"But even when the light panels came on a lot of the drivers weren't really responding so it made it very, very tough". Obviously inside the auto it's hard to be on top of everything because you can not see where you come out etc.
With the exception of a couple of collisions for Sergio Perez - one with team-mate Esteban Ocon and another with Sergey Sirotkin - the race was otherwise free of major incident. It was at this point that the severity of his engine problems became apparent. "Lewis got the job done but we gave him a auto he could do that with". "It was nearly bogging down, false neutrals - a lot of problems".
Mercedes had indeed done a sterling job to produce a auto that was more competitive at a circuit where they have traditionally struggled, as acknowledged by the technical director James Allison.
Ferrari may, on the basis of practice, have the most consistent vehicle for the race in terms of pace, but Mercedes and Red Bull are close enough on speed that it will be very tough for Vettel to get by.
"In first gear it doesn't react".
Passing in Singapore is very hard.More news: Clashing with Trump, California governor says to launch climate satellite
But when the Red Bull retook the position using pit strategy, Vettel didn't appear to have the performance advantage to do it again on track a second time.
When pressed further on the choice to take on Ultrasofts, Vettel said: "I think the decision we took in the race, the decisions to try to be aggressive, if it works it's great, today it didn't work".
"We didn't come here expecting to lose 10 points", said a dejected Vettel, who trailed by 30 heading into Singapore.
Hamilton got the ideal start from pole position as Verstappen was slower away from second on the dirty side of the grid and saw his Red Bull come immediately under pressure from Vettel.
For the remainder of the race, Vettel found ended up unable to improve on third place. The British driver clinched the title previous year, beating second-placed Vettel by 46 points.
"Going into detail, I don't think there's much point ... maybe with preparing the qualifying", he said.More news: Jabari Bird steps aside amid domestic violence charges
"I was a bit nervous going into qualifying because I didn't think we had the pace. It's just disappointing obviously today that we didn't get the maximum out of our package".
Hamilton stalled his Mercedes early in the session after misjudging the entry into a turn, but the Brit drove solidly after that, finishing just 0.011 seconds behind Raikkonen's Ferrari at the 5 kilometer Marina Bay track.
"I mean, you can't blame it on that".
"I didn't want to take the risk", he added. "I'm really happy with it".
Verstappen's lap was all the more impressive given that Red Bull had to detune his power unit during the session to prevent the more extreme power drop-outs he had experienced in final practice.
"So it was really quite a monumental moment for us as a team". The first? Stirling Moss at the 1955 British Grand Prix.More news: Reasons to buy Apple's iPhone XR instead of an iPhone XS