17 Sep 2018

Hartley misses out on points at Singapore GP

6:52 am on 17 September 2018

New Zealand Formula One driver Brendon Hartley finishes in 17th position at the Singapore Grand Prix

Brendon Hartley racing on Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore

Brendon Hartley racing on Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore Photo: © Actionplus 2018

Brendon Hartley knew that in order to claim points at the Singapore Grand Prix he needed to be innovative but the decision to pit early cost him dearly re-entering the race stuck in traffic, then losing pace to Kevin Magnussen.

The result leaves Hartley second-to-last in the overall driver standings.

"We rolled the dice today and decided to pit early, I was quicker than the guys in front being on the Hypersoft," says Hartley

"There were a couple of good scraps out there but we didn't have the pace for points today. It's disappointing as we had high hopes for Singapore."

"We tried to do something different to move up the field, but it didn't work out."

Lewis Hamilton started on pole (his record-stretching 79th) for his seventh win of the season, 69th of his career and fourth in Singapore.

The Brit, who made his one stop on lap 15, is 40 points clear of Sebastian Vettel in the title battle while Mercedes are 37 ahead in the constructors' standings.

Valteri Bottas started where he finished and is now three points behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen overall.

Sebastian Vettel arrived seeking a spark to reignite his title challenge but the German will leave Southeast Asia further adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton after another disappointing race in a season full of low points.

Poor tactical driving, strategic errors and a first-lap spin at Monza last time out left the Ferrari driver 30 points behind Hamilton with seven rounds remaining, and Singapore was seen as pivotal in helping arrest Vettel's mid-season decline.

Ferrari were heavy favourites to win around the floodlit Marina Bay Street Circuit this weekend, yet once Hamilton had coaxed his Mercedes to a stunning pole position, Vettel was firmly on the back foot as his title rival eased to victory.

Vettel ended up third behind Hamilton and Max Verstappen, losing another 10 points to the Briton with the prospect of a Mercedes-friendly circuit in Sochi next up on the calendar likely to further dampen his mood.

"Lewis said he didn't expect to come here and gain 10 points and we probably didn't expect to lose 10," says Vettel

"The speed is there and today, if anything, we were a little bit slower. But it's difficult to draw conclusions as I had a very different race."