Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel won the F1 stage for the first time in 2019, finishing first on the Marina Bay race on the evening of September 22.
Vettel achieved an hour 58 minutes 33.666 seconds, faster than runner-up – teammate Charles Leclerc – 2,641 seconds. It has been 392 days since the last time Vettel took to the top of the podium – at the Belgian race 2018. Third place in the Singapore GP belongs to Max Verstappen with 3,821 seconds behind Vettel. Mercedes drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas – ranked fourth and fifth respectively.
For the first time in Singapore GP history, two riders of a team share the first two positions. On the eve of Southeast Asia race, few people thought that Ferrari could compete with Mercedes or Red Bull. Even after the first test day on September 20, Ferrari was inferior to the two rivals. But, the Italian team has changed from the qualifying round.
Vettel tried to beat Hamilton after starting. At one point, the two cars were on equal footing, but Hamilton had the advantage of being in the inside lane, turning faster. If the first six positions are unchanged after starting, the following positions are unexpected. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) collides with Nico Hulkenberg (Renault). Both had to enter the pit immediately, in which Sainz’s rear tire was badly damaged. The Spanish rider takes up to 70 seconds in the pit.
The mutation originated when Vettel and Verstappen first entered the pit in the 20th round. Leclerc also entered the pit one round later but after leaving the pit, he was behind his teammate.
Mercedes suggested Hamilton do not need to immediately pit, just in case a safe car appears to help British drivers change tires without fear of being left by rivals. But, Hamilton’s soft tires reached the limit that the safety car had yet to appear, leaving him in the pit in round 26.