Singapore GP: Sebastian Vettel beats team-mate Charles Leclerc
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By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer in Singapore
Sebastian Vettel ended his 13-month win burial in the Singapore Grand Prix using a victory that was controversial.
The German benefited from unusual Ferrari strategy to leapfrog Charles Leclerc that was team-mate to the lead.
Leclerc told the team over the radio it was"unfair" and it will do little to reduce tension within the team.
Nevertheless, it turned out to be a victory for the four-time world winner who faced questions and has a difficult, error-strewn period.
The German observed Leclerc a two-time winner in his initial time at Ferrari, emerge as number one in the group, also has continued a streak of one major driving error every 3 races since June last year.
However, Leclerc made his feelings clear and was unhappy.
Ferrari's plan did fasten the first win because the Belgian Grand Prix in the end of August 2018 of Vettel and also them their since the 2017 Grand Prix.
And it pushed Lewis Hamilton, who started second behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen down to fourth, in the Mercedes.
Vettel started his victory depended on a determination by Ferrari to prevent him made to ensure he did not come out behind Nico Hulkenberg's Renault, which had stopped for fresh tyres following a first-lap incident and had been charging through the field.
Because the leaders were handling their speed to make certain they could make their one pit stop it arose.
Seeing the danger into Vettel from Hulkenberg, the team pitted him and that he rejoined in front of the Renault.
Ferrari pitted Leclerc, who'd led the race from the start from pole position, next time round but Vettel's speed benefit on his first lap out of the pits on new tyres assured he was before Leclerc after the 21-year-old emerged from the pits.
"What is hell?" Leclerc stated above the radio, probably wondering why he was not matched.
His scientist advised him:"It had been the best we could do."
Leclerc said:"I only wanted to let you understand my emotions. I really don't understand the undercut whatsoever, to be entirely honest. But now we discuss it afterwards."
The double early
halt for the Ferraris supposed both drivers had to work their way past slower cars which had not yet made a pit stop, and Vettel did so to better effect than Leclerc, building a six-second direct by the time that they had been running one-two on lap 33, just after half space.
The risk for Ferrari was the threat from Hamilton, who had postponed his pit stop to benefit at the conclusion of the race.
But Ferrari was given the laps they had to be sure it would be made by their tyres by three safety-car periods to get a series of incidents involving rear markers.
At the last one, Leclerc asked for"everything" from the car to assault Vettel, but he had been told he had to manage the motor and make the car home - code for him to maintain position behind his team-mate.
As the leaders lapped 13 seconds to make sure their tyres functioned as required, a close second behind Leclerc has been running from the first laps.
But the strategy gamble of Ferrari undid him.
When Vettel pitted, Hamilton stated to his group they need to try to"undercut" Leclerc in the exact identical manner but that chance was removed when Leclerc stopped on the very next lap.
Mercedes was given no option except to conduct Hamilton and attempt to attack on fresh tyres later from the race by that.
However, the plan also fell him Verstappen's Red Bull, and his tyre advantage - only a handful of laps - wasn't sufficient to let him attempt to pass cars on a track where a vehicle is supposed to require a 2.4-second pace benefit to overtake.
Hamilton even needed aid from team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who collaborated earlier and was told to back off to impede Red Bull's Alexander Albon, whom Hamilton would have come out behind.
However, his championship lead within Bottas, that finished in fifth behind him, had been extended to 65 points, and it stays only a matter of time until he wins a domain name.
Albon drove a strong race although his pace that was actual was not that clear because of the tyre-management facet of the race.
And Lando Norris drove well to shoot seventh and top of the rest for McLaren, ahead of Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly, Hulkenberg and the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi atthe end of a race that was soporific in the front but included some harum-scarum racing in the midfield from time to time.
The events that caused the safety car have been a wreck involving Haas' Romain Grosjean and Williams' George Russell about the exit of Turn Eight on lap 35; a retirement that cried Sergio Perez's Racing Point on course lap 39; along with a collision between Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso and Kimi Raikkonen's Alfa Romeo in the Russian dived to get a pass Turn One on lap 50.
Russia in a week. Three wins in a row; can it be made by Ferrari ? Mercedes is going to probably be decided to bounce back following Singapore's self-confessed mistakes.
Vettel:"First of all, huge congratulations to the team - the beginning of the year has been hard for us we started to come alive and I am really proud of everyone's work straight home. I want to thank the fans. We have not been the very best and it's happy to have so many letters and nice messages, and it gives me plenty of strength and belief and I put everything into the vehicle today."
Leclerc:"Clearly it is always tricky to get rid of a win like this but at the end it is a one-two for your group so I'm happy for that, our first of the season. I am frustrated for me but I will come back stronger. It seems far more positive than expected, they have [the mechanisms ] done an wonderful job."
Verstappen:"The entire race went well. Initially it was slow and everybody was shut together then I began to battle with the tyres and we boxed and it turned out to be a great call. We undercut Lewis and from there it was about managing the tyres."
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