Carlos Sainz converted pole position into a second career victory as the Spaniard held off the charge of Lando Norris and the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell – who crashed on the final lap – to take a well-earned win at the 2023 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix – the first non-Red Bull win of the season.
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Sainz kept a hold of the lead at the start but with Charles Leclerc having opted to start on the softs, as opposed to those around him on the mediums, the Monegasque was able to jump ahead of Russell for second place.
He then navigated a Safety Car – caused by Logan Sargeant crashing into the barrier – to keep a hold of the lead, as he later held off the challenge of Russell, Norris, and Hamilton.
But after Esteban Ocon – running in sixth at the time – stopped on track with a suspected gearbox issue, Mercedes used the Virtual Safety Car to stop their drivers for some new medium tyres, setting up a grandstand finish.
But despite Russell and Hamilton getting past Leclerc, they could not overtake Sainz and Norris, with the Spaniard gifting his former McLaren teammate some DRS in the closing stages to hold off the Silver Arrows pair and seal a second career win.
Russell’s hopes of a podium ended in the barrier at Turn 10 on the final lap as he looked to get past Norris for second, allowing the McLaren driver to take his third podium finish of the season, while Hamilton took third place.
Leclerc was able to hold off the fast-charging Max Verstappen for fourth at the end, with the Red Bull driver recovering from a difficult outing that at one stage saw him being overtaken by the leading drivers for the first time this season to take fifth.
Pierre Gasly was an impressive sixth for Alpine, while Oscar Piastri took seventh for McLaren. Sergio Perez ended up eighth – although he is being investigated for his part in a collision with Alex Albon.
Liam Lawson scored the first points of his short F1 career for AlphaTauri as he took ninth, ahead of the lead Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Alex Albon wound up 11th for Williams, ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu and the other Haas of Nico Hulkenberg.
Both Sargeant and Fernando Alonso had their fair share of incidents in the race as the latter had a five-second penalty, a slow pit stop, and went off track to finish last of the remaining runners behind the American rookie in 14th.
Russell’s crash at the end meant he, alongside Valtteri Bottas, Yuki Tsunoda – who sustained a puncture in the opening lap of the race – and Ocon did not finish the race.
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:
The 2023 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix was a great advert for Formula 1. I think that all the spectators, those at the track and those in front of their screens, must have been holding their breath right to the very end, seeing four drivers fighting for the honour of being the first to put an end to Red Bull’s dominance this season. Really well done to all four, but also to others in this race, not just the drivers, but those on the pit wall too, because they all helped to put on a great show with on-track duels and very intense tactical battles.
On the tyre side, I think the word that best describes the day is management. For almost the entire race, we saw drivers and teams managing their pace in order to be in the best possible shape, not just to achieve the goals they had set themselves but also to be ready to exploit any opportunity that might come along later. One example of this Is Leclerc’s decision to start on the Soft to try and immediately pass Russell in order to build a gap between the Mercedes and Sainz, out in the lead. Or with Mercedes, who had an additional set of new Medium tyres available for both drivers and made the most of the VSC to change strategy and therefore go on the attack right to the very end, challenging Sainz for the win.
From a technical point of view, the three compounds performed as expected in terms of degradation. The one-stop proved to be the quickest strategy, with the two-stop only working when the race was neutralised. The Hard and the Medium saw the most use, which was also what was expected, but the Soft, which is generally considered mainly as a qualifying compound, also showed it had a part to play in the first stint.
How the race was won from the tyre point of view:
Most drivers (13 of the 19) chose to start on the Medium compound, with the remaining six divided equally between the Soft and Hard. However, the Soft proved to be a tactically sound choice for Zhou in the Alfa Romeo, as the Chinese driver, starting from the pit lane, pitted immediately to try and run the entire race on the Hard. The Safety Car came out on lap 20, triggering a rush for the pit lane, with all the drivers who had started on the Medium coming in to switch to the Hard, while those who had started on the latter stayed out on track before making their only pit stop at around two-thirds race distance. Shortly after, on lap 44, another VSC produced another opportunity to mix things up. That is what the Mercedes pair did along with the Williams, coming in for Medium tyres, while Alonso and Magnussen pitted for Softs. In the closing stages of the race, the C4 proved to be very quick for both Hamilton and Russell, who rapidly closed on the leaders (Sainz and Norris) and for Verstappen and Perez, who used the extra pace to come from the back to finish in the points.
Of the three drivers who started on the Hard, Hamilton and Bottas finished higher than their grid position, two better for the English Mercedes driver and four for Alfa Romeo’s Finn. Magnussen, however, only made up one place because the two drivers ahead of him did not make it to the chequered flag.
No rest on the Formula 1 calendar, as next weekend it’s time for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka from 22 to 24 September. Tyres will be the C1 compound as the P Zero White hard, C2 as P Zero Yellow medium and C3 as P Zero Red soft to deal with the lateral and vertical loads the tyres are subjected to at this twisty track with a highly abrasive surface over its length of almost six kilometres.
2023 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix Race Results
|1.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||1:46:37.418||25||142|
|2.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+0.812s||18||97|
|3.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+1.269s||16||180|
|4.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+21.177s||12||123|
|5.||1||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||+21.441s||10||374|
|6.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Alpine F1 Team||+38.441s||8||45|
|7.||81||Oscar Piastri||Australia||McLaren Racing||+41.479s||6||42|
|8.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing||+59.534s||4||223|
|9.||40||Liam Lawson||New Zealand||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+65.918s||2||2|
|10.||20||Kevin Magnussen||Denmark||Haas F1 Team||+72.116s||1||3|
|11.||45||Alexander Albon||Thailand||Williams Racing||+73.417s||0||21|
|12.||24||Zhou Guanyu||China||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+83.649s||0||4|
|13.||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Germany||Haas F1 Team||+86.201s||0||9|
|14.||2||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+86.889s||0||0|
|15.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Aston Martin F1 Team||+87.603s||0||170|
|16.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||DNF||0||109|
|17.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||DNF||0||6|
|18.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||DNF||0||36|
|19.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||DNS||0||3|
|20.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||DNS||0||47|
2023 Constructor Standings
|1.||Red Bull Racing||860|
|2.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||409|
|5.||Aston Martin F1 Team||280|
|6.||Alpine F1 Team||120|
|8.||Alfa Romeo Racing||16|
|10.||Haas F1 Team||12|