HE CAN STILL DO IT AFTER ALL!
Sebastian Vettel (32) wins the Singapore Grand Prix with a flawless and sure performance. The four-time champion thus celebrates his first Formula 1 triumph in 392 days (Spa 2018). It is the liberation blow in a year so far so messed up.
Team mate Charles Leclerc (21) finishes second and already makes a big stink on the radio against this constellation during the race. The Monegasse had started from pole, but had lost its lead to Vettel at the first pit stop.
Third is Max Verstappen (21) in Red Bull. Mercedes only takes places four (Hamilton) and five (Bottas).
Everything quiet at the start, Vettel attacks Hamilton hard, but the champ maintains his second position. Leclerc, however, pulls away from the front with a commanding lead.
But already in the second lap the top cars in the front switch to the tyre-saving mode and sometimes drive 13 seconds (!) slower than in the qualification.
On lap 19 Verstappen and Vettel are the first of the top drivers to come into the pits. Changing from soft to hard tyres. Leader Leclerc follows in lap 20 (soft on hard), Hamilton stays outside. Because Vettel loses less time at his stop, he is suddenly ahead of his team rival.
Leclerc is pissed at his pit: “What the hell?”
Bottas stops on lap 22, only Hamilton stays outside. It’s not until lap 26 that the World Champion arrives, after team-mate Bottas has been called on to a slower lap by radio in order to give his boss pilot a better time window to change the rubbers. The Finn reacts indignantly, but follows the instructions.
In lap 31 Vettel takes the lead after the leading group has worked its way back through the midfield (Stroll, Ricciardo, Gasly, Giovinazzi).
After a crash by Grosjean and Russell on lap 35 the safety car has to move out. Vettel’s advantage of over five seconds over his team-mate breaks away.
Restart on lap 40. Vettel defends the lead. Then Perez rolls out and stands on the track. Lap 44, Safety Car again!
Leclerc uses this for renewed complaints on the radio: “I want everything (in performance, the editor). I won’t do anything stupid, but it’s unfair.”
But Vettel keeps his nerve and defends himself at the restart. But in the back of the peloton it goes to the point: Kwjat crashes into Räikkönen in corner one and again the safety car is pulled out. Lap 52 continues – again with Vettel very cleverly in the lead.
In the last ten laps Vettel drives the thing home.