For the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix in June, both Infiniti Red Bull Racing drivers finished on the podium in Singapore, with Sebastian Vettel taking his best result of the season in second and Daniel Ricciardo third.
Vettel made a good start to challenge his team-mate into the first corner, and once he assumed second place (when Fernando Alonso let him past after cutting the first corner) he never gave it up, save for a few laps when Alonso got back ahead during the pit stops. He momentarily took the lead after Lewis Hamilton made his final stop but was powerless to stop the Mercedes driver getting through and pulling away but took his best result of the season with second place.
“It’s a circuit I like here, the atmosphere‘s great and it’s a tough event,” said Vettel. “I had a good start and got past Daniel and had a decent race. We played a bit with strategy after we got undercut by Alonso, the safety car came at the worst time for us but we made the tyres work at the end which was tough.
“There was no point fighting Lewis at the end, he was on fresh tyres and I had to manage mine to the end as they were pretty old by then; that was the focus. It was nice to get the cold champagne on the podium.”
Ricciardo finished right on the tail of his four-time World Champion team-mate’s car, but admitted to having some brake and power issues during the race. He believed he could have taken the fight to Mercedes but felt the pace in the opening stint was not quick enough, and when the pace did come Lewis Hamilton was well out of reach.
“We were really close to the Mercedes in qualifying and we expected the race pace to be a bit faster today to be honest,” said Ricciardo. “We weren’t quick enough in the first stint and we had a few other issues going on, with brakes and some power issues that were coming and going, but in terms of points we still got a good handful to take away from here.
“It actually feels a bit like a home race here. Singapore to Perth is like Melbourne to Perth, so for West Australians it’s not too far. Suzuka is in two weeks and that’s another track we can be optimistic for, so I’m looking forward to that. All in all it was a solid weekend.”