Hamilton heads into Asian tour as leader, Vettel well placed

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Monza (Italy), Sep 4 (IANS) Briton F1 driver Lewis Hamilton is headed to the challenging Asian tour as leader in the title-race following his win at Monza thanks to the efforts of his Mercedes-Benz team, which he recognised on Monday.

After a sparkling triumph at the Italy Grand Prix on Sunday, Hamilton leapfrogged Ferrari’s German driver Sebastian Vettel to the top of the 2017 Driver Standings for the first time this season and led by three points with seven races to go, reports Efe.

“My engineers have done an exceptional job, we’re working better than we’ve ever worked and it’s really starting to reflect in our results,” Hamilton told British broadcaster Channel 4. “(Monza was) just an exceptional weekend from the team.”

The three-time world champion demonstrated his strength at Monza, which is considered to be Ferrari’s playground and Vettel is now widely regarded as the only driver that stands in his way to victory.

Numbers, however, show that Hamilton’s mission won’t be easy, as the four-time world champion Vettel has been the most successful active driver at the three upcoming races in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, with four wins in each.

Formula One is to continue on September 15-17 in Singapore, where victory has resisted Vettel and Hamilton just three times since the inaugural edition at Marina Bay in 2008.

The 32-year-old Hamilton won the race twice — in 2009 with McLaren and 2014 with Mercedes, compared to Vettel’s four titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013 with Red Bull and 2015 with his current team.

The next destination is to be the Sepang Circuit in Kuala Lumpur, which won’t be less complicated for Hamilton, as Vettel has also won four times while the Briton won his maiden and only crown at the Malaysia Grand Prix in 2014.

Spanish McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, two-time world champion, is the only person to have won the race driving three different cars — in 2005 with Renault, in 2007 with McLaren and 2012 with Ferrari.

Hamilton is also set to challenge Vettel’s leadership in Japan, where the latter has won the crown four times, while the former is one of just two drivers, alongside Alonso, to have won both at Fuji and Suzuka Circuits.

–IANS

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