Lewis Hamilton found himself in the unfamiliar position of watching the Singapore Grand Prix podium ceremony on TV as no Mercedes driver made it into the top three in the race at Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the five-time F1 World Champion increased his points lead over second-place man Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and it is unlikely the Finn has it in him to steal the title in remaining races.
Despite the Bottas 2.0 spin of the early season his role within the Silver Arrows is very much defined: wingman.
Thus the real gap, to real rivals is the 96 points to Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen – the pair tied on 200 points apiece with six rounds to run. Hamilton is sure to seal the deal in the Americas in late October
Despite the lead, Hamilton is taking nothing for granted and fired a shot at his team after the night race, “I am under no illusion that my gap in the championship could disappear. It is not won yet.
“We need to pull our socks up and get the f@ck on basically. We can squeeze more out of this car and individually we can do better. We don’t feel great but I think that is a good thing.
“We will go to Russia and try to rev ourselves up and do a better job – but these next few races are going to be tough. I am a realist so I see the situation we are in.”
“Clearly, Ferrari’s car works really well everywhere now so it is going to be very hard to beat them. Of course, the battle has got tighter and we welcome that. But at the same time we have just got to be doing a better job.
“We did such a great job at the beginning of the year. We have just got to re-huddle and work together,” added Hamilton in what was an undisguised call to action for a team that does not know how to lose, and herein may lie their greatest weakness.