Sainz takes fantastic victory in Singapore to end Red Bull streak

Jaden Diaz
17 Sep, 2023

Carlos Sainz won a fantastic race in the streets of Singapore, leading an intense race from start to finish. The Spaniard executed a masterclass in Yas Marina, managing his tyres and judging the final stages to perfection. Lando Norris capitalised on DRs from his former teammate to defend himself from a charging George Russell.

It was Russell who lost third place with a fatal mistake on the last lap, promoting Hamilton to the podium. Leclerc finishes fourth in a race characterised by bad luck.

After passing Russell at the start, the Monegasque was penalised by the timing of the Safety Car. Temperature problems limited his ability to push, forcing him into a defensive race. Verstappen and Red Bull were relatively anonymous, with a late recovery putting the 2-time world champion fifth.

The ‘strategist’ Sainz secured victory whilst helping Norris. Leclerc loses out to Mercedes.

Carlos Sainz’s pole provided an opportunity for Ferrari to interrupt Red Bull’s dominance by putting the SF-23 on the top step of the podium,

Lance Stroll’s scary crash from qualifying forced him to withdraw from today’s race due to his strong impact on the barriers.

Initially, a one-stop was the widely expected strategy for Singapore. Charles Leclerc was the only driver in the top 10 to start on softs. Further back, the two Red Bulls were on hards, as was Bottas. Tsunoda Piastri and Zhou were on softs.

Sainz

As planned, Charles Leclerc takes advantage of the softer compound to put the nose of his SF-23 in front of George Russel’s Mercedes, composing a magical 1-2 Ferrari. 

Lewis Hamilton extends his braking point and gains two positions by cutting the first corner but is later forced to give them both up. The only contact occurred between Perez and Tsunoda, the latter forced to retire after the puncture of his right rear. 

In the first juncture of the race, Leclerc, despite the fact that it was thought that he might be a greater victim of degradation, managed to follow the pace of his teammate until he was asked to slow down to act as a “stopper” for the cars behind him, allowing Sainz to open a considerable gap.

It took a mistake from Logan Sargeant to disrupt the early rhythm of the race. Only the Red Bull duo and Valtteri Bottas stayed out for the first safety car, whilst a double-stack relegated Charles Leclerc down the order.

Sainz maintained the lead, whilst Verstappen and Perez gained positions – albeit on worn hards.

The two RB19 cars were significantly slower and were easily overtaken, with the chaos of the Safety Car restart seeing Leclerc lose out to Hamilton. 

Once again, a game of cat and mouse began as Carlos Sainz dictated the pace and looked after his tyres.

Ocon was forced to retire with a mechanical issue on lap 43, robbing the Frenchman of deserved points. This brought out a VSC which gave Mercedes an opportunity to exploit.

Russell, after leaving the pits with a gap of over 15 seconds between to Sainz was closing at roughly two seconds per lap.

On lap 57, Leclerc became easy prey for both Mercedes, who began their pursuit of victory.

With five laps to go, Russell caught Norris and seemed within touching distance of victory. These hopes were thwarted by Carlos Sainz, who, with great courage and intellect, took an unexpected risk.

The Spaniard voluntarily let Norris stay within 1 second to give the McLaren driver DRS.

It was the winning move. Russell tried desperately to find an opening but ultimately pushed too far – crashing out in Turn 7. Hamilton capitalised to claim third, but it was Sainz who executed a perfect defence to take the chequered flag in P1.

Ferrari

The Spaniard’s race was an exceptional mix of management, intelligence and obviously speed. Teammate Charles Leclerc will be eager to turn the page from a frustrating weekend.

Max Verstappen executed a very impressive comeback for Red Bull, albeit unable to finish on the podium. Gasly brings home points for Alpine despite a frustrating retirement for Ocon. Piastri drove very well to recover from qualifying to finish P7. He will receive the MCL60 updates in Suzuka.

In addition to Carlos Sainz’s exploit, it is worth highlighting Liam Lawson made headlines once again by claiming his first F1 points in P9.

Author: Luca Vanzini

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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