Hamilton kept Senna's Monaco 1988 shunt in mind in Singapore GP

Lewis Hamilton says he could "easily have binned it" while leading the Singapore Grand Prix in treacherous conditions, so kept Formula 1 hero Ayrton Senna in mind to avoid crashing

Hamilton kept Senna's Monaco 1988 shunt in mind in Singapore GP

Hamilton took advantage of a chaotic first lap to lead the first Singapore GP affected by rain from start to finish, beating Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull to victory as F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out at the start and only 12 cars made the finish.

GRAND PRIX ANALYSIS: Vettel only has himself to blame

Hamilton usually thrives in mixed conditions, but described the race as a "massive challenge", despite his dominant performance, and said he kept in mind Senna's needless crash while dominating the 1988 Monaco GP in order to bring the car home without incident.

"It was the first time for all of us driving here in the rain, so it was a massive, massive challenge," Hamilton said. "I could have easily just binned it.

"Generally, through the whole race, I kept... every now and then, Senna pops into my mind... his Monaco Grand Prix where he was in the lead and hit the wall. That always comes in and reminds me not to do that.

"It's almost like he talks to me: 'just stay focused, keep it together'."

Mercedes was well off the pace in dry conditions in qualifying, but came alive in the cooler, wet conditions of Sunday, allowing Hamilton to unexpectedly dominate the race.

"Normally when it rains, you're a little bit apprehensive, it's a little bit nerve wracking, because it makes it so much trickier for us and here we've never even driven in the rain," Hamilton added.

"But for me, I'm kind of like... 'yes!'

"I think there's a couple of us that particularly love those conditions more than maybe others.

"It's very much an opportunity to really make a difference with your driving, and I was really able to.

"I just know that when those conditions happen 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 couldn't be a more perfect scenario really for us, being that we are at a circuit where they [Ferrari and Red Bull] were in another world in hotter, drier conditions and we really had not a lot of hope.

"We really had to just bank on potentially a good start and maybe a bit of strategy, just to get us one or two places.

"It was going to be one place maybe, or hope for [bad] reliability for another car, but for the rain to fall, I was so happy - you can't imagine how happy I was."

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