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No room for error for Hamilton

Hamilton focused on last six races as he warns of a Ferrari fightback

Once bitten, twice shy.

After losing last year's Formula One world championship to retired teammate Nico Rosberg by a mere five points, Lewis Hamilton is determined not to let history repeat itself.

The Mercedes star capitalised on Ferrari's first-lap disaster to win the rain-hit Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday, after starting the race in fifth place on the grid.

With the win, Hamilton opened up a potentially decisive 28-point lead over Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' standings with six races left.

The 32-year-old Briton is in the driver's seat for a fourth world title, but he said his priority this year is simple: keep errors to a minimum.

"For me (Singapore) was just about staying focused and not making any mistakes. Something I'm very set on this year," said Hamilton.

"Coming from last year, 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 focusing on not making any mistakes seems to be working."

Hamilton has now won the last three races, but he said he was expecting a strong response from Ferrari in the last six races, starting with Malaysia next week.

"Honestly, I think it's going to be very close in the next races," he said, warning that Ferrari would be particularly strong in Japan and Brazil.

"It's hard to predict."

Hamilton was one of only 12 drivers to finish the first wet race on the floodlit streets of Singapore, which started with a game-changing crash and saw three safety cars.

Pole-sitter Vettel and third-placed Kimi Raikkonen sandwiched Red Bull's Max Verstappen going into the first corner, resulting in a crash which took out all three and also ended the race of McLaren's Fernando Alonso.

Asked whether it was karmic retribution for Azerbaijan in June, when Vettel finished ahead of Hamilton despite driving into him, the Briton told Sky Sports: "I don't know if it's karma but, whatever it is, I will definitely take it."

Hamilton said he felt like the spirit of his hero Ayrton Senna guided him to victory, with the late Brazilian's infamous mistake at Monaco 1988 - when Senna crashed late on while leading comfortably - coming to his mind during Sunday's race.

"At the Monaco Grand Prix, he was in the lead and hit the wall. I think that always comes into mind," he said.

"I've had experiences like that, but that always comes and reminds me.

"It's almost like he talks to me."

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff wants his charges to remain focused.

"We mustn't drop the ball," said the Austrian.

"We just need to continue and get on with the job.

"There's lots of time for cheering when we've actually done it."

With his 60th win, Hamilton is slowly closing in on Michael Schumacher's record of 91, but he said the great German's haul of seven world titles was far from his mind.

"It's hard enough to get these championships won one at a time, it's hard enough just to get this fourth one," he said.

"I'm loving driving more than ever. I feel like I'm driving better than ever.

"I feel the most whole as a driver that I've ever been, which is a great feeling."

- WIRE SERVICES

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