In the stunning night-time setting of the Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore, we saw a qualifying disqualification, three Safety Cars, a Silver Arrow-less podium and the end of a barren run.
We take a look at who got to enjoy some well-earned Singapore Slings and who went home in a slump. Here are our winners and losers of the Singapore Grand Prix…
Three hundred and ninety-two days between wins is a gap that no athlete wants for a statistic – especially a four-time World Champion – but the drought is finally over for Sebastian Vettel who rode his Prancing Horse to triumph at Marina Bay.
Scuderia Ferrari’s pit lane tactics were the cornerstone of the winning strategy for the German driver, who pitted first to protect his third place from attack resulting in a powerful undercut of his teammate Charles Leclerc and Mercedes Lewis Hamilton netting him P1. As he has done throughout his career, once in the lead, Vettel didn’t look back.
This marks Vettel’s 53rd career win – his first since the 2018 Belgium Grand Prix – and his 52nd podium for Ferrari tying him with Kimi Räikkönen’s career total.
An emotional Vettel took to the podium and dedicated the win to his fans and thanked Ferrari’s engineers, whose floor and front wing upgrade for Singapore has appeared to have transformed the SF90 into the car to beat, allowing Ferrari to take their third win in a row.
This has been a testing season for the Scuderia Ferrari team with them failing to live up to their pre-season favourites label for the opening half of their 2019 campaign.
For the first time this season, Ferrari took home a one-two finish, the first time a constructor has achieved that result in the history of the Singapore Grand Prix. To add to the series of firsts, Ferrari have now claimed three straight wins in a row for the first time since 2008.
It’s nice to see Max Verstappen back up in the winner’s circle again after his stunning start to the year was slightly derailed by a retirement in Spa and an eighth from the back result in Monza.
The Red Bull Racing driver regained the momentum that saw him finishing every race before the summer break inside the top-five, securing third place at Singapore, his first podium since he finished second in Hungary and his sixth of his 2019 campaign.
Undoubtedly the 21-year-old would have liked to claim top honours, but the points haul keeps him in the mix for third in the Drivers’ Championship standings with six races left in the season.
After being disqualified from qualifying for a technical infringement that would have seen him line up in P8, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo started from the back of the grid at Singapore, a circuit where track position is crucial.
After the Australian driver labelled the penalty excessive and that he was ‘wasting his time’ in Singapore, Ricciardo reached as high as P3 when the frontrunners pitted on Sunday, but later picked up a puncture to his rear right tyre and settled for a fourteenth-place finish.
Renault’s Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul stamped Ricciardo’s comeback as ‘remarkable’ on the notoriously difficult Marina Bay Circuit. It just begs the question of what would have been if he started inside the top ten.
It’s safe to say that Mercedes had a one-two surprise in Singapore, firstly with pace shown by Ferrari and secondly both the Silver Arrows failing to make the podium for only the second time this season.
Scuderia Ferrari’s pit strategy outmaneuvered Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton fourth and Valtteri Bottas fifth on Sunday afternoon. The hunt for the Constructors’ Championship is still in their hands but their lead has shrunk to 133 points with six races left in the season.
Charles Leclerc displayed his growing confidence in Singapore, taming his unruly car in qualifying to take pole and delivering a faultless race performance were omens for a third successive victory for Leclerc.
But it was not meant to be for the Monegasque driver as he lost the win thanks to a pit lane strategy call that was not in his favour.
The 21-year-old was understandably furious over the team radio but had calmed down by the end of the race when he faced the press, a trait that will serve him well in the future.
The second-place result moved him level with Max Verstappen on 200 points and third in the Drivers’ Championship standings, and his time leading the race for the opening stint in Singapore meant he led Ferraris 15,000th lap in Formula 1 history. That’s a silver lining, I guess.
Formula 1 now heads to Russia for this weekend’s penultimate back-to-back races of the season. With all eyes on Ferrari, will they make it four from four in Sochi?
Images via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari
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