Red Bull’s Max Verstappen didn’t want to “take the risk” of overtaking Lewis Hamilton under traffic in the Singapore Grand Prix.
Verstappen ran the majority of the race in P2 with a three to five-second gap to race leader Lewis Hamilton.
But, on lap 38 Verstappen suddenly found himself just mere metres from Hamilton’s diffuser as the latter was caught in traffic.
“I never really thought the pass would be possible,” Verstappen commented after the race.
“It’s hard to overtake here so I didn’t want to take the risk”
– Max Verstappen
Verstappen thought it was “slightly unfair” that Hamilton was held up by drivers who were “not getting out of the way.”
Romain Grosjean and Sergey Sirotkin were the culprits.
“When I hit the traffic, I was just mindful not to take any risks,” Hamilton said.
Between lap 36 and 37, Hamilton lost 1.395s of a three-second gap to Verstappen. But, as quickly as Verstappen caught Hamilton, he lost it all too; by the end of lap 38, the gap was back to 3.667s.
By the race end, Verstappen was 8.961s behind Hamilton.
How it all unfolded
The lap 38
Grosjean attempted to overtake Sirotkin around the outside of the ninety-degree left-hander, but the Russian was having none of it and forced Grosjean off the track.
Grosjean kept his car in the fight and the outside exit of Turn 4 quickly turned to the inside entry to the Turn 5 hairpin.
As the pair’s duel continued, Lewis Hamilton was sitting patiently behind them, but also losing time to a lurking Verstappen.
“If you’re lucky you catch the cars at the right point,” Hamilton said, “but today I always caught them at an unfortunate point.”
Hamilton and Verstappen both passed Sirotkin at Turn 10, the corner that was once the infamous Singapore Sling chicane.
Grosjean didn’t concede to blue flags until the end of the second sector at Turn 14.
Hamilton negated the Haas before the corner and wasn’t majorly affected, but Verstappen lost significant ground as
As Verstappen completed the move, he raised his hand in frustration.
Grosjean was given a 5-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags, despite his belief that he “couldn’t really slow down” because of the battle with Sirotkin.
“I’m sorry if I blocked anyone, it was not my intention,” he said after bringing home P15.