F1: Vettel Steals Victory in Singapore Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel celebrating his fifth victory in Singapore and the Germans first win since Spa 2018. Image courtesy of Motorsport Images.

Vettel claims victory as Ferrari secure a 1-2 at Singapore Grand Prix.

Vettel Silences The Critics

Sebastian Vettel has ended his victory drought, securing Ferrari’s third consecutive win of 2019 ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc in Singapore.

Vettel: “The start of the season was difficult for us, but the last couple of weeks, we’ve really come alive.”

“I knew on our side that we just need to keep doing our job and sooner or later things will fall in to place. So obviously I’m happy that it was rather sooner than later.”

Leclerc’s Frustration

In a bid to secure the teams first 1-2 finish since Hungary 2017, a decision from Ferrari left Charles Leclerc searching for answers.

Leclerc: “Very frustrating in the car. Looking back at it I believe that if Seb undercutted me it’s mostly because the decision has been done for the good of the team.”

“I will ask for explanations, if that’s the answer I will understand it.”

Charles Leclerc congratulating Sebastian Vettel on his victory. Image sourced from @F1NightRace via Twitter

Vettel kept his third position off the start, behind Lewis Hamilton and Leclerc, who retained his lead into Turn 1.

Leclerc held up the pack during the opening laps in an attempt to limit the other cars strategic options while also saving tyres.

Subsequently the gaps throughout the field remained tight, meaning there were very few areas for teams to slot into for clean air.

It was Ferrari who pulled the trigger with Vettel, the Italian squad managing to find a gap to cover Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who was pitting behind.

Leclerc was called in on the following lap, but Vettel’s undercut proved costly as the Monegasque lost his lead.

Soon after, Leclerc expressed his frustrations with his team’s decision over the radio.

Smooth Operator

Vettel, who was now in front of his teammate, found himself behind an array of mid-field cars who were yet to make their stops.

Fortunately for Ferrari, Vettel was able to make quick work of the traffic and get himself into the lead.

It was a different story for the sister car of Leclerc, who struggled along with Verstappen to get past the traffic.

Subsequently allowing Vettel to extend his lead to over 6 seconds.

However, shortly after his hard work would be diminished due to a safety car.

George Russell’s retirement gives Williams their first DNF of the season. Image sourced from @GeorgeRussell63 via Twitter.

The first of which was deployed after Romain Grosjean collided with George Russell, with Russell being dumped in the wall as a result.

An incident which would also end Williams 100% finishing rate this season.

It was Sergio Perez’s Racing Point who brought out the second safety car.

The Mexican suffered a mechanical issue with his car, resulting in him having to stop on track due to Singapore’s limited number of escape routes.

Then Kimi Raikonnen’s Alfa Romeo was involved in a collision with Danill Kvyat’s Toro Rosso at Turn 1.

The Finn was left stranded with terminal damage to his Alfa Romeo, resulting in the final safety car.

However, none of this would phase Vettel, as he would successfully defend his lead through the 3 safety car periods.

Crossing the line to take his 53rd career victory and lead home the first ever 1-2 finish for a team at Singapore.

The German also taking his fifth victory under the flood lights of the Marina Bay Circuit.

Sebastian Vettel emerging from his Ferrari after claiming his 53rd career victory under the lights of the Marina Bay Circuit. Image courtesy of Motorsport Images.

Mercedes Strategic Error

Hamilton was unable to convert his front row start into a podium as Mercedes opted to keep him out long.

Exposing the Briton to an undercut from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel when he finally made his pit stop.

As the race come to a close, Hamilton was able to close up on Verstappen in third place.

However, the Dutchman was able to fend off Hamilton, once again finding himself on the podium for Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton had a Grand Prix to forget after a team strategy error. Image sourced from @MercedesAMGF1 via Twitter.

Hamilton: “It’s on each one of us to do a better job. I believe we’re the best team, but we’ve got to push on.”

“We’ll debrief tonight, put our heads back in the scrum, and then come back fighting at the next race.”

Hamilton’s team-mate Bottas, was poised to follow in Verstappen’s and Leclerc’s footsteps in undercutting Hamilton.

Unfortunately he could only manage fifth as the Finn was asked to back off by Mercedes to allow Hamilton to remain ahead.

“We can’t be happy with our results this weekend.”

“We will analyse and review everything diligently as there’s a lot that we can learn from qualifying and the race.”

Dream Debuts For Albon & Norris

Alexander Albon drove a well executed race, crossing the line in sixth for Red Bull in just his third outing for the team.

A performance which very much impressed team-boss Christain Horner, who praised the Thai driver for his effort during his first Singapore Grand Prix.

Lando Norris on his way to seventh place during his debut Singapore Grand Prix. Image sourced from @McLarenF1 via Twitter.

Albon’s fellow rookie, Lando Norris managed to secure best of the rest for McLaren while also making his Singapore debut.

The 19-year-old finishing in seventh place, just ahead of Pierre Gasly who came home in eighth for Toro Rosso.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg performed a stunning recovery drive to ninth, after suffering a puncture and gearbox issues earlier in the grand prix.

Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the top ten, bringing home the final point for Alfa Romeo.