Lewis Hamilton says he thought he could have still mounted a challenge for victory in the Singapore Grand Prix before he was forced into his first retirement of the season with mechanical issues.

On a weekend that has seen Mercedes comprehensively out-performed by Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of pure pace, the German firm would also suffer its second technical drama in as many races as Hamilton this time suffered.

Even so, Hamilton was surprised by his competiveness in the early stages as he ran fifth initially before progressing to fourth after the first wave of pit-stops, during which he took on the prime tyres.

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With top three on the super-softs, Hamilton says he was keeping up with the front runners enough to believe he could have proven a factor in the closing stages on more favourable rubber.

However, he would ultimately be prevented from finding out what the car was capable of when it lost power. Despite persevering for ten laps, Hamilton requested to be retired when he was overtaken by the Manors.

"I was feeling super-optimistic in the car, I really was," he told Sky Sports F1. "The guys in front were on the option and I was on the prime and I was easily keeping up with the guys, so I thinking we may have a race on our hands', the balance was nice and under control, so I was waiting for that time to push to see what I could get from the car, but I lost power. I was hoping for a quick fix but it never came.

"They were telling me to make these changes and none of them were making any difference. Then I got overtaken by the Manors and I knew I was in last place, so I knew winning was out of the question. Then they started pulling away so I knew points were out of the equation."

Despite the dismal conclusion to a tough weekend, Hamilton - who saw his lead reduced from 53 points to 41 points after Nico Rosberg finished fourth - was in a philosophical mood, pointing out he was still faster than his team-mate before the problems.

"I feel content with the job I did this weekend. I came here, I trained, I drove the best I could, I qualified ahead of my team-mate, I was faster than my team-mate in the race, and I felt good in the car. Whilst it has not been the most positive for the team, I am sure we will bounce back."


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He wouldn't have won... he wasn't that much quicker than Rosberg and did he fight for victory at the end?

Maybe without the safety car things would have been slightly more favourable for Mercedes, but the Ferraris and Red Bull had the pace comfortably.