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Vettel wins for Ferrari in Singapore

Vettel celebrates his victory at the Singapore GP race. Photo courtesy of Reddit.

David Milam
Staff Writer

Sebastian Vettel takes home a needed victory from the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday. This victory marks his first win since the Belgian Grand Prix in 2018, 392 days ago. The race also marked Ferrari’s first 1-2 finish of the season and the first 1-2 finish of any constructor in Singapore. 

This victory came as a surprise to many as Ferrari has not performed well this season on high downforce tracks such as Singapore, but coming out of the summer break, Ferrari seems to have made significant upgrades which have improved their performance and granted them a three race win streak to start the second half of the season.

This win was the product of great strategic decisions by Ferrari. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who qualified in pole position, led the first 21 laps of the race but was under constant pressure by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. 

Ferrari couldn’t risk pitting Leclerc early and having Hamilton take the lead forcing Ferrari to perform a risky undercut by having Vettel pit first at lap 20 and then have Leclerc pit second at lap 21. Red Bull quickly followed suit, having Max Verstappen pit alongside Leclerc.

The risky move paid off as the two Ferraris took the lead of the race and Verstappen was close behind in third. Mercedes attempted to keep their drivers out longer but were forced to pit as the heat in Singapore wore out their tires quicker than they had hoped, putting their driver’s in 4th and 5th behind the leaders.

In the midfield battle, McLaren driver Carlos Sainz who qualified 7th and was leading the midfield at the start had bad luck for the third race in a row as he was hit by Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg during lap 1, causing a tire puncture and an early pitstop, putting him in last. 

Sainz’s teammate Lando Norris had a great start, moving up from 9th into 7th and holding onto the position for the entire race. Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo started from 20th after taking a penalty in qualifying impressively made up places during the race even getting in 4th while the leaders took their pitstops, but a collision with Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi gave him a puncture and saw him ending the race in 14th place. 

Pierre Gasly continues to perform well in Toro Rosso after being demoted from Red Bull during the summer break by having a clean race and finishing in a respectable 8th place. Nico Hulkenberg continues to drive for his career after losing his seat in Renault next season finishing 9th and rounding out the winners of the midfield.

Other notable performances include Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi who led the race during the middle of the race while the leaders took their pit stops marked the first time Alfa Romeo had led a Grand Prix since the 1980’s.

Retirements from the race include Racing Point driver Sergio Perez who experienced a mechanical failure, Williams Driver George Russell who crashed after a collision with Haas driver Romaine Grossean and Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen who experienced suspension failure after collision with Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.

The end results of the race were a Ferrari 1-2 for drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen came in third, with Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas coming in 4-5 respectively with Red Bull driver Alex Albon rounding off the top 6 in 6th place. 

Ferrari has now won the last three races but is still significantly behind Mercedes in the constructors championship. Formula 1 moves on to Russia next weekend for Russian Grand Prix where Mercedes has won for the last five years. Ferrari will be eager to continue their win streak but has a difficult road ahead of them, only time will tell if their upgrades are enough to bring the championship fight to Mercedes.