Vettel victorious at the Singapore Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel finally scores his first Formula 1 victory in over a year as Charles Leclerc was not happy with his team’s strategy decision in the Singapore Grand Prix.

Leclerc led the opening stage of the race from pole position but fell behind Vettel after Ferrari pit the second-placed car first, which Vettel converted into a first win of the season since the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix.

After being told to save his power unit 15 laps from the finish, Leclerc’s response to Ferrari included: “I just don’t think it is fair, but I won’t do anything stupid.”

Max Verstappen completed the podium for Red Bull, after early second-place runner Lewis Hamilton slipped down to fourth position after the longest opening stint of any of the frontrunners.

Hamilton led the pursuit of Leclerc in the opening stages, but Leclerc was managing his pace and backed up the front group.

That prevented any of the drivers from the big three teams from attempting an undercut until lap 19, as the midfield package remained too close to the frontrunners.

However, once those in the midfield started to pit, a gap emerged – and Verstappen looked set to be the first to utilise that as he complained of fading rear tyres.

At the same time, Ferrari brought in third-placed Vettel, which also gave him the chance to use fresh set of Pirelli to get ahead of Hamilton.

Leclerc stopped one later, but Vettel’s pace advantage was enough to jump his teammate.

Mercedes opted to extend Hamilton’s stint out front by six laps compared to Leclerc and his pace faded considerably on fading softs.

Hamilton’s pace was not great that Mercedes even ordered Valtteri Bottas, who had already stopped from fifth position, to back off the lap before Hamilton’s pitstop.

This was to prevent Hamilton losing track position to both Bottas and the Red Bull of Alex Albon, thus protecting fourth and fifth for Mercedes.

Once behind, Leclerc started to pressure Vettel but lost ground to his teammate as they worked their way through the midfield cars running long.

Vettel’s progress to the front included an aggressive move on Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso, and when he got there he had to manage three safety-car periods.

The first of those came when Romain Grosjean and George Russell collided and the Williams was turned into the wall exiting Turn 8 on lap 36.

Vettel faced no threat at the restart on lap 41 but the safety car came out again three laps later, after the Racing Point of Sergio Perez stopped on the straight between Turns 10 and 11 with a problem.

That took three laps to clear, during which Leclerc requested “everything” for the restart but was told by Ferrari to manage the engine and “bring the car home”.

“Yeah, I won’t do anything stupid – it’s not my goal,” Leclerc responded. “I want us to finish one-two, I just think it’s not fair. This won’t change, I won’t be stupid.”

One final safety car period stood between Vettel and victory, thanks to Daniil Kvyat lunging Kimi Raikkonen at the first corner on lap 50, breaking the Alfa Romeo’s front left wheel and putting Raikkonen out on the spot.

A one-lap safety car appearance followed, after which the race continued without interruption as Vettel won by 1.6 seconds.

Verstappen fended off Hamilton to complete the top three at a race Red Bull and Honda had hoped to challenge for victory, but a return to the podium was reward for the team’s decision to pitstop at the same time with Vettel while running fourth early on.

Bottas finished fifth, missing out on fastest lap late on after dropping away from Hamilton to get clear air, with Albon in sixth position.

Lando Norris was an excellent seventh for McLaren. He assumed the lead of the midfield fight after teammate Carlos Sainz and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg collided on the opening lap.

Hulkenberg dived inside Sainz at the fast Turn 4 right-hander, clobbering the right-rear of the McLaren and forcing Sainz to limp back to the pits.

Norris moved ahead of Hulkenberg when the German was forced into the pits at the end of the lap with damage, and serenely controlled the best-of-the-rest contest thereafter.

Pierre Gasly battled to eighth with a strong drive aided by a long first stint and a gutsy outside pass on Kevin Magnussen after a safety car restart.

Hulkenberg recovered to ninth ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi, who led briefly as Alfa Romeo committed him to a long first stint but dropped right back at one stage after being hit by Daniel Ricciardo.

So congratulations to Sebastian Vettel with this Singapore Grand Prix victory. This result was the perfect response to the media following questions about his errors and lack of confidence. Been a whole year since Vettel last won a race. Kudos to Ferrari in winning three Grands Prix in a row.

Singapore Grand Prix, race results:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:58:33.667
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +2.641s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda +3.821s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +4.608s
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +6.119s
6 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda +11.663s
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault +14.769s
8 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda +15.547s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +16.718s
10 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +17.855s
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari +35.436s
12 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault +35.974s
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes +36.419s
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +37.660s
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda +38.178s
16 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes +47.024s
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari +1:26.522s
– Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari DNF
– Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes DNF
– George Russell Williams-Mercedes DNF

7 thoughts to “Vettel victorious at the Singapore Grand Prix”

  1. Singapore Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Sebastian Vettel has been on a rotten run, his last Grand Prix victory coming 392 days ago in Belgium. But the stars aligned under the lights of Singapore’s Marina Bay with the Ferrari driver taking advantage of a fortuitous strategy call to beat team mate and pole-sitter Charles Leclerc…

    Vettel looked out of contention in third in the early stages as Leclerc led Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and managed the pace at the head of the field, as all of the frontunners looked after their tyres to enable them to make a one-stop strategy work.

    But with Nico Hulkenberg entering their pit window, courtesy of an early pit stop for a puncture after contact with Carlos Sainz, Ferrari opted to box Vettel first to protect him, as he was the most vulnerable. It worked, with the German rejoining just ahead of the Renault.

    But such was his pace on the fresh hard tyres, he undercut Leclerc, who pitted the next lap, rejoining behind his team mate, much to the Monegasque’s fury. Leclerc 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 position.

    With the aid of three Safety Cars, called for crashes for George Russell and Kimi Raikkonen, and for a DNF for Sergio Perez, Vettel was able to manage his tyres to cross the line to win his fifth Singapore Grand Prix – the first time he has won five times at any venue. Leclerc came home 2.6s back, with Max Verstappen completing the podium for Red Bull, after he benefitted from an early pit stop to undercut Hamilton, forcing the championship leader into fourth.

    The other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was fifth, having been told to back off the pace to allow Hamilton to pit and rejoin ahead, with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon sixth and Lando Norris seventh in the 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 the top 10.

    But the day belonged to Ferrari, who scored their first one-two of the season – and the first one-two ever in Singapore – with a heavily upgraded car on a circuit where no one expected them to have the pace to contend for victory. Could this be the confidence boost Vettel needs to become a regular winner again?

    Leclerc made the perfect getaway from pole position, the Ferrari comfortably heading Hamilton through the opening sequence of corners, with Vettel slotting into third.

    Further back Hulkenberg stuck his Renault up the inside of Sainz at Turn 5 and the duo made contact, triggering punctures for both. Elsewhere, George Russell broke his front wing in contact with Daniel Ricciardo, forcing the Williams driver into the pits at the end of the opening tour.

    Hulkenberg’s speed on the hard tyres in clear air was impressive, highlighting the benefit of fresh rubber versus the aging softs that the top 10 started on. Nonetheless, the top six continued to manage the pace at the front, trying to stretch the first stint as deep as possible so they could bolt on the hard and run until the end.

    Then Vettel got a call at the penultimate corner to pit at the end of lap 19, with Verstappen – who had been complaining about the tyres – following him in. They rejoined either side of Hulkenberg, with Leclerc pitting from the lead the following lap.

    The power of the undercut was clear to see, when Vettel swept past Leclerc as he exited the pits to take the lead. Mercedes opted not to react with Hamilton, perhaps deciding to chance waiting for a Safety Car. When one didn’t appear he pitted seven laps later and rejoined fourth, behind Verstappen.

    That handed Giovinazzi the Grand Prix lead, with Alfa Romeo leading a race for the first time since the Belgian GP in 1983, with Pierre Gasly second. Meanwhile, Vettel was giving himself a chance to win the race as he efficiently cut through the traffic, including a very aggressive pass on Gasly to take second, before easing by Giovinazzi to take the lead.

    The Singapore Grand Prix has always featured at least one Safety Car – and this edition followed suit when it was called into action following a collision between George Russell and Romain Grosjean, culminating in Russell retiring in what is Williams’ first DNF of the season.

    Ferrari told both drivers not to take any risks at the re-start, despite Leclerc asking for everything as he wanted to pursue a victory he felt he deserved. The race was neutralised again four laps later, as Racing Point asked Sergio Perez to stop his car out on track.

    Then following the resumption, Daniil Kvyat tried an opportunistic move at Turn 1 on Kimi Raikkonen. They made contact, with the Toro Rosso breaking the Alfa Romeo’s front-left suspension, forcing a third Safety Car.

    The race resumed, with 10 laps to go – with Vettel making the most of the neutralisations, to help manage his tyres, to cross the line to take a much needed victory. It was Ferrari’s third win in a row, the first time they have achieved that feat since 2008.

    Verstappen, who asked for more power in the closing stages but was denied, completed the podium, as Mercedes failed to reach the rostrum for only the second time this year with Hamilton fourth and Bottas fifth.

    Albon’s sixth place finish means he has finished in the top six in all three of his Red Bull starts, while Norris finished in the top seven for only the third time this year. Gasly’s eighth was his best finish since returning to Toro Rosso.

    Hulkenberg’s recovery earned him a couple of points while Giovinazzi, who is fighting to retain his seat at Alfa Romeo, scored for the second consecutive race.

    Kevin Magnussen looked set to score points, but dropped through the field like a stone at the final Safety Car restart on his worn tyres. He pitted for fresh rubber and set the fastest lap of the race, but as he was outside the top 10, he became the first driver to do so but not qualify for the bonus point this season.

  2. Charles Leclerc was left feeling frustrated by “not fair” Ferrari strategy in Singapore which cost him race victory. has the full story.

    Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc told his team that he felt his defeat to Sebastian Vettel in the Singapore Grand Prix was “unfair”, after an undercut allowed his teammate to triumph.

    Leclerc led the opening phase of the Marina Bay race, as he slowed the field up in a bid to keep his tyres alive for as long as possible.

    Ferrari elected to pit Vettel first and the early stop on fresh tyres handed the German enough of a pace advantage over one lap to jump Leclerc with the undercut.

    Speaking over the team radio during the first safety car phase, Leclerc made it clear that he was not happy with what happened – as he was urged to concentrate on the race.

    “My head is down and it will be down until the race [is done] – I just want to let you know my feelings,” said Leclerc.

    “To be completely honest with you, I don’t understand the undercut – but we will discuss after the race.”

    Later on, during the second safety car phase, Leclerc responded to a message from the team telling him to look after his power unit, and in effect call off the fight.

    Responding, he said: “Yep. I won’t do anything stupid. It is not my goal. I want us to finish 1-2. I just don’t think it is fair. But I won’t do anything stupid.”

    After the race Leclerc reiterated that he would speak to the team later on, and explained that while the situation was hard to take, he was at least happy Ferrari got a 1-2.

    “Obviously it is always difficult to lose a win like that, but in the end it is 1-2 for the team so I am happy for that,” he said. “It is first 1-2 of the season, and all the guys deserve it. We arrived here hoping for a podium and we come back with a 1-2 so I am happy.

    “I am disappointed on my side as anyone will be. Sometimes it goes that way, but I will come back stronger.”

    Race winner Vettel said the strategy call had been made by the team, as he got a very late warning to come in for fresh tyres.

    “I think just the corner before, turn 21, so the last turn before the pit entry, I received the call,” he said. “I don’t know if someone pitted for me [to trigger it], but it worked today so I am happy.”

  3. George Russell admitted it a “shame” that his clash with Romain Grosjean didn’t ruin his race. has the details.

    Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell says it’s a “shame” his Singapore Grand Prix collision with Romain Grosjean ended only his race and not Grosjean’s as well.

    The crash happened when Grosjean had tried to hang his Haas VF-19 round the outside of Russell exiting Turn 8 in a lap 35 battle for 17th place.

    His right-front tyre made contact with the left rear of Russell and the Briton’s Williams was speared into the wall, Russell retiring on the spot and telling his team “I shouldn’t be surprised” in the immediate aftermath.

    Grosjean went on to finish the grand prix in 11th, and had a post-race conversation with Russell, who was frustrated by the Haas driver refusing to accept the blame.

    “He said I left him no room and that he was in the wall before he hit me. And I just said, well, that’s absolutely not the case, because I had the last hour to be able to watch the video,” Russell said.

    “It’s a shame that it just ruined my race and not his too. So that’s probably why he doesn’t feel like he was in the wrong. At the end of the day, if the exact same incident were to happen again, there is nothing I would do different.”

    Explaining why he felt Grosjean was to blame, Russell said: “Romain had his right to lunge it down the inside at the apex of the corner, we were side by side, but I had the inside momentum and come mid-exit phase I was well ahead, half a car’s length to three quarters of it ahead of him.

    “And by that point, the guy on the inside has got the right to take the racing line, and it’s the guy-on-the-outside’s job to concede the corner.

    “And I don’t really know what he was trying to do, because even if he committed a bit more he still wouldn’t have been able to overtake.”

    The stewards are still investigating the collision, and both drivers have been summoned for a post-race hearing.

    Speaking to the media, Grosjean made it clear he was yet to see footage, but offered his view of the collision.

    “We were side by side and then George went on throttle early and I was on the left so I didn’t have much room to go more to the left, obviously there’s a wall there,” he said.

    “I just need to see footage. What I think is that he had a moment mid-corner with his rear and touched my front, and then sent him the other way around.

    “It’s bloody difficult to overtake in that circuit and when you know there’s a car on entry phase next to you, you know it’s going to do the corner on the outside, so I’ve had the occasion with a few other guys and it’s gone okay.

    “I need to see the footage, obviously George is not super happy, but I don’t think I had much more room to go any more on the left.”

  4. Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat commented that Kimi Raikkonen “suicided himself” with first-corner move. has the news story.

    Daniil Kvyat holds Kimi Raikkonen entirely responsible for the collision that ended the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 driver’s Singapore Grand Prix.

    Kvyat was trying to pass Raikkonen for 12th place into the first corner with 12 laps to go when they made contact.

    While Toro Rosso driver Kvyat was able to continue and finish 15th, Raikkonen was out on the spot with broken front suspension.

    “I was surprised because I made a move, I made it clear,” said Kvyat. “He moved under braking, a thing we discuss a lot, and he was the one against it, actually. I’m surprised he did it.

    “If you defend then you defend. If you leave the door open, leave the door open. He just… suicided himself. He tried to kill me as well.”

    Kvyat also speculated that Raikkonen was “trying to cover his teammate”.

    Raikkonen had let the other Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi – which had fresher tyres – past shortly beforehand.

    Kvyat admitted it had been a messy race overall, as he fell back with high tyre wear early on, struggled with condensation on his mirrors and then picked up car damage in his clash with Raikkonen.

    “I didn’t understand the problems in the first stint, but my tyres went away quicker than others. I don’t know why,” Kvyat added.

    “The second stint actually was the opposite, they lasted very well. And I was on the gearbox of others, and then we pitted for options.

    “I had a chance to score points, but messy restarts a bit from my side, a bit partially because I couldn’t see much in my mirrors, which was an obstacle to seeing anything behind you, and yeah, then in the incident with Kimi I damaged the car, so it was a difficult afternoon.”

    Race direction said the incident would be investigated after the race and both drivers were summoned.

  5. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz believes that Nico Hulkenberg regrets the duo’s first-lap incident at the Singapore Grand Prix, which forced both he and the Renault Formula 1 driver to pit.

    Sainz and Hulkenberg maintained their starting positions of seventh and eighth after the opening corners, with the former attacking Red Bull’s Alex Albon for sixth.

    Attempting to find a way around the outside of Albon at Turn 5, Sainz was instead collected by Hulkenberg, who had taken the inside line.

    The incident left Sainz with a puncture and significant floor damage, while Hulkenberg also had to pit at the end of the first lap for new tyres.

    Although Hulkenberg rescued a ninth place, while Sainz recovered to 12th having been a lap down, the Spaniard suggested that Hulkenberg will rue the incident and that more points were on offer for both drivers.

    “I was thinking about overtaking Albon,” explained Sainz, “and so Nico was not really on my radar.

    “I really got a good start, Albon defended on the inside and I went around the outside, and then I wanted to close the door, which meant I had to brake and maybe Nico saw it as an opportunity.

    “[It was an] opportunistic, ambitious move, which honestly after the race he came to me and said he’s sorry about it! It’s a shame because it could have been P7 and P8 for us today and maybe he’s regretting it now.”

    Reflecting on the incident, Hulkenberg explained that he tried to take evasive action on the inside of the kerb at Turn 5, but was unable to avoid contact.

    “I was attacking him, but there was sort of moving left-right, and he was on the left preparing the exit of five, and I went on the inside. I was well alongside him, but then I saw that he just turned in quite aggressively and wasn’t going to leave space, so I tried to back out of it.

    “I went on the inside kerb, everything, couldn’t avoid the wheel-to-wheel contact anymore, I picked up a puncture and he also had some damage.”

    Sainz added that the contact denied him of an “easy” seventh-place finish, which was eventually claimed by McLaren teammate Lando Norris, who benefitted from the first-lap incident between the two.

    “Honestly, with the pace we’ve had this weekend, and the pace I even had with the damaged car, today was an easy P7.

    “It was so easy today to grab it, and that is disappointing because of that incident we didn’t even fight for it.

    “Nico is a great driver, a great guy and I’m not going to take it out on him but we both know we both had an easy P7 and P8 in our hands after being there in the first three corners.”


  6. Antonio Giovinazzi has been penalised for crane incident and yet keeps his point position. has the news story.

    Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi has been penalised by the Formula 1 stewards for driving too close to a crane during the Singapore Grand Prix, but keeps his 10th place.

    Though a 10-second penalty was added to his race time, Giovinazzi had finished 17.6s clear of 11th-placed Romain Grosjean.

    The incident occurred when a recovery crane was on track at the exit of Turn 8 to retrieve George Russell’s Williams, which had ended up in the wall following a tangle with Grosjean.

    A stewards’ statement said: “The race director had instructed all cars to stay to the right at the incident at Turn 8, because of the crane and marshals working the crash at that location. There was a double waved yellow before the incident.

    “While the stewards accepted the explanation of the driver that he felt he was going sufficiently slowly, and while he was driving to his SC delta time, he did however end up driving closer to the crane and marshals than was felt safe by either the marshals on location or the race director. The stewards concur.

    “The driver had been told of the location of the incident and to stay right, but may not have considered that the crane was moving.

    “The stewards consider this to be a potentially seriously dangerous situation and a risk to the marshals.”

    Giovinazzi’s long first-stint strategy meant he managed to lead the race for four laps before giving way to Ferrari’s eventual victor Sebastian Vettel.

    He then lost ground in a clash with Daniel Ricciardo before making his pitstop and falling to 15th, with his fresh tyres then allowing him to charge back to 10th.

    “I think we extended the run on mediums [in the first stint] too long and lost a lot of pace in the end,” said Giovinazzi.

    “Then I had a small touch with Daniel and I broke my front left suspension a little bit so after that it was a difficult race but I think in the end we achieved the best result we could.

    “P7 was for sure the main target, being in front of [Lando] Norris. Now we need to look into what we could do better and improve for the next race.”

    In addition to the Giovinazzi offence, the stewards also looked into the Russell/Grosjean collision and a later crash between Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat that ended the Alfa Romeo’s race.

    They ruled that both tangles were racing incidents for which no sanctions were required.

  7. After beating to victory at Marina Bay by rival Ferrari, the Mercedes team were left feeling annoyed it got the Singapore Grand Prix “so wrong”. has the full details.

    The Mercedes Formula 1 tean feels “annoyance” after it got the Singapore Grand prix weekend “so wrong”, according to team boss Toto Wolff.

    Mercedes was viewed as the favourite at the downforce-reliant street circuit, but could only finish fourth and fifth with the two cars, missing out on a podium only for the second time this season.

    This was despite points leader Lewis Hamilton starting on the front row and running second initially, the Briton ultimately losing out by making his sole pitstop several laps after his rivals.

    Speaking afterwards, Wolff admitted the outcome of the weekend was “disappointing”, and felt the team “didn’t optimise what we could’ve optimised”.

    “I can tell you that we’re all angry and we just had a little get-together with the engineers and the drivers and there’s a general feeling of ‘we got it wrong, we got it so wrong this weekend’,” Wolff said.

    “I think the mood that we all feel, and we all felt coming together, is just annoyance, that we just lost too many opportunities. There is nobody in the team that hasn’t got that feeling.”

    While Wolff felt the most damage to Mercedes’ aspirations had been done in qualifying, as “that is what is most decisive in Singapore”, he also acknowledged that the team had underestimated the undercut when it left Hamilton out for a longer first stint.

    “We missed the opportunity of the undercut that maybe even surprised Ferrari, how powerful it was,” Wolff explained.

    “And from then on it was about protecting the position against Max or going for the win, which was maybe probably a small percentage – but we took the risk of sacrificing third, with the support of Valtteri obviously in that situation.

    “It was a bit of a gamble, and you could see that probably Ferrari had a different end [to the race] in the mind as well.

    “Would we have pitted him [Hamilton] earlier? No. At that stage we lost P1 and P2, it was about protecting P3 against Max, we felt that the tyre had more, it was our only chance to overcut and there was this big gaggle around Lance [Stroll] and [Antonio] Giovinazzi, and the Ferraris were catching up quickly, so we would’ve hoped that it would’ve stopped the Ferrari train.

    “But as a matter of fact then Lewis’ times dropped bellow the Giovinazzi times, out of nowhere, and this is when it was game over for us.”

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