Formula 1

Carlos Sainz Jr. Clinches Thrilling Victory in the Singapore Grand Prix

4 Mins read
Carlos Sainz Jr. celebrates a highly tense race under the night lights of Singapore.

Carlos Sainz Jr. delivered a flawless performance, leading from the start to the finish line as he brilliantly secured his second Formula 1 victory of his career. The Marina Bay Street Circuit came alive under the night sky, with Sainz masterfully fending off his competitors, including former teammate Lando Norris.

Throughout the race, the Spaniard expertly controlled proceedings, even in the face of multiple safety car periods, both physical and virtual, that threatened to disrupt the order. Sainz strategically allowed Lando Norris to come within DRS range, managing to withstand late challenges from both Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers.

The turning point came with eighteen laps to go when a virtual safety car period allowed George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, both driving for Mercedes, to pit for a fresh set of medium tires. This set the stage for a thrilling showdown as the British duo relentlessly pushed to the limit.

In a dramatic twist, George Russell, in pursuit of victory, pushed just a bit too hard, brushing the wall with his right rear tire, resulting in a crash on the final lap. This unfortunate incident relieved both Norris and Sainz, while allowing Lewis Hamilton to secure the final podium spot.

Charles Leclerc made gains at the start of the race but lost positions during an early safety car period, held up by traffic in the pit lane. This setback cost him positions to both Russell and Norris. Nevertheless, the Monegasque driver successfully held off a late challenge from reigning champion Max Verstappen, securing a commendable fourth-place finish.

Max Verstappen, who started the race in eleventh place, displayed an impressive recovery drive. Despite making early progress on hard tires, the safety car disrupted the team’s strategy, leaving Verstappen on worn rubber while others switched to fresh tires. After briefly tumbling to as low as fifteenth, Verstappen showcased his overtaking skills, ultimately recovering to fifth place. Unfortunately, this marked the end of his ten-race winning streak, making it a disappointing night for Oracle Red Bull Racing.

Oscar Piastri emerged as the standout performer, making a remarkable climb from seventeenth to seventh place, contributing to a highly successful day for the McLaren F1 Team. Another noteworthy performance came from Liam Lawson, who secured his first-ever Formula 1 points for Scuderia AlphaTauri, finishing in ninth place. Both drivers celebrated a memorable debut in the Singapore Grand Prix, making a significant impact in Formula One.

The Singapore Grand Prix lived up to its reputation as a challenging and unpredictable race, with Carlos Sainz Jr. emerging as the triumphant driver of the night, cementing his place among the top contenders in the Formula 1 championship standings.

155Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPFerrari1:46:37.418
24Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren+0.812s
344Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes+1.269s
416Charles LeclercMONFerrari+21.177s
51Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull+21.441s
610Pierre GaslyFRAAlpine+38.441s
781Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren+41.479s
811Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull+54.534s
940Liam LawsonNZLAlphaTauri+65.918s
1020Kevin MagnussenDENHaas+72.116
1123Alex AlbonTAIWilliams+73.417s
1224Zhou GuanyuCHIAlfa Romeo+83.649s
1327Niko HulkenbergGERHaas+86.201s
142Logan SargeantUSAWilliams+86.889s
1514Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin+87.603s
1663George RussellGBRMercedesDNF
1777Valtteri BottasFINAlfa RomeoDNF
1831Esteban OconFRAAlpineDNF
1922Yuki TsunodaJPNAlphaTauriDNF
2018Lance StrollCANAston MartinDNS
2023 F1 Singapore Grand Prix results

At lights out, on the medium tyres, it was polesitter Sainz who led into turn one, while teammate Charles Leclerc who opted for the soft set jumped from third to pass Russell. Lewis Hamilton caused a stir from the off when he ran wide at Turn 1, passing both Russell and Norris off the track. A lap later he swapped positions with both drivers and resumed racing in fifth position.

Yuki Tsunoda’s opening lap retirement made it two races in a row where the Japanese driver has failed to complete a single lap of racing. After clashing with Sergio Perez’ Red Bull he was able to find an escape road and park his car away from the race track.

In what was looking like an uneventful contest, Williams Racing driver Logan Sargeant added some spice to the race when he understeered into the wall on lap 20. Breaking his front wing in the process he was able to return to the pits, leaving debris on the track while dragging half a wing along under his car.

The pit wall turned into bedlam as all the medium and soft tyre runners rushed into the pits to change tyres as the safety car was brought out. Leader, Sainz pitted and maintained his lead, while Leclerc who had backed up the pack saw his positions slip away as he was held in the pits, in order to give him a safe release. He went from second, to fourth, losing places to Russell and Norris.

Max Verstappen, started in 11th place and made some early passes on the hard tyres, however the unfortunate timing of the safety car left him vulnerable on his used rubber. Reaching as high as second place, he fell down the order, with Russell becoming the first driver to overtake Verstappen all season. This was quickly followed by Norris, Hamilton and Leclerc in a matter of laps.

Sergio Perez, who on the same tyre strategy suffered the same fate as his teammate, by lap 37 he was under immense pressure from Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso. In the Spaniards attempt for seventh place he subsequently lost out to Esteban Ocon, who made a superb pass at Turn 11 and later Perez two laps later, making his way up to sixth.

On his birthday Ocon produced a promising outing but was forced to a halt on lap 43 with a suspected gearbox issue. With the car stopped on track, the virtual safety car slowed proceedings, giving both Mercedes drivers the opportunity to put on fresh medium tyres. In an expertly timed double stack, both Russell and Hamilton went from second to fourth respectively, rejoining in fourth and fifth, while the front runners stayed out on hards.

2023 Singapore Grand Prix, Sunday – LAT Images

As the lights went green again the Mercs were lapping two seconds quicker than the cars ahead. Leclerc became the first victim to the Mercedes duo, who steamrolled through the Scuderia Ferrari driver. First came Russell on lap 53, then Hamilton one later, with Norris six seconds up the road in second place.

That gap was carved apart, with the top four running nose to tail with just four laps to the checkered flag. Sainz slowed his pace to pull Norris within one second of him, which gave Hamilton the opportunity in fourth to push his teammate as he watched Russell fail to make it clear of the McLaren driver.

On the final lap George Russell curtailed into the barriers as he tapped the wall with his rear right tyre, ending his race in tears, while teammate Lewis Hamilton slotted into the final podium position.

In a season of Red Bull domination, the Singapore Grand Prix offered us a spectacle we have not seen this calendar year. A race defined by the closest of margins, strategy and team work at one of the most physically and mentally draining race tracks in Formula One. A race controlled, and won by a very smooth of operator.

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