Sir Lewis Hamilton’s Singapore Grand Prix ended in complete misery for the seven-time World Champion, after what was looking set to be a bright weekend for the Silver Arrows.
The end result was the complete opposite of ‘bright’, as Hamilton made two huge costly errors which saw his podium hopes diminish instantly.
After qualifying third, the 37-year-old made an initially strong launch in the damp conditions at the Marina Bay Circuit; however, the second phase of his start saw his W13 suffer from horrendous wheelspin which allowed Carlos Sainz to sail past.
Hamilton tried to hang around the outside of the Spaniard at Turn One but was left with no room.
The Mercedes driver quickly settled into the race in fourth, behind Sainz, before his evening quickly unravelled.
On Lap 33, Hamilton braked far too late at Turn Seven, which saw the Brit crash directly into the barrier on the exit of the corner.
Thankfully for the 103-time GP winner, the direct contact meant that only his front-wing suffered damage, meaning he was able to reverse out of the barrier and continue.
He re-joined in fifth place, between Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, before being forced to pit due to his broken front-left endplate throwing sparks into the face of the championship leader.
The nose and tyre change saw Hamilton drop to ninth, behind Daniel Ricciardo and both Aston Martins.
Whilst the British driver was considerably faster than Sebastian Vettel directly ahead, he again failed to find a way past.
Hamilton attempted a move in the final two minutes of the race at Turn Eight, but locked-up after ending up on the wet part of the circuit.
This allowed Verstappen to overtake Hamilton, dropping the Brit to ninth.
The race was a problematic one for the Mercedes driver, who believes he had the pace to keep up with race winner Sergio Pérez had it not been for “getting stuck” behind Sainz.
“(It was) a difficult start and then getting stuck behind Carlos,” Hamilton explained.
“I don’t know why he was so slow but obviously, I was not quick enough to get past him in these conditions,” Hamilton said.
“And then just sitting behind him. I think I could have done similar times to the guys ahead, but because I was stuck behind him I couldn’t. I think if I was in third, I could have kept with the guys up ahead.”
Despite the promising weekend turning into a miserable one for the experienced driver, Hamilton isn’t going to “punish” himself for the mistakes he made, despite knowing his race “was all over” after crashing into the barrier.
“I think we started off with a pretty decent weekend and were just really, really unfortunate at the end,” Hamilton said.
“It was difficult to overtake and that lock-up into Turn 7 – when those things happen your heart sinks a little bit.
“I knew it was all over from then, but these things happen. I’m not going to punish myself for a mistake.
“It was very tricky conditions for everyone. The problems that we have with this car are magnified in the rain when it’s wet, and it’s a very, very hard car to drive in the rain.
“It all went out the window when I locked up, so my apologies to the team, but we live and learn, and I’ll recover.”