After having a barren run this season, Sebastian Vettel finally managed to emerge victorious last night at the Singapore Grand Prix. His last Grand Prix win was registered almost 392 days ago in Belgium and since then he had a no victories and very few podiums. However, yesterday the stars aligned under the lights of Singapore’s Marina Bay as the Ferrari driver took advantage of an unpredictable strategy call to beat teammate and pole-sitter Charles Leclerc to take the win. On the other hand, Redbull driver, Max Verstappen made it to the podium by leaving behind both Mercedes’ drivers.
At the start of the race, Vettel looked out of contention in P3, as Leclerc and Hamilton started at P1 and P2 respectively. In the early stages, Leclerc and Hamilton managed the pace at the top of the order, as they looked after their tyres to enable them to make their one-stop strategy work. But as Nico Hulkenberg entered their pit window, because of a puncture after contact with Carlos Sainz, Ferrari opted to box Vettel first to protect him, as he was the most vulnerable. Surprisingly, the strategy worked, as the German racer rejoined the race just ahead of the Hulkenberg’s Renault.
Using all the speed available, Vettel paced on the fresh hard tyres, to undercut Leclerc, who pitted in the next lap, which helped him rejoin with his teammate. Leclerc then questioned the call several times on team radio and even asked them to give him more power so he could attack Vettel, but the team ultimately told him to hold the position. With the aid of three Safety Cars, called for George Russell and Kimi Raikkonen’s crash, and with a DNF for Sergio Perez, Vettel was able to manage his tyres and strategy to cross the line and win his fifth Singapore Grand Prix. This is also the first time he has won five times at any venue. On the other hand, Leclerc came completed the race 2.6s behind his teammate, while Max Verstappen managed to make it to the podium for Red Bull after he benefitted from an early pit stop to overtake Hamilton, forcing the championship leader into the fourth place.
The other Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas finished fifth, after been told to back off the pace to allow Hamilton to pit and rejoin ahead. Red Bull’s Alexander Albon managed P6 and Lando Norris came seventh in his McLaren. Pierre Gasly ended up eighth, with Hulkenberg and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, who led the race for six laps after running deep, completing in the top-10.
Here is a list of the top-5:
- Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:58:33.667
- Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – +2.641s
- Max Verstappen – Red Bull Racing – +3.821s
- Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – +4.608s
- Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes – +6.119s