The Winners and Losers of the Singapore Grand Prix
Mercedes and Red Bull arrived in Singapore hopeful of fighting for the spoils, but it was the Prancing Horse that bolted clear of the field to clinch a shock victory. We pick out the winners and losers of the Singapore Grand Prix…
Winner: Sebastian Vettel
Three hundred and ninety two days is quite an extraordinary gap between wins for a four-time world champion, but that barren run is finally over for Sebastian Vettel after he rode his good fortune to grasp victory at Marina Bay.
Pitting first, as the team tried to protect his third place from attack, proved to be the best strategy of them all as the undercut was so powerful, it moved him into a net lead. As he did so often at Red Bull, once in the lead, he never looked back.
It was his 53rd career victory and first since last summer’s Belgian Grand Prix. It was also his 52nd podium for Ferrari, which ties him with Kimi Raikkonen’s career total, and he now trails only Rubens Barrichello (55) and Michael Schumacher (116).
A fifth win in Singapore is the first time he’s ever won at a single venue five times in his career. And what a time to do it. Chapeau.
Loser: Charles Leclerc
It’s not often a driver who has finished second ends up in the losers section of this feature, but it’s a compliment of sorts for Charles Leclerc as it marks how far he’s come.
The Monegasque was brilliant in qualifying, catching an unruly car at least three times during a dramatic lap to take pole. He then didn’t put a foot wrong in the race, but lost the win thanks to a strategy call which simply didn’t go his way.
Understandably he was furious during the race and was vocal on team radio, but he had calmed down by the time he spoke publicly after the race. It was not the result he wanted, but the way he reacted, both in the race and after, shows how drive and maturity – two factors that set him up nicely for the future.
Second-place also moved him onto 200 points, level with Max Verstappen at third in the drivers’ standings while his time at the front during the opening stint meant he led Ferrari’s 15,000th lap in Formula 1 history. You'd expect him to hit a few more milestones in the not too distant future…
Winners: Ferrari fans
This has been a tough year to be a Ferrari fan, the Scuderia failing to live up to their pre-season favourites tag in the opening half of the campaign.
But their red-bedecked fans never turned on their beloved and they were rewarded first with a first victory of the year at Spa and then in their own backyard at Monza. Few will have expected a third in Singapore – but they’ll take it.
It was Ferrari’s first one-two of the season, and the first time a constructor has achieved that feat in the history of the Singapore Grand Prix. It was also the first time Ferrari have won three straight races since 2008.
Mercedes were surprised by the pace Ferrari showed in Singapore and certainly didn’t expect Ferrari to not only clinch a one-two but for either of their own Silver Arrows to fail to make the podium for only the second time this season.
They were outwitted in the strategy stakes on Sunday afternoon and paid a heavy price, with Lewis Hamilton fourth and Valtteri Bottas fifth. The five-time world champions still lead the constructors’ championship, but their lead has been slashed to 133 with 258 still on the table.
Winner: Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen had a stunning start to the year, with the Red Bull driver finishing every race before the summer break inside the top five. But Spa and Monza weren’t so kind to him, with a first lap retirement followed by eighth from the back.
Normal service was resumed at Singapore, with a third-place, his first podium since he finished second in Hungary and his sixth of the season. He will have hoped to have competed for top honours instead, but a decent points haul at least keeps him in the hunt for third in the drivers’ standings with six races to go.
Loser: Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz was on the cusp of snatching a sensational sixth in the drivers’ standings before the summer break, but two retirements, followed by contact on lap one in Singapore has left him pointless since the resumption.
The Spaniard showed impressive pace despite the damage and almost rescued a point, having been seventh when Nico Hulkenberg collided with him, but ultimately ran out of time. He is now just 14 ahead of Alexander Albon, who is scoring remarkably consistently, if not spectacularly, having joined Red Bull in Belgium.
Winner: Lando Norris
While one McLaren suffered frustration, the other was rewarded for a mature drive that secured what team boss Andreas Seidl described as the “best possible result”.
It was his third top-seven finish of the season and moves him level on points with Kimi Raikkonen in 12th in the drivers’ standings.
Those points also helped McLaren edge further ahead of Renault in their battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship.
Loser: Kevin Magnussen
A plastic bag added insult to injury for Kevin Magnussen in what could have potentially delivered Haas their first points since Germany.
The Dane ran inside the top 10 for large parts of the race – and that was on merit rather than good fortune – but the Safety Cars didn’t fall well for him and he was then forced into an additional pit stop to remove a plastic bag that got stuck in his front wing.
From there, he couldn’t recover and – with Romain Grosjean in the wars with George Russell – it meant a fourth successive race without points for Haas.
Constructors' standings after Singapore
|8 Alfa Romeo Racing
|9 Haas F1 Team
Winner: Antonio Giovinazzi
If the Safety Car had been called into action a few laps earlier, there’s a good chance Antonio Giovinazzi would have left Singapore with a far bigger haul of points. The Italian ran very deep into the race, meaning he briefly led the Grand Prix, the first time Alfa Romeo led since the 1983 Belgian Grand Prix.
His team opted to leave him out in the hope a Safety Car would come, but ultimately he ran out of tyres and dropped quickly down the field. But he refused to let this get him down and he battled back to secure a points-finish for the second successive race. Timely, as he seeks to secure his seat at the team for another year.
Challenging is an understatement when you consider Williams’ 2019 campaign, but they had at least demonstrated remarkable consistency up until the end of the Italian Grand Prix, with a 100% record of getting their cars to the line.
Admittedly, they have been helped by the fact most of the year has been spent in an intra-team battle between George Russell and Robert Kubica, but it’s nonetheless a positive to take.
Unfortunately, the run came to a stuttering end in Singapore as George Russell ended up in the wall, after contact, for his and the team’s first DNF of the year.