Vettel proves his mantle with F1 Singapore Grand Prix win

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

Drivers standings

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

Constructors rankings

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