Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended his year-long drought without a win at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday (Sep 22), mastering a hazy circuit to claim a record fifth triumph in the city.
The German’s victory was also his third in a row this season for Ferrari.
The four-time world champion, whose last victory was in Belgium in August 2018, took the chequered flag 2.641 seconds ahead of Monegasque team mate Charles Leclerc, who had started on pole position for the third race in a row.
“It was a very late call on the pit stop and I just gave it everything on the out lap. I was surprised to come out ahead and it was difficult to manage the tyres but we controlled it to the end,” Vettel told reporters.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished fourth but extended his advantage over fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas to 65 points, with six races remaining, after the Finn finished in fifth.
The race got off to a clean start with the top six retaining their grid positions despite Vettel putting immense pressure on second-placed Hamilton in the opening lap.
While a few drivers were shifting position further down the field, the frontrunners were maintaining a one-second gap between each other as Leclerc set a slow pace to make his soft tyres last as long as possible.
Ferrari and Red Bull were the first of the big teams to bring their cars in for pit stops as Vettel and Verstappen were fitted with the more durable hard tyres on lap 20, with Leclerc following suit on the next lap.
Leclerc, however, was dismayed to leave the pits behind Vettel.
Ferrari will be delighted to have recorded a one-two finish at a circuit they were not expected to muster a podium finish.
But Leclerc was unhappy with the pit strategy that dashed his hopes of a hat-trick after wins in Belgium and Italy.