Sebastian Vettel won his first race in more than a year by leading a Ferrari one-two at the Singapore Grand Prix, while Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo was forced to endure another shocker not of his own making.
After qualifying a creditable eighth fastest on Saturday, Ricciardo had been shunted to the back of the pack after his Renault was deemed to have exceeded power limits during Q1.
With few passing opportunities on the tight street circuit Ricciardo had little chance of cutting through the field, despite three safety car deployments, and eventually finished 14th.
He ran as high as third as other cars pitted, but picked up a right rear puncture while battling with the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.
With Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg finishing ninth Ricciardo clearly had been in the line for a top ten finish if not for the technical breach that Renault claimed was caused by a spike from hitting a kerb.
“It was a long one today and it’s a shame it ended up like that,” Ricciardo said after the race.
“The start was fun with some good overtakes and getting into a decent position. I gained some confidence there and got into a rhythm.
“We were ticking every box and really made the most of everyone being bunched up. Then it all came undone with the incident and the puncture meant our race was more or less over.
We deserved a better outcome today.”
Renault’s team principal Cyril Abiteboul was full of praise for the Australian’s effort under duress, saying there was a sense of ‘what could have been’.
“Daniel’s comeback after his disqualification was remarkable on a track like this. Contact sent him back to square one.
“It was encouraging, however, to be back at this competitiveness level on a track which is very different from Spa and Monza. A sign that the car is better and that we must not write off this season.”
Vettel took the chequered flag 2.641 seconds ahead of his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc, who had started on pole position for the third race in a row.
Leclerc was clearly dismayed over team radio and in the drivers’ room after that his teammate appeared to have the better race strategy, coming in first and claiming the lead.
The victory was Vettel’s fifth in Singapore and came as a relief given his last victory was in Belgium in August 2018.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took third place, with championship leader Lewis Hamilton fourth in his Mercedes, followed by teammate Valtteri Bottas.