Monza winner Lewis Hamilton expects a closer battle.in Singapore. File photo: Antonio Calanni / AP

Singapore - Lewis Hamilton arrives in Singapore as Formula One leader and the season’s first back-to-back winner, but Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel could dash the Mercedes driver’s hopes of a third consecutive win on Sunday.

Hamilton led team mate Valtteri Bottas in a dominant one-two at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago to take his second successive win from a record 69th pole position.

Vettel trailed home in third place, more than half a minute behind Hamilton, and lost the overall lead he had enjoyed all season with Hamilton now three points clear and seven races remaining.

Now Mercedes is braced for a Ferrari backlash at the Marina Bay street circuit; the team’s non-executive chairman Niki Lauda said after the Monza race: “Singapore will be a different story but it’s better to go there in the lead than behind.”

Hamilton also expects a closer battle.

“I think the learning from these two weeks should hopefully put us in a better position for Singapore,” he told reporters. “But I think still Ferrari are going to be quick there. They’re rapid through the medium and low speed sections of the circuits.”

The tight twists of the Singapore track, which has the most corners of any circuit on the calendar, should play to Ferrari’s strengths.

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