Sebastian Vettel has returned to the top step of the podium for the first time in more than a year, winning the strategic battle at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Vettel, who started behind his teammate Charles Leclerc on the grid, managed to undercut his fellow Ferrari driver in the only round of pit stops – much to Leclerc’s dismay.
CAMS Ambassador Daniel Ricciardo put on a show after being forced to start from the rear of the field for a qualifying misdemeanour – and while he managed to work his way into the top 10, a clash with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi left the Australian with a puncture and saw him eventually finish the night in 14th.
Speaking after the race, Ricciardo rued a missed opportunity
“It was a long one today and it’s a shame it ended up like that,” Ricciardo said.
“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 (with Giovinazzi) and the puncture meant our race was more or less over. We deserved a better outcome today.”
The Ferrari one-two certainly surprised many in the paddock, with most thinking the battle would be between Red Bull and Mercedes. Championship Leader Lewis Hamilton ended the day in fourth, behind Max Verstappen in third.
Vettel was understandably delighted with the victory – his first in 392 days.
"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,” Vettel said.
“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.”
A short turnaround for Formula 1 teams means no rest for crews, with Russia hosting the next round of the Championship this weekend in Sochi.