Win at last for Sebastian Vettel

Updated: Sep 23, 2019, 07:58 IST | Abhishek Takle | Singapore

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel starts third, but vaults into lead during pitstops to cross line 2.6 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in Singapore

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates his Singapore Grand Prix victory at the Marina Bay Street Circuit yesterday. Pic /AFP
Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel celebrates his Singapore Grand Prix victory at the Marina Bay Street Circuit yesterday. Pic /AFP

Singapore: Sebastian Vettel benefited from an early pitstop to score his first win in over a year in yesterday's Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, ahead of a fuming Charles Leclerc who completed a one-two for the Italian team.

The German, whose last win came at the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix, had started third but vaulted into the effective lead during the pitstops to eventually cross the line 2.6 seconds ahead of Leclerc.

Hamilton extends lead

Max Verstappen finished third for Red Bull ahead of Lewis Hamilton who was fourth but still able to extend his lead to 65 points in the overall standings over fifth-placed team mate Valtteri Bottas.

Leclerc, who had started from pole after a sensational lap in qualifying, led away from second-placed Hamilton at the start.

But Vettel's earlier stop gave the German the benefit of fresh tyres and Leclerc saw the German sweeping past as he left the pits after his own visit to the pits.
"What the hell…," the Monegasque, who had his sights set on a completing a hat-trick of wins after taking victory for Ferrari in Belgium and at home in Italy, exclaimed on the radio.

"My head is down and it will be down until the race [ends]. I just want to let you know my feelings," he said again making no secret of his displeasure during one of the three safety car periods that interrupted the race.

"To be completely honest with you, I don't understand at all the undercut.

"We will discuss after the race," Leclerc, now joint third with Verstappen in the overall standings, added.

The win in Singapore was the 53rd of Vettel's career and Ferrari's first one-two since the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2017. Having gone into the weekend tied with Hamilton on four Singapore wins, he is also now the most successful driver outright in the city-state with an unprecedented five wins.

Surprising show

"I'm very happy, great race. The start of the season was difficult for us but in the last weeks we've come alive. [The decision to pit] was a very late call and it was very early, but I gave it everything in the outlap and was very surprised to come out ahead," said Vettel.

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