Sebastian Vettel on top of the podium. When was that actually the last time? You have to go back a few days, 1039 days to be exact.
On September 22, 2019, the four-time Ferrari champion celebrated his last Grand Prix victory. It will almost certainly be his last. We look back.
2019 was not Sebastian Vettel’s season. The Ferrari driver was already in a kind of downward spiral. The new Scuderia crown prince Charles Leclerc spread, Vettel saw no country against Lewis Hamilton. This also manifested itself with a long winless streak. The former champion remained without a race win for what felt like an eternity.
Then came September 22, 2019 and the Singapore Grand Prix. In the floodlit crime thriller on the streets of the Asian city-state, Vettel achieved the longed-for liberation.
In a gripping race, the four-time world champion prevailed over teammate Leclerc and Red Bull man Max Verstappen. A courageous undercut strategy and nerves of steel during the crucial overtaking maneuvers led Vettel to victory.
Wet eyes at the award ceremony
At the award ceremony, Vettel clearly felt the pressure of the past few weeks falling off his shoulders. When the national anthem was played, Vettel had tears in his eyes.
“I would like to thank the team and also the fans. It was a tough few weeks, I would like to thank everyone who continued to believe in me. So many people sent me letters and messages, and I would like to thank them,” said Vettel .
How did the triumph come about? Vettel started from P3, the start was smooth. Then he used a bold undercut strategy. He was the first of the top pilots to pit and was rewarded for it: When Leclerc pitted just one lap after him, Vettel stayed wafer-thin in front of the Monegasque, who complained to his pits with a “What the hell is going on” curse . Mercedes completely overgrown, brought Hamilton and stable mate Valtteri Bottas into the pits far too late and thus robbed them of any chance of winning.
The only GP win in 2019
Vettel defended the lead after three safety car periods towards the end of the race in front of Leclerc, who was sulking on the radio. The reason: Ferrari prohibited him from attacking Vettel. The Monegasse had won the two previous races.
Vettel crossed the finish line first – one last time. Because it was his only victory in 2019. After all, the fifth in Singapore. A route that suits him. With 240 points, Vettel finished fifth in the world championship at the end of the year.