2019 Singapore Grand Prix – Race Reaction and Driver Interviews
Singapore – it’s a staple on the Formula 1 calendar and one of the toughest races for our Formula 1 drivers but we love it!
Night race + Street Circuit, we always get great racing and the safety car making an appearance.
This weekend, it was a strong weekend for the Scuderia Ferrari team – they pushed the car and raised the bar.
What looked like to be Leclerc’s race changed throughout and with the undercut, it was Sebastian Vettel’s race – much to Leclerc’s disappointment.
The two Ferrari drivers aren’t battling each other.
Leclerc wants to make a good impression in his first year with the team whereas Vettel is in a completely different stage in his career – he (was) battling for the Championship but now, it’s more to prove a point….
What I like seeing is the respect between drivers – Hamilton and Vettel congratulated each other in the media paddock too and this is what the sport is about.
Following the race, we’re seeing a happy Vettel. His mood has lifted and he’s gotten some of the confidence back – this is his first win in over a year!
Will we see a change on the latter part of the season? Will we see Vettel and Hamilton in closer battles?
Can Vettel fight back? He can – but it’ll be quite unexpected (albeit fun) to see.
Lets take a look at what the drivers had to say following the race.
Ferrari – 2019 Singapore Grand Prix Race Recap and Driver Interviews
Sebastian Vettel: “After yesterday, when I wasn’t able to get everything out of the car, I am pleased with the way everything went today. “
“It was about time! The last few weeks have been far from simple for me, but in the end, I knew I could turn things around.”
“I never stopped believing in myself and today, with the great help of the team here and in Maranello, we got the result we should always be aiming for.”
“I was playing a waiting game until I got the call on the radio to pit for new tyres. I had not expected to stay out so long but the decision was key, because I was able to rejoin with a clear track ahead of me and I could run at my own pace making up ground on all the others, to the extent that I was in the lead by almost five seconds at the time the Safety Car came out.”
“From then on, the race was continually interrupted, with a further two restarts, but I still managed to maintain concentration and avoid making any mistakes.”
“It’s too early to say if this win means we can be competitive on all the coming tracks.”
“Here, whoever is in front sets the pace, almost like in Monaco and on used tyres, Hamilton seemed stronger than us, which means we still have work to do when it comes to our race pace.”
“Certainly the upgrades we brought here worked well and made us competitive, which means we are working in the right direction.”
Charles Leclerc: “As a team, it was a positive weekend for us. Arriving in Singapore, we did not have high expectations, so bringing home a one-two finish is a pleasant surprise and also a sign that all of the hard work done by the team has paid off.”
“That said, of course I am a bit disappointed to finish in second place. But I am certain that our race was aimed at maximising our result as a team, which we did, and that is good.”
“We know that we have a lot of potential and will keep working in this direction to do the best job possible at the remaining six races.”
“Now I look forward to the next one in Russia.”
Mattia Binotto – Team Principal
“The 1-2 today is very important to us because we achieved it in a different scenario, on a very different type of circuit to Spa-Francorchamps or Monza. The team managed the situation, the strategy and the pit stops very well. The aero update we brought here worked well and, combined with our drivers’ confidence around here and the tyres, that we managed to get to work properly, we actually got more than we expected today.
“Well done to Seb, he deserved to win! We had to bring him in first, to protect his position because Max Verstappen was about to pit and that was Seb’s best chance to overtake Hamilton.”
“Also, we knew that on the following lap we would have pitted Charles, so it was important not to stop both the drivers on the same lap. The undercut was very effective. Seb drove very fast and very well on new tyres in that part of the race and gained the position to go ahead of Charles, which is part of racing.”
“For his part, after the spectacular qualifying yesterday, Charles had a solid and consistent race.
“The car is good and is constantly improving and the team is working and reacting well. There’s no doubt about it, we are all very happy with this victory.”
Mercedes – 2019 Singapore Grand Prix Race Recap and Driver Interviews
Valtteri Bottas: “I was hoping for some action today, but there wasn’t really a whole lot, so the race felt a bit like a long Sunday drive, just without air conditioning.”
“We tried to create some opportunities by offsetting our tyres to the cars in front and maybe get a chance to attack at the end of the race, but it didn’t work out. The car felt quick today, but you need a pace delta of almost two seconds to overtake in Singapore, so we couldn’t really attack the cars ahead.”
“We have rules of engagement for our pit stops as we don’t want to use them to swap position between our cars.”
“The car ahead always gets the priority; so if the car behind stops early and undercuts, we will make sure that the other car still ends up in front. We can’t be happy with our results this weekend, so we will analyse and review everything diligently as there’s a lot that we can learn from qualifying and the race.”
“We’re going to Sochi next, a track that I’m usually strong at, but there are also very long straights, so we expect Ferrari to be quick again. It won’t be easy, but I’m looking forward to the chance to fight again next week.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s not been the weekend we wanted at all. I was all over Charles in the first stint and I think we had the pace to win the race today.”
“We discussed the possibility of the undercut in the strategy meeting this morning and I wanted to take the risk but then Ferrari decided to box, so we did the opposite and I stayed out.”
“I pushed hard and the tyres were feeling good, but after a few laps they started to drop off real quick.”
“We made mistakes tonight, but in this team, we win and we lose together. We don’t point the finger at people, that’s always been our philosophy and that won’t change because of one race.”
“We’re fighting a Ferrari team who are super hungry and pushing very hard. It’s on each one of us to do a better job. I believe we’re the best team, but we’ve got to push on. We’ll debrief tonight, put our heads back in the scrum, and then come back fighting at the next race.”
Red Bull Racing – 2019 Singapore Grand Prix Race Recap and Driver Interviews
Max Verstappen: “Of course we always want to win but finishing on the podium and gaining one place on a track where you can’t really overtake is positive.”
“It’s true that we came here hoping for more but this is still a good result for us, especially with the pace that the others had yesterday in qualifying. Most of the race was about managing the pace to keep the tyres alive and luckily that worked out for me.”
“Charles was managing his tyres out front and the pace was pretty slow but that kept everyone really close and allowed me to get the undercut on Lewis.”
“We had good pace after the pit stop and I was comfortable in third even with all the safety car re-starts until the last few laps when Lewis was pushing hard to overtake me on newer tyres, but luckily we were able to hold on.”
“I wouldn’t say that today was that exciting from a racing perspective but Singapore has a lot of plus points being a street circuit, really tough on the body and just being a cool track to drive on.”
“This wasn’t exactly the weekend we hoped for but we will keep pushing before next weekend.”
Alex Albon: “Most of that race was just managing my tyres so it was physically easier than I expected.”
“It was only in the last 20 laps when I was really pushing it that I could feel the strain. So, I would call it a battle of management as I started P6 and finished P6.”
“At times it felt more like a procession than a race for me. It was also a bit frustrating as I spent the whole race stuck behind a Mercedes. As I couldn’t overtake on the track I hoped that a pit stop would move me up the field but unfortunately that didn’t happen and then the safety car came out a few times.”
“In the middle stint I wanted to get past Valtteri but I didn’t have the pace to overtake the Mercedes.”
I spent the whole race staring at a silver rear wing which wasn’t that fun. When he pushed I pushed and when he saved his tyres I saved mine so I felt like I was just going backwards and forwards and it almost felt like he backed me up so Lewis could get ahead.”
“All in all for my first time here it was a positive race. My pace was a lot better so I’m definitely making progress.”
“Even during the race I was finding little tricks to improve my speed. I was amazed by how many Thai flags were out there in the crowd so it was great to be racing here.”
McLaren – 2019 Singapore Grand Prix Race Recap and Driver Interviews
Carlos Sainz: “Very disappointing end to the weekend. For the second time in a row we end up with a non-points finish when we were up for a good result.”
“We had the start that we wanted; we were P7 attacking the Red Bull in front of us. However, into Turn Five, I got hit from behind by the Renault and that was it.”
“We had a puncture, big car damage, a long pit-stop and I was one lap down. It’s a shame because it would’ve been a good P7 and a double-points finish for the team.”
“Nonetheless, we didn’t give up and fought hard until the end. I felt strong physically and mentally in the car, and I’m sure we can fight back in Russia. Let’s put this race behind for now and focus on next weekend.”
Lando Norris: “A good race in the end with decent points, and I don’t think there was a lot more I could’ve done.”
“We did the best we could at the start but I was just getting held up by everyone ahead, which is part of the race because everyone is trying to save tyres.”
“There were Safety Cars, sometimes helping but other times hindering, as it allowed Hülkenberg and Gasly to come behind me on the softer tyre – a much fresher tyre as well – and I was under quite a bit of pressure towards the last few laps.”
“I was having to push, which was fun, because for the rest of the race we were just driving around so slowly.”
“It was a shame about Carlos getting hit by Hülkenberg at the beginning, because I think we could both have been in the points today. Massive thanks to the team and everyone back at the factory for their hard work.”
You’ll be able to see much more on the website tomorrow and throughout this week ahead of the 2019 Russian Grand Prix!