Sep 17, 2023 at 3:52 PM Update: 3 minutes ago
After a thrilling finish, Carlos Sainz won the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday. Max Verstappen crossed the line in fifth place after a catch-up race on the Marina Bay Street Circuit, ending his record series.
Sainz’s victory meant that Verstappen’s streak of ten races in a row has been broken. The Spaniard held his own in the final phase against the advancing Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, which also applied to Lando Norris. It came second. Russell crashed on the final lap, leaving Hamilton third.
Verstappen should have finished nine points ahead of Sergio Pérez to have a chance at his third world title next week in Japan, but he failed to do so. Pérez crossed the line in eighth.
It is the second victory in the career of Sainz, who won for the first time at Silverstone last year. Ferrari won for the first time this season. All races were won by Red Bull before this.
Ferrari’s strategic issue is resolved by safety car
In the opening phase the main question was whether Leclerc would sacrifice himself from second place. Sainz controlled the race at the front, but was also vulnerable to the strategy of competitors. Just as Leclerc started to listen to the team, the situation was sacrificed by the safety car. Logan Sargeant dove into the wall and left a lot of mess on the track.
At that moment, Verstappen had moved up to eighth place, after starting on the hard tires. Red Bull, like teammate Pérez, left him out, while the entire top dived in for new hard tires. Verstappen thus ended up in second place behind Sainz.
He got the field moving again and soon saw Verstappen disappear behind him. Russsell, Norris, Hamilton and eventually Lerclerc overtook the Dutchman on his old tires. Leclerc had to wait a long time in the pit lane and had fallen back in the pecking order.
Mercedes gambles with second pit stop
Sainz was able to dictate the pace at the front again and did so slowly, with Russell in tow. Behind that, the question was when the Red Bulls would stop. The field was still close together, so when Pérez and Verstappen finally dived in a lap later, they were almost at the back. From fifteenth place, the World Cup leader started his battle to get into the points, albeit on new mediums. Soon he starts overtaking cars again.
At the front it became a tire conservation race, with Sainz driving just fast enough to stay ahead of Russell. A virtual safety car for the stalled Esteban Ocon gave Mercedes the opportunity to try something different. It brought both cars in for new mediums. while Sainz, Norris and Leclerc continued.
The Mercedes drivers soon advanced, past Leclerc and on the tail of Norris. However, Sainz played it smart by always letting Norris within his DRS. Russell couldn’t attack like this and even crashed in his last ultimate attempt. Hamilton thus inherited third place, behind winner Sainz and Norris. Verstappen’s progress ended in fifth place.