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SINGAPORE GP – Sebastian Vettel takes his first win of the season after undercutting teammate Charles Leclerc

Sebastian Vettel held off teammate Charles Leclerc to take his first win of the season and his fifth win in Singapore Grand Prix. The German used a good strategy to undercut his teammate at the first safety car to gain the lead from Leclerc.

However, Ferrari managed to turn around a poor Friday around with Leclerc trying to slow the pace down while he tried to back the pack up during the closing stages. The Monacan appeared angry with the way the race planned out and was told to bring the car home.

Leclerc couldn’t convert the anger over his pace to close the gap and finished the race over two and a half seconds behind Vettel. That secured the first one-two in Singapore and the teams first since 2008. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished third after losing out to the Ferrari’s during the pit stops.

The beginning of the race was a question of which team would blink first, Vettel did with Leclerc shortly after, with the German effectively going a second and a half faster than the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. They waited for the midfield runners to stop.

Vettel said, “I’m very happy, great race. Big congratulations to the team, the start of the season was difficult for us but in the last weeks we’ve come alive.”

Verstappen added, “The whole race went well. At the beginning it was really slow and everyone was close together then I started to struggle with the tyres and we boxed and it was a good call. We undercut Lewis and from there it was about managing the tyres.”

Once they had stopped, Verstappen looked set to be the first to utilise that as he complained of fading rear tyres. At the same time, Ferrari brought in third-placed Vettel.

Hamilton ran longer into the race, but that left him behind the Ferrari’s and Verstappen, ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas. That allowed him to increase his championship lead to sixty-five points with six races to go.

Hamilton struggled so much with his pace that Mercedes even ordered Valtteri Bottas, who had already stopped from fifth place, to back off the lap before Hamilton’s pitstop. The gamble which could have changed his race never came, he re-joined fourth, after Bottas was instructed to make room for Hamilton.

He said “I knew we should undercut, I knew it this morning in the brief I said let’s just take the risk and they didn’t. We win and lose together as a team, we all take it on the chin and it’s painful for us because we easily could have won today.”

The pivotal moment in the race came just after lap thirty-six when Romain Grosjean and George Russell collided and the Williams was turned into the wall exiting Stamford. Russell retired from the race, while the Frenchman made a stop for a front wing change.

The Haas driver got caught on the outside as but left his nose in the fight as Russell moved across to take up his track position. The impact pitched the Williams into a slide, which quickly resulted in a collision with the wall.

Alex Albon was sixth, ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris. The Englishman took the lead in the midfield after a collision between his teammate Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg on the opening lap. The Renault driver dived down the inside at Turn Four, then clobbered the Spaniard, forcing him into a pit stop.

Norris then moved ahead of Hulkenberg when the German was forced into the pits at the end of the lap with damage, and serenely controlled the best-of-the-rest contest thereafter.

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly battled his way to eighth, a gutsy dive on the outside allowed him to pass Kevin Magnussen. Nico Hulkenberg was ninth ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi. The Italian was hit by Daniel Ricciardo and switched to a long stint.

That dropped Ricciardo out of the points and say him finish fourteenth ahead of his former teammate Daniil Kvyat.

The second Safety Car was caused by Sergio Perez’s Racing Point stopping on track with a mechanical issue and the third by a collision between Daniil Kvyat and Kimi Raikkonen on the run down to Sheares.

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Jack Fielding
Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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