Max Verstappen second at Singapore Grand Prix: 'I am very happy'

Published on 16 September 2018 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen grabbed an excellent second place finish at the Singapore Grand Prix. The Dutchman, who started from second, lost a spot to Sebastian Vettel immediately after the start. After his pit stop he rejoins right in front of the German due to a well-planned strategy. After that Vettel posed no more threat for Verstappen, who in turn crossed the line two second behind race leader Hamilton.

“It was not bad”, says Max with huge understatement after the race. “The car was just very good, but we already know that. It’s a shame regarding the first lap; you can clearly see we are missing top speed. If we had come out on track behind of Vettel, we would have finished third. From there on the team had a great strategy so we could get back into second. Basically we drove our own race and tried to follow Lewis a bit. At the end we knew second was going to be the result, so we just had to bring the car home.”

Despite the good result, Max had some issues with his engine, just like during qualifying. Verstappen explains: “I didn’t have a perfect getaway after my pit stop, but also behind the safety car the car had some issues and even some false neutrals. The car is then not able to find a gear, so I almost stalled. I needed to shift very quickly in order to get back into a gear. During the race, shifting down was also very difficult. We had a lot of problems, but all in all I am very happy with second place.”

Asked about what we can expect at the next race in Russia, Max answers with a smile: “Then we will be celebrating my birthday. I am looking forward to that the most.”

After an excellent qualifying, during which Max grabbed the second spot, his expectations are rather high. Verstappen has a reasonably getaway and retains his second spot. However, Vettel comes up alongside of him on the straight and overtakes him at Turn seven. Both Force India’s come into contact with each other at Turn three causing Esteban Ocon to hit the wall and prematurely drop out. Team mate Sergio Perez is able to continue on unscathed. As a result of the collision the safety car is deployed.

After five laps the safety car heads back in. At the restart everyone retain their position. Max is then able to slot in behind of Vettel and Hamilton ahead of him, but not close enough to launch an attack. “The car feels good”, says the youngster on the radio.

On lap fifteen, Vettel is the first one from the top ten to make his stop. The Ferrari-driver rejoins in seventh with a new set of ultra-softs strapped on to his RB14. One lap later, Hamilton follows suit. As oppose to the German, Hamilton opts to run on the softs and rejoins well ahead of Vettel. This puts Verstappen briefly in the lead, before he also heads off to the pits on lap eighteen. The Dutchman straps on the soft compound tyre and re-emerges side by side with Vettel on track. Verstappen manages to stay ahead of the German and is provisionally fourth. “Yes!”, is what Max yells on the radio after he had been able to keep the Ferrari-running driver behind of him.

On lap 27, Daniel Ricciardo is the last driver from the top six to do his stop. This puts Hamilton back in the lead with Verstappen trailing him by some five second. In the meantime, Perez is stuck behind of Sergey Sirotkin. After the Mexican finally overtakes the Russian, the two drivers collide with each other, leaving the damaged Perez to head back to the pits. By now, Sirotkin is holding up quite some cars. Leader of the pack, Hamilton, runs into the train of cars following Sirotkin, the moment he wants to lap them. Max is now able to slot right back in behind the Briton and even manages to almost overtake him. Hamilton is able to fend off the Dutchman’s attack.

In the closing stages of the race, there is no change of positions at the front. Hamilton takes the victory home of the Singapore Grand Prix. With a deficit of nine second, Verstappen crosses the line second fastest and secures his sixth podium finish this season. Vettel, trailing considerably, finishes in third. Valtteri Bottas crosses the line in fourth, with Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo in fifth and sixth. Fernando Alonso scores a decent seventh place finish for McLaren while Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Nico Hulkenberg round up the top ten.

Results Grand Prix Singapore:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes611:51:11.61125
2Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer61+8.961s18
3Sebastian VettelVETFerrari61+39.945s15
4Valteri BottasBOTMercedes61+51.930s12
5Kimi RäikkönenRAIFerrari61+53.001s10
6Daniel RicciardoRICRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer61+53.982s8
7Fernando AlonsoALOMcLaren Renault61+103.011s6
8Carlos SainzSAIRenault60+1 lap4
9Charles LeclercLECSauber Ferrari60+1 lap2
10Nico HulkenbergHULRenault60+1 lap1
11Marcus EricssonERISauber Ferrari60+1 lap0
12Stoffel VandoorneVANMcLaren Renault60+1 lap0
13Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda60+1 lap0
14Lance StrollSTRWilliams Mercedes60+1 lap0
15Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari60+1 lap0
16Sergio PerezPERForce India Mercedes60+1 lap0
17Brendon HartleyHARScuderia Toro Rosso Honda60+1 lap0
18Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari59+2 laps0
19Sergey SirotkinSIRWilliams Mercedes59+2 laps0
0Esteban OconOCOForce India Mercedes0DNF0