Ric­cia­rdo’s Sin­ga­pore sec­ond

Wanneroo Times - - Front Page - Bill Buys

IT wasn’t quite the re­sult Red Bull Re­nault had hoped for, but Perth’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo still claimed sec­ond place – and his fourth con­sec­u­tive podium – in a chaotic Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix that elim­i­nated three po­ten­tial win­ners within five sec­onds of the start.

Fer­rari’s Se­bastien Vet­tel and Kimi Raikko­nen and Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen col­lided heav­ily af­ter the start on the rain-soaked Ma­rina Bay cir­cuit and Raikko­nen’s out-of­con­trol car also took out Fer­nando Alonso’s McLaren Honda.

It al­lowed Lewis Hamil­ton, who qual­i­fied fifth in his Mercedes, to weave through the car­nage and take the lead. He then led the whole way. De­spite be­ing de­layed by three safety cars which min­imised his lead, he pulled away again and went on to a ‘mirac­u­lous’ win.

There was a lot of luck in the in­ci­dent-packed race: Mercedes was not sup­posed to fea­ture on the podium af­ter be­ing com­pre­hen­sively out­per­formed by both the Red Bull Re­nault and Fer­rari teams in qual­i­fy­ing, and Ric­cia­rdo was for­tu­nate to claim sec­ond place af­ter bat­tling a gear­box prob­lem.

Mercedes’ Valt­teri Bot­tas ran third in the 20-car field that ended with just 12 fin­ish­ers.

Vet­tel, who started from pole po­si­tion, ap­peared to cause the huge start­ing line crash, cut­ting in on Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen, who was be­ing over­taken on the left by Raikko­nen,

But race stew­ards later deemed the crash a ‘rac­ing in­ci­dent’ with no ‘pre­dom­i­nant’ driver to blame.

Ver­stap­pen had a rather dif­fer­ent view, lay­ing the blame squarely on Vet­tel.

So Hamil­ton, who ear­lier said it would take a mir­a­cle for him to win, got ex­actly that and racked up his 60th ca­reer vic­tory and his third win in a row.

“God blessed me to­day, for sure,” he said on the podium.

“I cap­i­talised on the in­ci­dent. Who would have known that would hap­pen?’

Ric­cia­rdo had a lonely race in sec­ond spot, un­able to catch Hamil­ton but stay­ing ahead of Bot­tas, while Toro Rosso’s Car­los Sainz fin­ished a ca­reer-best fourth.

Ric­cia­rdo, de­scribed by podium com­pere Ed­die Jor­dan as ‘the pride of Aus­tralia’, said his car did not have the pace it had in qual­i­fy­ing.

“Still, it was a good thing I had a bad start or I would have been caught up in that crash,” he said.

“The team was ask­ing me to man­age the gears and I learned we were los­ing oil pres­sure in the gear­box.

“Of course I came here to win and re­ally wanted it, but sec­ond place is great and I’m not go­ing to com­plain about it.”

Team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner de­scribed the race as enor­mously frus­trat­ing.

“First we lost Max in an in­ci­dent that quite clearly had noth­ing to do with him,” he said.

‘Then, af­ter the re-start, Daniel started to lose an aw­ful lot of gear­box oil, which cre­ated a lot of prob­lems with oil pres­sure.

“We felt it un­likely he would get to the end of the race, but he man­aged to nurse the gear­box in­cred­i­bly well and was able to hold off any threat from Valt­teri Bot­tas.

“So it has been an­other sec­ond place for us in Sin­ga­pore, but a strong podium to take away con­sid­er­ing how things were look­ing af­ter the first 15 laps.”

Daniel Ric­cia­rdo cel­e­brates his sec­ond place in Sin­ga­pore.

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