year, Daniel Ricciardo could also be a strong challenger along with Max Verstappen, his Dutch Red Bull teammate.

Ricciardo is to be replaced at Red Bull by Pierre Gasly, of sister team Toro Rosso.

Fernando Alonso’s announcement that he intends to leave McLaren and F1 at the end of the year was also unexpected -– he will be replaced by fellow-Spaniard Carlos Sainz, of Renault -– and sets him up for a brief 'farewell tour' in which he would also be a popular winner.

BUDAPEST, July 28, 2018 (News Wires) - Lewis Hamilton danced in the rain on his way to a memorable pole Saturday ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes secured a front row lockout for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The championship leading Briton, who is battling with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for a fifth drivers’ world title, delivered another master-class in wet-weather driving and perfect timing.

He chose to go for his final flying lap in the dying seconds of the session and grabbed pole with a lap that produced his team’s fourth lockout of the season.

Six days after his epic drive from 14th on the grid to win the rain-hit German Grand Prix last Sunday, he claimed his sixth pole in Hungary, his fifth this year and the 77th of his career.

“Are we good?” Hamilton asked his team over the radio. “We're good,” came the reply.

“It’s great for the team to have a one-two,” added Hamilton. “Jeez. We couldn’t have expected this. The heavens opened and it was fair game ”

Hamilton was nearly three-tenths quicker than Bottas who was second ahead of fellow-Finn Kimi Raikkonen and his Ferrari team-mate Vettel, Carlos Sainz of Renault and Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso.

“When it was drier it was a bit like doing ballet and tip-toeing, trying to find a line,” added Hamilton.

“It was give and take all the way around. We’ve got a great position so we’re going to do our best to keep the red guys behind us ”

 

HOCKENHEIM, Germany, July 23, 2018 (News Wires) - Lewis Hamilton kept his victory in the German Grand Prix despite being summoned to the stewards for an aborted pit stop during the safety car period of the race.

The world champion received a reprimand but was not stripped of his spectacular win.

The stewards had summoned the Mercedes star to investigate a possible breach of the International Motoring Federation (FIA) Sporting Code when he crossed a line between the pit entry lane and the race circuit.

Hamilton stormed from 14th on the grid to win the rain-hit race and regain the leadership of the world championship after title rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out in the treacherous conditions.

SHANGHAI, April 11, 2018 - Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel can complete a hat-trick of wins to start the season on Sunday but China also offers reigning Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton a perfect opportunity to end his rival's run of success.

The 33-year-old Mercedes driver has won the race on the outskirts of Shanghai an unprecedented five times, with the Briton's most recent triumph coming as recently as last year.

Hamilton will be desperately hoping the Shanghai International Circuit delivers a sixth as he bids to claw back some of the 17-point deficit to championship leader Vettel in the overall standings.

"It's always been a good track for me," said Hamilton, who finished third in Bahrain on Sunday after starting ninth due to a gearbox penalty.

"So I really hope that I'm able to climb the ladder and get back to where we've been working towards being in the last two races."

Wins in the Australian season-opener and Bahrain means the momentum for the moment is with Vettel, the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher in 2004 to start the year with successive wins.

The last time a driver failed to win the championship after winning the opening two races was in 1982, when Alain Prost started strongly but lost out to Keke Rosberg.

Hamilton can still take comfort from last year, when he clinched his fourth championship despite Vettel also winning in Australia and Bahrain, which was the third race of that season.

He can also draw encouragement from the speed and reliability of his Mercedes, with the Briton poised to set a Formula One record on Sunday of 28 successive races in the points.

Hamilton had a clear edge over Ferrari in Melbourne and teammate Valtteri Bottas came within a second of snatching victory from pole-sitter Vettel in Bahrain.

"That... was the minimum result we should expect with both Red Bulls and (Vettel's teammate) Kimi (Raikkonen) out of the race," Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said.

"So we started to analyse what went wrong in Bahrain in order to improve for China and come back stronger."

The defending constructors' champions have won the Chinese race five times in the last six years, including four in succession, whereas Ferrari last won it in 2013.

"It's a tricky one to get everything right," Vettel, also a four-time world champion, said in Bahrain. "But if we do, like this weekend, and we find the sweet spot, then I'm pretty confident that we can do well there as well."

Red Bull are also yet to show their hand, with both Daniel Ricicardo and Max Verstappen retiring in the first five laps in Bahrain.

The former champions have finished on the podium in Shanghai in the last two years and could still make it a three-way fight.

"It will swing from race track to race track," Wolff added in Bahrain. "I think that's going to be the model of the season."