Managing his worn tires to perfection, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jr. hung on to win the Singapore GP over the McLaren of Lando Norris.
–by Mark Cipolloni–
Sainz led the entire race was from pole, but his #55 Ferrari was under pressure the entire way. The top three are separated by only 1.269 seconds!
To fight that hard for that long at the hottest, most physical race of the year – that really was an impressive showing from all three drivers.
“An incredible feeling, an incredible weekend,” said a happy Sainz Jr. “I want to thank everyone in Ferrari for this turnaround after a tricky start to the season, we brought home a P1 that I’m sure will make all the Italians happy today. Given our limitations with tire wear, I knew it would be a long [final] stint on hards. It worked to perfection, we gave Lando some DRS to help him and we got the P1. I felt under control to be honest, I had the head space to do what I wanted to do.”
Lando Norris’s McLaren was on the same worn tires as Sainz, but was able to hang onto 2nd place.
“Carlos was very generous, helping me get DRS,” said Norris.
“It helped my race, but it also helped his. We knew it would be tough when Mercedes boxed. I hit the wall on the last lap at the same place, so [Russell] just copied me, he just did it worse. No, I feel for him, he was the quickest out there today.”
On fresher and softer tires, the Mercedes were catching the two leaders by over 1-second a lap, but George Russell blew a third place finish by crashing into the barriers trying to pass Lando Norris and finished 16th.
Russell clipped the wall on the entry to Turn 10, and it looks like he possibly broke his suspension, as he just went straight on into the barriers from there.
That gave Lewis Hamilton the final podium position in his #44 Mercedes, who was right behind his teammate as they charged toward the front.
“Firstly, congratulations to Carlos and Lando, they did a great job today and their strategy worked,” said Hamilton.
“We rolled the dice, with different tires. The team did a great job to get us back up there. Extremely unfortunate for George, we were pushing so hard to catch these guys and our tires were so hot – but he’ll bounce back, he was phenomenal.”
Charles Leclerc just held off Max Verstappen for 4th by 0.264s in a great recovery drive from the Dutchman who at one time was almost dead last.
It ended Verstappen’s record consecutive race wins at 10 and the Red Bull’s team at 15.
Fifteen cars finished – Russell crashed out, Valterri Bottas and Esteban Ocon both pulled off with gearbox issues, and Yuki Tsunoda disappeared down the escape road on the opening lap with a puncture that he couldn’t nurse back to the pits.
Not feeling 100% and his car in shambles, Lance Stroll didn’t start the race after that big crash in qualifying.
One of the best races of the season so far? In the early stages, it looked like it might be a procession, but a Safety Car for Sargeant’s crash and a VSC for Ocon’s stricken Alpine threw in the variables, and livened up proceedings right to the exciting finish.
The Japanese GP is next weekend, and surely Red Bull won’t be anywhere near as off the pace as they were here, or will they be?
They expect to be in the mix at a track that has suited them in the past, but Verstappen won’t be able to wrap up the title there as he did last year as he didn’t score enough points today, but he did widen his point lead over his teammate Sergio Perez who came home 8th.
|1||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||+0.000s|
|2||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+0.812s|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||+1.269s|
|4||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+21.177s|
|5||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+21.441s|
|6||Pierre Gasly||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+38.441s|
|7||Oscar Piastri||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||+41.479s|
|8||Sergio Perez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+54.534s|
|9||Liam Lawson||NZL||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+65.918s|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||+72.116s|
|11||Alex Albon||THA||Williams Racing||+73.417s|
|12||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||+83.649s|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||MoneyGram Haas F1 Team||+86.201s|
|14||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+86.889s|
|15||Fernando Alonso||ESP||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant||+87.603s|
|DNF||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||62 laps|
|DNF||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake||55 laps|
|DNF||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||43 laps|
|DNF||Yuki Tsunoda||JPN||Scuderia AlphaTauri||2 laps|
|DNS||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant|