As he sat savouring life in the afterglow of a stunning, unexpected victory that may have taken him one giant step closer to his fourth world championship, Lewis Hamilton spoke of how much he loves racing in the wet, and how sometimes it is as if his idol Ayrton Senna speaks with him during his toughest contests.
And few have been quite as challenging as the 10th Singapore Grand Prix, which created another little bit of history as the first night race to be run in the wet.
“When it started raining when I woke up this morning, I was thinking, ‘fantastic’, because it’s a very difficult circuit on which to overtake,” Hamilton said. “Being fifth on the grid, knowing that the Red Bulls and the Ferraris were so quick, on a grippy circuit which would probably be dry, I knew it would be very, very difficult to progress from there. But I did know there is a start, a strategy, and the potential for a safety car; that often happens here every year. It dried up but then it started to rain again just before the start, which was really a real blessing.
“The rain is very much an opportunity to make a difference with your driving in those conditions. And today [Sunday] I was really able to. It was the first time for all of us driving here in the rain, so it was a massive, massive challenge. I love that.
“When you have to rise to the toughest of challenges, that’s the most exciting part for me. It was just about staying focussed and not making any mistakes. That’s something I’m very set on this year. That’s kind of, for me, coming from last year, for example, where there were lots of mistakes. This is a year I try to make sure that, if I’m going to grow anywhere, in any space, that’s going to be it. And the focus on not making any mistakes seems to be working.”
He admitted that he feels a little bit apprehensive in such conditions, even though you wouldn’t know it from the way his driving flows.
Hamilton now leads Vettel by 28 points in the world championship (Getty)
“It’s a little bit nerve wracking, isn’t it, because it makes it so much trickier for us, and we’d never driven here in the rain. But there’s a couple of us that particularly love those conditions more than maybe others. It’s more of a lottery, there’s more opportunity, it levels the playing field. And then there’s a real race, and that’s what I was excited to have.
“It was still a massive challenge, and I could have easily just binned…