Sainz sweats it out in Singapore for second career win (1)

Singapore Grand Prix 2023: Sainz sweats it out for second career win

September 17, 2023

After 14 straight Red Bull wins since the start, the 2023 Formula One season finally has a non-Red Bull race winner as Ferrari won the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.

It was pole-sitter Carlos Sainz who picked up his second career win, holding off the British duo of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton.

Pole sitter Carlos Sainz got the night race underway with his teammate close behind him in second place after getting a brilliant start to go past George Russell on the opening lap. With Lance Stroll not starting after this heavy-impact crash in qualifying, 19 cars soon became 18 as AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda retired by Lap 4 as a result of a puncture.

Championship leader Max Verstappen, who had a horrible Qualifying, was up to P8 after starting P11 as he got past Kevin Magnussen on Lap 7 at Turn 14. By lap 15, the order was still the same as Sainz led from his teammate Charles Leclerc, with Russell in P3 ahead of Lando Norris with Lewis Hamilton right on the gearbox of the McLaren driver. 

Williams’ Logan Sargeant hit the wall at Turn 8 on Lap 20, which brought out the Safety Car and saw Ferrari call in both their drivers, as did Mercedes. While Sainz managed to keep his lead, Verstappen moved up to P2 as he was one of the only drivers not to have pitted, having started on the hard compounds. The double stack from Ferrari saw Leclerc drop to P6, while Hamilton also dropped a place to P7.

The Safety Car ended on Lap 22 and, as racing resumed, Sainz led from Verstappen with Russell in P3 ahead of Sergio Pérez. Hamilton got Leclerc on Lap 23 as soon racing resumed, as Leclerc, trying to avoid an out-of-place Norris, went wide, which saw the Mercedes driver came up a space. Russell got Verstappen the same lap, and Norris got past the other Red Bull driver for P4. The Mexican lost another place the following lap to Hamilton as Norris picked off Verstappen for P3, going down the inside of the Dutchman at Turn 14. 

Things kept getting worse for Red Bull as Hamilton got by Verstappen for P4 on Lap 27, the Red Bull cars having begun to struggle on the worn-out hard compounds. Their champion lost another place to Leclerc the following lap.

By Lap 31, halfway through the race, Sainz led from Russell with Norris in P3 ahead of Hamilton and Leclerc. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon cheekily picked off a place from Fernando Alonso on Lap 37 as the Spaniard was looking to get past Pérez.

Verstappen came in for his stop on Lap 41, re-joining in P15, while his teammate re-joined in P18 after his stop. Ocon stopped his car on the inside of Turn 2 on Lap 43 as his gearbox gave out, which brought out the Virtual Safety Car. This saw Mercedes call in both their drivers as Aston Martin also called in Alonso, though a slow stop from the Aston Martin crew saw the Spaniard re-join in P14. Racing resumed on Lap 45 with Sainz, Norris and Leclerc in the top three positions, albeit under pressure from both the Mercedes cars that were now on fresher tyres. 

Verstappen was back into the points places by Lap 48 as he got by Zhou Guanyu for P10 and Nico Hülkenberg the following lap to move to P9. He kept moving up the grid as he breezed past Liam Lawson for P8 — the rookie driver had no answer for Verstappen’s pace.

Up ahead, Russell got Leclerc for P3 at Turn 14, with Leclerc dropping another place to Hamilton on Lap 54.

As the Silver Arrows charged up front, Verstappen continued his charge through the field as he picked off former teammate Pierre Gasly for P6 on Lap 58. Sainz held on to the lead of the race to the chequered flag and Norris somehow managed to fend off the Mercedes pair, who couldn’t get past even on much fresher tyres.

Russell ran straight into the barriers on the very final lap, which ended his race and saw Sainz lead from Norris and Hamilton, the veteran Brit inheriting a lucky podium.

With Leclerc in P4 ahead of Verstappen, Gasly, Piastri, Pérez, Lawson and Magnussen, it was Sainz’s second career win and also the first points finish for Lawson.

After a thrilling Singapore event, racing continues in Asia as we head to the iconic Suzuka circuit for the Japanese Grand Prix, where we could see the Constructors’ Title finally being decided. 

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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