Sebastian Vettel wins the Singapore Grand Prix!
Lap 61/61 It’s a one-two for Ferrari. And a third straight win for the team, though Leclerc will be disappointed he couldn’t make it a personal hat-trick. For Vettel, it brings to an end a grim winless run. Hamilton can’t quite get close enough in the key moments to Verstappen, who takes third. Bottas is fifth.
Lap 60/61 Verstappen is struggling with power but he does well to hold off Hamilton’s superior engine power. He’s showing all his champion’s competitive aggression here, but he’s still outside the top three. Vettel leads going into the final lap!
Lap 59/61 Hamilton closes on Verstappen – he’s no more than a car length and a half or so behind him now, but Vettel looks unassailable out front. His lead is now over two seconds.
Lap 58/61 Kvyatt sets a new fastest lap for the race of 1:44:47 for what it’s worth, though he remains back in 15th. Only for Hamilton to surpass it a few seconds later. Vettel still leads from Leclerc, Verstappen and Hamilton with three laps to go.
Lap 57/61 Given what an error-strewn season Vettel has endured, he’s driven with incident-free composure today, for all that Leclerc may gripe. The German leads by 1.9sec now. Hamilton still can’t quite get within range of Verstappen. Magnussen goes in for a tyre change to keep himself in the race.
Lap 56/61 Hamilton gets within DRS range of Verstappen but isn’t able to take him on yet, so the podium’s in view for the Red Bull man.
Lap 55/61 Time is running out for Leclerc to make his move on Vettel, whose 392-day winless run could be coming to an end. The lead is now 1.2sec as Vettel sets a new fastest lap for the race
Lap 54/61 In the mid-market points battle, Gasly is challenging seventh-placed Norris strongly at the moment, with Hulkenburg in ninth and Giovinazzi up into 10th.
Lap 53/61 Leclerc keeps Vettel within striking distance – it’s around a second at the moment – with Verstappen 2.4sec behind the leader in third, and Hamilton more than a second further back in fourth. His championship lead looks strong still, though it’s not really been his race today.
Lap 52/61 Racing resumes as the safety car comes in. Hulkenburg is reporting some car trouble, but is told to keep at it. The stewards will look at the Raikkonen-Kvyatt brouhaha after the race. Ricciardo goes past Magnussen into 13th. As you were at the front for now.
Yer punters aren’t happy:
Lap 51/61 This is supremely frustrating, and makes it increasingly likely that this race will time out now, with around 17 minutes to go to the two-hour mark. What had seemed tactically intriguing and hard to call might be petering out into a less than thrilling finish. It’s Vettel 1, Leclerc 2, Verstappen 3, Hamilton 4 Bottas 5.
Lap 50/61 Kvyatt takes on Raikkonen, breaks and arrives late and forces the Finn right off the track. This means the safety car – again! Kvyatt survived the kerfuffle, and carried on racing, but having forced himself and Raikkonen off has lost some ground. Raikkonen’s quit.
Lap 49/61 A word for mid-race front runner Giovinazzi, who’s recovered some ground after dropping back. He’s 11th, and well placed to challenge for points. Vettel keeps his lead to between 0.9sec and 1.1sec on Leclerc, while Verstappen slightly extends his lead on Hamilton.
Lap 48/61 No constructor’s ever had a one-two finish in Singapore. Will we get one here? The safety car comes in and they get ready to fire up again. Vettel builds his lead, taking it to around 0.9sec. Mercedes restarted well, Verstappen trying to gain on Leclerc, whose chances are fading. Ricciardo’s pass on Kvyatt is the first movement as competition is renewed, but then he’s overhauled by three – Kvyatt, Grosjean and Sainz.
Lap 47/61 Charles Leclerc is told over the radio by his team that he needs to bring his car in for new tyres. “I won’t be stupid, I want to finish one-two but I just think this is not fair,” he says. We’re gonna have some talking points after this race. Hamilton almost runs into the back of Verstappen as they prepare for the safety car to come in, which it is due to, after this lap.
Lap 46/61 There are, in theory, 15 laps to go but such has been the pace – or lack of – in this race that we might hit the two-hour time limit a lap or two short.
Lap 45/61 Some cars drive around. A safety car in front of them. The less things change, the better this is likely to be for the Ferraris.
Lap 44/61 Back comes the safety car as Sergio Perez walks disconsolately away from his static car, to round off a miserable week. He’s been a touch poorly too. This isn’t going to help Mercedes, mitigating their tyre advantage.
Lap 43/61 Leclerc pushes hard on Vettel, within DRS range, but stays second for now, as Perez moves into the top 10 before hitting mechanical bother and grinding to a halt. There’s a fierce scrap for championship points going on in the middle, and some casualties.
Lap 42/61 So where do we stand with fewer than 20 laps left? It’s 1 Vettel by 0.7sec from 2 Leclerc 3 Verstappen 4 Hamilton 5 Bottas
Lap 41/61 No DRS for the first two laps after the safety car, but plenty of jostling as the Ferraris forge ahead in ominous style. Gasly and Stroll, I think, have had a coming-together further back. Ricciardo, who had to treat a puncture during the safety car period, moves up to 16th, while Hulkenburg moves in front of Stroll in 12th. Stroll now has a puncture having had clashes with first Gasly and now Raikkonen.
Lap 40/61 Freedom! The safety car period ends. All to play for in the last 20 laps.
Lap 39/61 The safety car is still out, which incidentally maintains its 100% appearance record in grands prix at this circuit. This is probably good news for the Ferrari front runners in terms of tyre preservation.
Lap 38/61 Russell’s had to quit the race after that clash. “My head is down and it will be down until the race is ended” says Leclerc after being told to keep his bonce down and plough on. He doesn’t sound happy, and is displeased with the undercut from his teammate. He’s got a point, having been their man in pole.
Lap 37/61 Hulkenburg goes into the pits as the safety car stays out. As they ease round, a reminder of how they stand: 1 Vettel 2 Leclerc 3 Verstappen 4 Hamilton 5 Bottas 6 Albon
Lap 36/61 George Russell goes into the wall after a clash with Grossjean as Ferrari try to build a safety car lead. We could now have a safety car, and we do. It’s duly deployed. This means Hamilton will stay out if the Ferraris pit. Game on?
Lap 35/61 Giovinazzi pits at last, and he’ll have needed a tyre change anyway after that clash. As does Ricciardo, who also copped some damage in the incident. Vettel leads by just under five seconds from Leclerc. Hamilton reckons Ferrari are running a two-stop race, which gives the safety car some importance.
Lap 34/61 Bottas goes wide to pass Giovinazzi, who then clashes with Ricciardo as the latter overhauls him and forces him wide. He could have some damage here, and the Italian is dropping back alarmingly. That’s a real shame.
Lap 33/61 Ferrari looking promising now, as Leclerc squeezes past Giovinazzi to give them a one-two at the front. Which driver will the team prioritise from now? Hamilton passes Giovinazzi to move into fourth. He’s not out of this yet, but he is 3.9sec behind Vettel in first.
Lap 32/61 Leclerc overhauls Gasly on the corner with consummate skill and no real fuss or resistance. He’s now taking on Giovinazzi on second. Verstappen passes Gasly too. So it’s now 1 Vettel 2 Giovinazzi (yet to pit) 3 Leclerc 4 Verstappen 5 Gasly 6 Hamilton 7 Bottas 8 Albon
Lap 31/61 Vettel now leads! He makes quite an easy pass on Giovinazzi. Gasly is third, Leclerc fourth and Verstappen fifth, having just passed Ricciardo, who’s had a pretty decent race considering. Stroll goes into the pits.
Lap 30/61 Tyres are wearing easily in these conditions, which adds to the uncertainty as Vettel attacks Gasly and passes him – did he force him off the track there? – and now the Ferrari lead man is in second. But will he cop a warning?
Lap 29/61 Top fact, and possibly a damning one. Giovinazzi is the first person outside a Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari driver to lead a grand prix since Williams at Silverstone in 2015. Meanwhile, Vettel passes Stroll and Ricciardo to seize third place. Leclerc passes Stroll to move into fifth too. Hamilton is still eighth, behind Verstappen in seventh.
Lap 28/61 Leclerc tries to go past Stroll in fifth but can’t quite force the opening, and that’s good work from Stroll. Verstappen is looking to exploit such a battle a place further back. Giovinazzi still leads by 1.1sec from Gasly. It’s all about reading and managing the considerable traffic here.
Lap 27/61 So Giovinazzi now leads! Verstappen and Vettel try to close, having struggled to make ground, while Hamilton emerges from the pit lane in front of Bottas. He’s eighth, and net-fourth in the race. It’s not a big gap but a lot depends on how Giovanazzi, Gasly and Ricciardo set the pace out front, none of whom have pitted. This is properly intriguing. Hamilton is told “the race will all happen at the end”. It probably will.
Lap 26/61 Leclerc’s easy control of the early stages of the race has certainly gone though he’s still firmly in contention. Hamilton still leads from Giovinazzi. They’re standing by at Mercedes to pit Hamilton …
Lap 25/61 Bottas has just set a fastest lap, and he has a chance of having a net lead over Hamilton post-pitting. He’s currently ninth. In front of him Verstappen (8th), Leclerc (7th) and Vettel (6th), who could be the Ferrari driver most likely to at the moment.
Lap 24/61 Hamilton says his tyres “are not great but I don’t want you to stop me” at this point. He leads from Giovinazzi, Gasly and Ricciardo, none of whom have pitted.
Lap 23/61 Bottas goes into the pits but Hamilton stays out. Of the leaders who’ve pitted, Vettel is sixth, Leclerc seventh, Verstappen eighth and Bottas ninth.