Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari has “come alive” with its form in recent weeks after taking the team’s third straight victory at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc has taken three consecutive pole positions and converted the first two of those in Spa and Monza, but in Singapore it was Vettel who won after jumping from third to first during the pit stops. The victory is the German’s first since Belgium last year, and he is happy he was able to repay the team’s hard work as well as support he has received after failing to score in Monza.
“First of all, big congratulations to the team,” Vettel said. “The start of the season has been difficult for us, but in the recent weeks I think we started to come alive. I’m really proud of everyone’s work back home.
“Secondly, I really want to thank the fans. Obviously the last couple of weeks, for me, have not been the best but it has been incredible to get so many letters, so many nice messages, people telling their own stories, when things might not go so well and so on. That gave me strength, belief and I tried to put it all into the track today, into the car and it’s nice when it pays off.”
Vettel’s success centered on his pit stop, as he came in for hard tires from third place a lap before Leclerc and got ahead when his team-mate pit one lap later. The German admits he was not expecting to take the lead but had sensed an opportunity to jump Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes stayed out longer.
“It was a very late call. I thought it was a bit early because I wasn’t sure if we could make the tires last in the last stint. Then, obviously, I just gave it everything on the out lap because I saw the two cars in front of me not pitting, especially Lewis. I was then, the lap later, very surprised to come out ahead.
“Then it was quite busy with the traffic — I was trying to get through, to slice through as quickly as I could, to get a cushion and then control it. It didn’t work because the safety car came out but we controlled it to the end — the car was getting better and better. The restarts with the safety car were tricky but as first car on the track I think you always have a bit of an advantage.”