Vettel fights from last on grid to finish fifth in Singapore

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Sebastian Vettel bounced back from an issue in qualifying that left him last on the grid to finish Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix in fifth position.

Four-time Formula 1 world champion Vettel entered the Singapore weekend targeting Ferrari’s first victory of the season, having won last year’s race at Marina Bay.

However, a rear anti-roll bar failure in qualifying resigned the German to 22nd place on the grid for the start, limiting his hopes of a big result.

Vettel made an aggressive two-stop strategy work perfectly which, combined with some aggressive overtakes around the tight confines of the street circuit, gave him fifth place at the checkered flag.

“Tough day yesterday and a better one today,” Vettel told NBCSN after the race.

“Overtaking here is rare, but I got a couple guys, especially into Turn 7. The fight I had with Esteban [Gutierrez] and Carlos [Sainz Jr.] didn’t last too long. But it was fun! Three cars, together into Turn 9, in end I was happy I came out ahead.

“It was a good race. We were gambling for a safety car starting on harder tires. We didn’t use the pace of the car on the ultra-soft.”

Despite Vettel’s fightback, Ferrari lost yet more ground on Red Bull in the race for second place in the constructors’ championship as Daniel Ricciardo finished the race second.

Vettel feels that Ferrari could have been a match for Red Bull in Singapore, and that the Italian marque needs to wipe away the 15-point gap in the constructors’ over the coming races.

“I think [Red Bull] is a match. The problem is where we couldn’t really show what we could do,” Vettel said.

“It’s nobody’s fault. Sometimes it’s ours. The next couple races we need to get ahead of Red Bull in constructors.

“The season is not over. We’re here to win, [but] we’re far away at the moment. But every race is another opportunity.”

NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.