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Throwback Thursday – 2019 Singapore Grand Prix

Written by Ria Ann Sam, Edited by Sean McKean

Image credit - Peter J fox / Getty Images

Three DNFs, three safety cars, one glorious race. Welcome to the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix, where over 115, 000 spectators gathered to watch the race (Source – F1 website). Charles Leclerc started on pole, Hamilton started second, and Sebastian Vettel started third – a Ferrari sandwich, if you will. Other notable drivers also include Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who started fourth, and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, who started eleventh.


Then it was “lights out and away we go,” where Carlos Sainz immediately lost 13 places after contact with Nico Hulkenberg, and George Russell damaged his front wing, also following contact with the German. No further action was required between Sainz and Hulkenberg which left many fans upset, as Sainz’s race was ruined from the opening lap.


Then it was a relatively smooth race whilst Leclerc led. The first two to pit within the top five were Vettel and Verstappen, and they came out tenth and twelfth respectively. Hamilton was told to do “the opposite of Leclerc,” which meant that he stayed out and became the new race leader whilst the Monegasque pitted, coming out eighth behind teammate Sebastian Vettel.


Commentator David Croft spoke about the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix, where Vettel started third and finished first, and wondered about a possible repeat of the same achievement. He also reminded viewers that Vettel hadn’t won a race since the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix.

After Hamilton pitted, Antonio Giovinazzi became the new race leader, and Croft pointed out that he was “the first man outside Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull to lead a GP since Silverstone 2015.”


By lap 32, Vettel had managed to climb his way up to first and become the new race leader, whilst Leclerc fought his way to second. Lap 36 saw contact between Romain Grosjean and George Russell, which led to not only the first retirement of the race from Russell, but also the first safety car of the race, which lasted for five laps. During this time, over the radio, Leclerc was telling his engineer how annoyed he felt at being undercut by Vettel, and that he was second whilst Vettel was first, and this annoyance was seen even at the end of the race.


On lap 43, Sergio Perez had to retire due to mechanical issues, and safety car number two was deployed for four laps. Lap 50 saw contact between the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Räikkönen and the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat, which led to Räikkönen’s retirement as well and the final safety car.

Image Credit - Lars Baron / Getty Images

The race ended with Sebastian Vettel finishing first, teammate Charles Leclerc second – who was still quite annoyed about the pit stop strategy – and Max Verstappen in third. Not only was it an ecstatic time for Ferrari, finishing 1-2, but also no Constructor had finished 1-2 in a Singapore Grand Prix before.


This would be the final race win for the four-time World Champion, and also the last 1-2 for Ferrari until Bahrain 2022. Giovinazzi managed to finish in P10 after being as high as first, and Carlos Sainz managed to finish twelfth despite his poor race start. Haas driver Kevin Magnussen won the fastest lap, however, since he finished P17, he didn’t receive a point. 2019 was the last time Singapore hosted a Grand Prix until 2022 due to the pandemic.


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