Formula 1 sporting boss Ross Brawn believes Lewis Hamilton’s victory at the Singapore Grand Prix marked an “important step” in this year’s title race.

Having claimed pole position thanks to a brilliant lap in qualifying, Hamilton went on to record his seventh victory of 2018 under the lights in Singapore, despite Mercedes’ pre-race fears of a tricky weekend at a circuit it struggled for pace at last year.

The win enabled Hamilton to open up a 40-point advantage over chief title rival Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings, as the Briton followed up on his previous triumph on Ferrari’s home soil at Monza.

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“The result and the gaps at the front don’t really tell the story of just how untouchable Lewis was and he produced a masterclass in extracting the most out the package at his disposal, pushing when he had to and managing the tyres where possible,” Brawn said.

“The win is an important step, if not yet the decisive one, in his duel with Sebastian Vettel. It’s also proof that Mercedes, the dominant force of this hybrid era, is still working to improve in areas where it has maybe lost some ground in recent times.

“When you are at the top, there’s no room for complacency, a mantra that Mercedes and its champion drivers continue to follow with aplomb.”

While Brawn reckons Ferrari and Vettel can still overhaul Mercedes with six races left to go, he stressed the Scuderia must act quickly to find answers for its lack of performance in Singapore.

“While Mercedes leave Singapore in high spirits, Ferrari must be somewhat concerned by their form at Marina Bay, and in recent weeks,” Brawn explained.

“After the summer break, the Italian team was dominant, winning in Spa and getting both cars on the front row in Monza. However, since then, the spell has been broken.

“At its home race, the defeat could be put down to various incidents, but in Singapore, both Mercedes and Red Bull were better.

“The men in red admitted they made the most of what was available to them and they need to work out why as soon as possible,” he added.

“The gap in both championships is not yet insurmountable, but it is significant, especially against a strong rival in the habit of winning.

“Ferrari can count on a car that has always been competitive and on drivers who know how to fight for a title, but now they need to turn things around, starting in Sochi.”

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