Sebastian Vettel ends 22-race drought and other talking points from Singapore GP

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Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended his 22-race drought by beating team-mate Charles Leclerc to clinch victory at the Singapore Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion, 32, got ahead of Leclerc on lap 20 to take to his first win since the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix in August.

Max Verstappen finished third with Lewis Hamilton crossing the line in fourth.

Here’s a look at the key talking points:

FERRARI DOMINANCE

Ferrari, who have struggled around twisty circuits, had not been the favourites going into the weekend but Leclerc marked them out as contenders after taking pole position on Saturday.

But for all hope of a third straight win for the young Monaco man, it wasn’t meant to be, and he came out on the wrong side of a team strategy call and had to settle for second.

Controlling the race for the first 20 laps, Leclerc was called in second to pit for fresh tyres and Vettel took advantage of his durable hard tyres to jump ahead of his team-mate.

Even though Leclerc pushed hard in his battle against Vettel, the three safety cars late on spoiled any potential change at the top and Leclerc was denied victory.

The 21-year-old will be disappointed with the strategy decision considering he started on pole, but Ferrari aren’t going to mind as the under pressure Vettel received a confidence booster with a first victory since August 2018.

Vettel was in the spotlight after a horror show in Monza, where he spun before collecting Lance Stroll on the way. He finished 13th as Leclerc secured his second straight win.

With the four-time world champion looking confident again, coupled with Leclerc enjoying a sparkling run of form recently, Ferrari’s new upgrades should hopefully threaten Mercedes and make a little bit of a fight of this championship for the six remaining races.

FOURTH FOR HAMILTON

Starting from second on the grid, it was expected that Hamilton would put pressure on Leclerc right from the off, as he bid for his third straight win under the lights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

After Leclerc opted to pit on lap 20, Hamilton stayed out for six extra laps as he attempted to build an extra advantage. If he stayed out until lap 28 or was even brought in before Leclerc and Vettel, then he could have been a handed a free victory because of the safety cars.

Fourth place will disappoint Hamilton but the Mercedes struggled for pace all evening and were unable to mount much of a challenge on Max Verstappen and the Ferraris.

Although the 34-year-old would have preferred to leave Singapore with at least a podium finish, Hamilton will be firing for Russia next week, around a track where he has sealed victory on three occasions.

Still, the championship is in no grand danger as Hamilton holds a commanding 65 points lead over his teammate Valtteri Bottas.

RED BULL SOLID

Red Bull came into the weekend as Mercedes’ closest challengers, and Verstappen went on to finish ahead of both Silver Arrow drivers.

The Dutchman is a class act. He headed into the summer break following a series of impressive displays, including wins in Austria and Germany.

He was also within minutes of winning the Hungarian Grand Prix before Hamilton’s impressive late fightback.

In Singapore, Verstappen was expected to be back among the frontrunners, and made advantage of the twisty tracks to finish third – his seventh podium of the season.

His team-mate Alex Albon drove well, maintaining his strong pace and staying out of trouble, finishing in a formidable sixth to record his fifth straight points finish.

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