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Singapore 2019 | Ferrari wins with fast (illegal) engine, Verstappen on P3

Singapore 2019 | Ferrari wins with fast (illegal) engine, Verstappen on P3

27 September - 07:12 Last update: 08:30
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GPblog.com

The Singapore Grand Prix is scheduled next weekend and so we at GPblog look back at the last edition of this GP. For that, we have to go back to 2019, where relations in F1 were on edge due to a slightly too fast engine from Ferrari.

What is Ferrari doing?

Singapore was not on the F1 calendar in 2020 and 2021 because of restrictions around the corona virus. So for the latest edition, we have to go back to September 2019. A period in F1 history where there were question marks around Ferrari's performance. The engine had become much more competitive out of nowhere after the summer, which had already seen Charles Leclerc take pole plus victory in Belgium and Italy.

The entire Formula 1 world could not believe that Ferrari had been able to make such a step up, and in hindsight it would also turn out that Ferrari did not quite play by the rules. The Italian team was punished by the FIA, but rival teams could never see the documents. Ferrari insists to this day that it did nothing wrong during this period.

Singapore was the third race after the summer break and Ferrari was still dominant. For the third time in a row, Leclerc took pole. The Monegasque was just under two tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen formed the second row of starters for Sunday's Grand Prix.

Vettel's undercut

The start of the race went without major changes for the leaders. Vettel did all he could in the first few laps to overtake Hamilton, but was unable to do so. It took a pit stop to pass Hamilton. That happened on lap 20, where Vettel dived in the pits with Verstappen.

However, that undercut proved so strong that even Leclerc was surprised. On lap 21, he was not informed by his team that Vettel had made a pit stop and that he needed to push, so Leclerc exited the pits a lap later just behind Vettel. The Monegasque let his dissatisfaction be heard over the boardradio.

It was yet another episode in the troubled relationship between the two Ferrari drivers. Indeed, in Italy, Leclerc had disobeyed the team order to give Vettel a tow during qualifying. As everyone slowed down, Leclerc, who had the fastest time to his name after the first run, happily went along slow with the rest. As a result, almost all drivers crossed the start line too late to start another lap.

So it was payback time for Vettel, who never saw his position threatened again on the tight Marina Bay Street Circuit. Verstappen also took advantage of his undercut, passing Hamilton for third place. Ferrari had things in order best with a 1-2 and a third win in a row, but due to engine modifications, this would prove to be the last victory until the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2022.

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