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How a bad qualifying lap put Vettel on pole for Singapore win
If Sebastian Vettel had produced the qualifying lap he was truly capable of in Singapore, he wouldn't have been in the right place to capitalise on the unique race circumstances that allowed him to show the world his capabilities again
Drivers grasping for a cliche to fill the Saturday silence often remind the world that the race is on Sunday and not decided in qualifying. Sebastian Vettel proved that this is not always true by apparently losing his shot at victory with a poor, and ultimately aborted, final lap in Q3 that perversely proved to be the foundation stone of his victory.
By inadvertently hiding in plain sight in third on the grid, and holding that position at the start, Vettel was perfectly placed to capitalise on the surprisingly potent advantage of the undercut on race night. Inevitably, some with an overly sensitive nose for conspiracy smelled a rat, but the reality was that the Ferrari pitwall didn’t realise that Vettel was going to gain such a big advantage – 3.9s – by stopping a lap earlier than teammate Charles Leclerc until the die had unwittingly been cast.
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