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Max Verstappen third in Singapore Grand Prix: 'Happy to be on the podium'

Published on 22 September 2019 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen finished third in the Singapore Grand Prix. On the Marian Bay Street Circuit drove Max a faultless race, in which during the final phase he was able to withstand considerable pressure from Lewis Hamilton, taking his sixth podium finish of the season. Sebastian Vettel scored his first victory of this year. Charles Leclerc completed the party for Ferrari by finishing second.

Asked if he was satisfied with his third place, Max answers after the race: “Absolutely. The whole race went well and the speed was okay. I am happy to be on the podium again. It is always hard to overtake here, so to do it with strategy is very positive. We took many points. And we have lots of things to analyse and work on. Nevertheless, I am happy to be in the top three.”

Going over the race, Verstappen says: “The start was good enough. In the beginning of the race everyone went very slow, so we were close together. Later on I had some difficulties with the tyres. The rear tyres were too cold because we were driving so slowly, so we went in. That turned out to be a very good decision. We were able to take the undercut on Lewis Hamilton. From there on we had to manage the tyres. It was a bit tricky with all the restarts after the safety cars because of the cold tyres. Normally that is not our strongest point. Sometimes that is a bit more difficult for us, but this time it went just fine.”

In spite of the three safety car phases Max says it was a hard race: “You have to keep the heat in the tyres during a safety car. That is more difficult than driving normal laps. It always a hard race, especially at the end of the race when Lewis was really pushing me as he had eight laps newer tyres. But that was good, as it makes you go all out all the way to the end. It is a good workout”, finishes Max with a wink.

With a temperature of over 30 degrees Celsius the Singapore Grand Prix gets underway, at which all cars in the top ten start the race on the soft tyres. Max gets away well at the start and is able to stay in fourth position. Starting from pole position Charles Leclerc takes the lead, followed by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz have contact at turn five. The Spaniard has to get into the pits with a punctured tyre. Also George Russell does not come out of the first lap unharmed and has to get a new front wing.

As on a piece of string the top six stay within six seconds of each other during the opening phase of the race. In lap 20 Verstappen and Vettel go together into the pits. After a fast stop of 2.3 seconds, Max gets back on the track in twelfth position with a new set of hard tyres on his car. In his outlap Max overtakes Nico Hulkenberg. Race leader Charles Leclerc stops one lap later and comes back on track behind Ferrari teammate Vettel and in front of Verstappen.

In lap 26 race leader Hamilton comes in and falls back to eighth position, behind Verstappen. Through this Antonio Giovinazzi takes the lead for the first time in his career. Meanwhile Vettel, Leclerc and Vertappen run into some men from the midfield who still need to make a stop. After a couple of nice battles, the order is restored. Vettel leads the race, in front of teammate Leclerc and Verstappen in P3.

In lap 34 Daniel Ricciardo and Antonio Giovinazzi have contact, at which the Australian sustains a punctured tyre. Two laps later George Russell crahes at turn eight after contact with Romain Grosjean. The Brit is unharmed, but this means the first DNF for a Williams this season. As a result the safety car comes out on track.

In lap 41 the track is cleared. In the restart Lance Stroll sustains a tyre puncture after a battle with Pierre Gasly. Teammate Sergio Perez has to park his Racing Point at the side of the track a couple of laps later. Again the safety car comes out.

The safety car leaves in lap 48. Pierre Gasly overtakes Kevin Magnussen for P8 at the restart. Teammate Daniil Kvyat tries to overtake Kimi Raikkonen, but the two have contact. The suspension of the Alfa Romeo of Raikkonen brakes off and the Finn parks his car at turn one, resulting in a third safety car phase.

After two laps behind the safety car the race is resumed. Hamilton on newer tyres increases the pressure on Verstappen. But the Brit is not able to launch an attack. Verstappen crosses the finish line in third position, taking his sixth podium this year. At the head of the race Vettel takes his first victory of the season, while Charles Leclerc makes it into a Ferrari one-two. Behind Verstappen finish the Mercedes of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in fourth and fifth position, while Alexander Albon finishes sixth. Lando Norris finishes in his McLaren as ‘best of the rest’ in seventh position. Gasly, Hulkenberg and Giovinazzi complete the top ten.

Results Grand Prix Singapore:

1Sebastian VettelVETFerrari611:58:33.66725
2Charles LeclercLECFerrari61+2.641s18
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda61+3.821s15
4Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes61+4.608s12
5Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes61+6.119s10
6Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda61+11.663s8
7Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault61+14.769s6
8Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda61+15.547s4
9Nico HulkenbergHULRenault61+16.718s2
10Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari61+17.855s1
11Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari61+35.436s0
12Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault61+35.974s0
13Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes61+36.419s0
14Daniel RicciardoRICRenault61+37.660s0
15Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda61+38.178s0
16Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes61+47.024s0
17Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari61+86.522s0
0Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari49DNF0
0Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes42DNF0
0George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes34DNF0