It’s the first win of the seaosn for four-time F1 Champion and Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel who topped his team mate Charles LeClerc at the 61-lap Marina Bay Street Circuit, on Sunday. The conditions proved that the mean streets in downtown Singapore were well suited for the Ferraris. It was Ferrari’s 84th 1-2 finish in F1. The Red Bull of Max Verstappen came in in third to demote the Mercedes cars to fourth and fifth, where Lewis Hamilton finished ahead of his team mate.
At race start, LeClerc led Hamilton and Vettel under the night lights of the magnificent Marina Bay street circuit. Vettel pushed to try to get past Hamilton on the opening lap, but didn’t succeed.
After the race leaders and the rest of the field settled, the lead Ferrari maintained the lead. In the first stop, Ferrari called Vettel in for a stop first as he was pursued by a hot Verstappen, who ran fourth at the time, Ferraris were on a one-stopper. LeClerc pitted on lap 20, a lap later than his team mate. He retook the track in second behind Vettel.
The other contenders took their pitstop strategies in stride. It was until lap 35 that there’s some drama on track with the safety car called out when George Russell and Romain Grosjean collided. By then, Vettel led the race quite comfortably, almost 5 seconds ahead of LeClerc. The usual suspects were all there, it was Vettel, LeClerc, Verstappen, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
After the middle part of the race, there were two more safety car periods. The final safety car period basically sealed the deal for the Ferraris as they were able to maintain the one-two and reduce tyre wear until the chequered flag. The order would finish in such: Vettel from LeClerc, Verstappen, Hamilton and Bottas.
Behind Bottas came the second Red Bull of Alexander Albon who led home McLaren’s Lando Norris, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.
So it would be Vettel’s day as he got to the top step of the podium after an absence of over a year, dating back to Belgium 2018. It was his fifth win in Singapore, which is a record for any driver at the Marina Bay track. His 14th win with Ferrari also puts him third in the list of all-time Ferrari winners between Michael Schumacher on 72 and Niki Lauda on 15. It was his 53rd career win and Ferrari’s 238th.
A jubilant Vettel remarked, “It was about time! I never stopped believing in myself and today, with the great help of the team here and in Maranello, we got the result we should always be aiming for. I was playing a waiting game until I got the call on the radio to pit for new tyres. I had not expected to stay out so long but the decision was key, because I was able to rejoin with a clear track ahead of me and I could run at my own pace making up ground on all the others, to the extent that I was in the lead by almost five seconds at the time the Safety Car came out. From then on, the race was continually interrupted, with a further two restarts, but I still managed to maintain concentration and avoid making any mistakes.”
The next round, the 16th of the season, is next weekend in Russia, at the Sochi Autodrom.
2019 Singapore Grand Prix results
1 5 Sebastian Vettel 1:58:33.667
2 16 Charles Leclerc +2.641s
3 33 Max Verstappen +3.821s
4 44 Lewis Hamilton +4.608s
5 77 Valtteri Bottas +6.119s
6 23 Alexander Albon +11.663s
7 4 Lando Norris +14.769s
8 10 Pierre Gasly +15.547s
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg +16.718s
10 99 Antonio Giovinazzi +27.855s
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR MERCEDES 296
2 Valtteri Bottas FIN MERCEDES 231
3 Charles Leclerc MON FERRARI 200
4 Max Verstappen NED RED BULL RACING 200
5 Sebastian Vettel GER FERRARI 194
6 Pierre Gasly FRA TORO ROSSO 69
7 Carlos Sainz ESP MCLAREN 58
8 Alexander Albon THA RED BULL RACING 42
9 Daniel Ricciardo AUS RENAULT 34
10 Daniil Kvyat RUS TORO ROSSO 33
1 MERCEDES 527
2 FERRARI 394
3 RED BULL RACING 289
4 MCLAREN 89
5 RENAULT 67
6 TORO ROSSO 55
7 RACING POINT BWT 46
8 ALFA ROMEO RACING 35
9 HAAS 26
10 WILLIAMS 1