Carlos Sainz led a tactical F1 Singapore GP to win and end Red Bull’s streak in a thrilling race from Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton.
It was a clean start from pole-sitter Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari in F1 Singapore GP at Marina Bay Circuit to lead the race from teammate Charles Leclerc who leapfrogged Mercedes’ George Russell on the soft compound to make it a 1-2 order.
Russell dropped behind teammate Lewis Hamilton who didn’t brake as such at Turn 1 and took the run-off to clear not just Russell but also McLaren’s Lando Norris. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso jumped to sixth from Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
Both cleared Haas’ Kevin Magnussen who dropped to eighth from teammate Nico Hulkenberg as Red Bull’s Max Verstappem moved up to 10th on the hard compound. There was a contact between teammate Sergio Perez and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda behind.
It led to a puncture for Tsunoda who was forced to retire with Perez seemingly having damage and running 13th while fending off McLaren’s Oscar Piastri. At the front, Sainz led comfortably from Leclerc as Hamilton gave the place to Russell for third.
Norris complained on the radio about getting his track position back as well which he got after the stewards noted the incident. Once it was noted, Hamilton seemingly gave fourth to the McLaren driver with the Mercedes driver dropping to fifth.
Alonso held sixth from Ocon as Verstappen cleared Magnussen and Hulkenberg in the Top 10, with Alpine’s Pierre Gasly just outside in 11th. It became a processional running as Sainz controlled the grand prix with one stop in mind.
Ferrari had to play a strategic game as they asked Leclerc to slow down as much behind Sainz. It was running calmly until the safety car was deployed to clear debris from Williams’ Logan Sargeant who hit the barrier head-on and drove back into the pits.
Sainz maintained his lead as Verstappen climbed up to second without stopping along with Perez who was fourth behind Russell as Norris was fifth with Leclerc dropping to sixth due to Ferrari having to hold him in the pits due to traffic.
Hamilton was seventh from Alonso, Ocon and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas in the Top 10. Replays showed a moment from the Spaniard while entering the pitlane where he crossed the white line and was eventually handed a 5s time penalty.
The re-start saw Sainz hold the lead of F1 Singapore GP but Verstappen came under pressure from Russell who cleared him for second. The Dutchman was third from Norris who cleared Perez as Hamilton passed Leclerc after a bit of wide moment.
The Monegasque came in hot and had to avoid the car ahead which allowed Hamilton to pass him who then cleared Perez in the same corner but went over the kerb, much to the disappointment of the Red Bull driver who wanted the place back.
But before he could do that, Leclerc also cleared Perez for sixth as Norris and Hamilton passed Verstappen for third and fourth. The Dutchman was also passed by Leclerc to drop to sixth from Perez, Alonso, Ocon and Magnussen in the Top 10.
The Dane had to fend off Gasly for numerous laps which included multiple offs. For the first one at Turn 7, he kept the place but Magnussen went wide at Turn 1 and again at Turn 7 which eventually allowed to take the final point with the Dane dropping back.
Just ahead of Gasly, Perez was holding the pack of Alonso and Ocon. The Spaniard tried a move on the Mexican but the Frenchman came at him as they went side-by-side for a couple of laps to take the place on the Aston Martin driver after a solid move.
Ocon then made a solid move on Perez to seventh with Alonso passing him eventually before the Mexican made his pit stop. With Verstappen pitting a lap after, it was Ocon in sixth from Alonso, Gasly, Piastri and AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson in the Top 10.
As things slowed, there was a Virtual Safety Car period to clear the car of Ocon who stopped at the pit exit. There was gamble from the Mercedes drivers as both Russell and Hamilton pitted for fresh set of medium tyres along with Alonso.
The two rejoined in fourth and fifth as a slow stop from Alonso dropped him to 15th. It was Sainz in the F1 Singapore GP lead from Norris, Leclerc, Russell and Hamilton. Gasly was up to sixth from Lawson, Hulkenberg and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu in the Top 10.
But Guanyu lost to Verstappen quickly for 10th as Alonso had an escape road moment where he dropped to last but managed to continue on. It was Sainz leading on ahead from Norris and Leclerc as both Russell and Hamilton started to reel them in.
Both of them caught Leclerc and cleared him with Russell and Hamilton moving up to third and fourth. Gasly stood sixth as Verstappen climbed up to seventh from Piastri, Lawson and Albon who passed both Guanyu and Hulkenberg to get to the final point.
Perez was 11th in the chase of the final point as there was a brief yellow flag for Bottas who stopped to retire. The Mexican was put under investigation for causing a collision against Albon while fighting for 10th towards the end of the race.
Perez managed to clear Lawson for ninth as the fight for the F1 Singapore GP was hot among Sainz, Norris, Russell and Hamilton closely bunched. The Spaniard managed it well eventually to secure the win after a tactical drive from pole.
Sainz ended Red Bull’s streak of wins as Norris was second from Hamilton after Russell crashed on the final lap to end outside the points. Leclerc was fourth as he fended off Verstappen on the flag after the Dutchman cut down 18s in the final few laps.
Gasly was fifth from Piastri with Perez in eighth ahead Lawson, who scored his first points in ninth from Magnussen in the Top 10. Albon had to be content with 11th from Guanyu, Hulkenberg, Sargeant and Alonso among the 15 finishers.
Russell was classified 16th even though he didn’t see the chequered flag. Replays showed Norris clipping the wall at Turn 6 which was hit by Russell too but the latter had his suspension getting damaged to hit the barrier. DNF: BOT, OCO, TSU.
UPDATE: The stewards have handed a 5s time penalty to Perez for causing a collision with Albon at the end of the F1 Singapore GP. The move was showed in the post-race show where the Mexican dived into the inside of the Thai in the left-hander.
They touched and Albon was sent straight on as he ended up 11th, while Perez was eighth. The penalty doesn’t change the results as the Mexican had enough gap to Lawson behind. In another investigation, Albon was cleared with no further action.
The Thai was alleged to have overtaken Perez while exiting the pits under VSC but there was no conclusive evidence of the Mexican’s actual position which resulted in no further action.
Here’s Albon VSC moment: https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/decision-document/2023%20Singapore%20Grand%20Prix%20-%20Decision%20-%20Car%2023%20-%20Alleged%20overtaking%20of%20Car%2011%20under%20VSC.pdf