Carlos Sainz won the Singapore Grand Prix. /AFP
The end of Red Bull and Verstappen’s supremacy: Carlos Sainz Jr., unbeatable on the Marina Bay urban layout, takes Ferrari’s first win of the season at this Sunday’s Singapore F1 Grand Prix, marking a record 10 consecutive victories for the Dutch driver and 15 years in a row. put an end to it. his team.
“It’s an incredible feeling. It’s been an incredible weekend. I’d like to thank Ferrari for all their efforts after a difficult start to the season!” said Britons Lando Norris (McLaren) and Lewis Hamilton ( He praised the Spanish driver who won the race ahead of Mercedes.
At the end of a difficult weekend for Red Bull, Verstappen, solid leader in the world championship, finished fifth ahead of teammate Sergio Perez (eighth).
“To win every race of the season, everything has to be perfect. We knew the day would come (when Red Bull wouldn’t win). Everyone was wondering how far we could dominate. “I look at it, but I don’t understand how difficult it is,” Verstappen said.
In the general classification, the Dutchman maintains a comfortable advantage of 151 points over second-placed Perez.
Sainz, who started from pole position, resisted Mercedes’ attacks until the end, especially in the final section. George Russell, who was second on the grid, and Hamilton, who was fifth at the start, took advantage of the appearance of the virtual safety car (after the Frenchman’s Alpine stopped on track) in the final third of the race. I tried my best. (obviously the victim of a technical issue).
Returning on medium tires, faster and cooler than Sainz’s hard tires, the German team’s goal was clear: to regain the lead of the race.
However, they did not count on the resistance of Norris, who was determined to hold on to his compatriots, but who also received help from Sainz.
The Spaniard voluntarily approached Norris to the point where he could use DRS (a rear wing that opens to gain top speed, but only activates if the delay between the car in front and the car in front is less than one second) and try to catch up. was allowed. Therefore, Mercedes is out of reach.
“Carlos was very generous,” Norris was grateful.
On the final lap Russell made a mistake and crashed into the wall, ending his race and forcing him to retire.
For the first time since 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix has appeared on the calendar, with safety cars being deployed at all races in the Asian country.
The 2023 Games could not escape from tradition. About a third of the way into the race, American Logan Sargent crashed into the wall at low speed, causing significant damage to his Williams’ front wing and bringing out the safety car.
Charles Leclerc, from Monaco, in the other Ferrari, finished fourth, with Verstappen and Frenchman Pierre Gasly in an Alpine sixth.
Prior to the Singapore Grand Prix, Red Bull had won each of the last 15 races held, and were in the process of regaining the team’s winning streak (11), which had been held by McLaren since 1988.
Verstappen has won 13 races since the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and in his previous GP he also set a new record of 10 consecutive wins following the Italian Grand Prix.
As a result of their dominance, this Sunday Red Bull have their first mathematical chance of winning a second consecutive constructors’ title. However, to achieve this they needed to have two drivers in the first two positions for the GP.
A possibility that Verstappen himself made less likely the day before: he was only 11th on the grid ahead of Perez (13th) – “You can’t overtake too much on this circuit and normally we have a pace advantage.” But that’s not going to happen here.” That’s not going to happen,” he predicted on Saturday.
The current double world champion has his sights set on next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. “I think we can stand up. We know how strong our car is and Suzuka will be a good track for us,” he said.
However, unlike last year when he was declared champion, Verstappen has no chance of achieving a third world title at Suzuka this season.