Max Verstappen’s record-setting 10 Grands Prix winning streak and Oracle Red Bull Racing’s 14-race dominance of the Formula One field came to an end in the 2023 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, where Verstappen salvaged a fighting fifth during the most difficult race in recent memory for the team.
After struggling all weekend for grip in their cars and suffering a disastrous qualifying session that saw both Red Bull Racing cars miss Q3 for the first time in a number of years, the team worked tirelessly overnight to make changes that gave Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Pérez a fighting chance for the race.
Both drivers were closer to the front pace, with Verstappen running as high as second early in the race following the deployment of the Safety Car at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, but ultimately fifth for Verstappen and eight for Pérez was the end result as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz won from pole position from McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Although the race ended Verstappen’s new record win-streak at 10 races, the dominant driver of the 2023 season still managed to extend his points lead in the Drivers’ Championship over Pérez to 151 points ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on September 24.
Max Verstappen, Driver, Red Bull Racing
I think we did the best we could today. We had a good pace, and we were just unfortunate with the timing of the Safety Car. If it wasn’t for that, I really think that we would have been in a good place to fight up front. With the strategy today, it was really important not to make any mistakes. In the end, I was able to have some fun catching up on the mediums. For now, the target is to win next weekend in Japan. Everything needs to be perfect to win every race in a season, I knew this day would come and it’s absolutely fine. Everyone sees how dominant we can be, and they don’t realise how difficult it really is. We need to get a lot of things right.
Sergio Pérez, Driver, Red Bull Racing:
It was not a great day for us. It was as tough as we expected it to be. We struggled all race, and nothing really worked. The Safety Car came at the wrong time, and it was similar to the VSCs. It was just not our day. In the end, we were on a different strategy to everyone else, and that was the best we could do. I think we have plenty of things to investigate after this weekend and a lot to understand as a team. I think the issues were circuit-related, and we should be stronger next weekend. Let’s move on and look forward to Japan.
CHRISTIAN HORNER – CEO and Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
Firstly, congratulations to Ferrari. Carlos drove a great race and managed to hold on for the win. It certainly has been an exciting race today, but for us, we were very unlucky. The Safety Car could not have come at a worse time, and that killed any chance for us to get into contention. It was a shame, but there are also a lot of positives. Max’s pace at the end and then with Checo coming back through also made for a very strong performance. We knew that the run would come to an end at some point, and we reflected on the job well done by the team. 15 wins in a row is an incredible feat. 10 wins for Max is something that is equally remarkable. We carry a lot of momentum heading into Japan and look forward to getting out and going again.