If you weren’t watching the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, what were you doing? Read Brig’s latest recap to get all the details on the best race of the season so far.
Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix recap (September 1 to 3)
We apologise for the missed recap on the Italian Formula 1 Grand Prix but life gets in the way of even the most dedicated journalists. There’s not much to report but it was a Redbull 1-2 once again, with Max Verstappen setting the record for most consecutive Grand Prix wins. It was a record previously held by Sebastian Vettel in 2013 with nine consecutive wins.
Verstappen’s win also meant that Redbull set the record for most consecutive Grand Prix wins for a constructor. The Italian Grand Prix was their 15th win in a row and dates all the way back to the final Formula 1 Grand Prix of the 2022 season.
Ferrari had a better weekend with Carlos Sainz Jr placing third and Charles Leclerc finishing just behind in fourth place.
Esteban Ocon did not finish the race and in fact, there was next to no live coverage of the Apline’s exit because of other fights further up the track.
Yuki Tsunoda did not start the race (once again) which continues the question of his future as an Alpha Tauri driver.
George Russel (Mercedes) and Oscar Piastri (McLaren) both received five-second time penalties for causing a collision.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Logan Sargent (Williams) also received five-second time penalties for causing a collision.
More details can be found at formula1.com.
Singapore Formula 1 qualifying
Qualifying day ended up being quite an interesting session. For the entire 2023 Formula 1 season, Redbull have dominated but unfortunately both Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen failed to make into Q3.
The results were made even more shocking when rookie driver, Liam Lawson, out-qualified both of them, starting the Grand Prix from 10th place. The Alpha Tauri driver from New Zealand is currently driving in Daniel Riccardo’s place, who is recovering from a wrist injury. The Aussie favourite hopes to be back in time for Qatar on the weekend of 6th-8th October but is currently operating on the side-lines in an engineering role.
Lance Stroll also crashed out in the first part of qualifying. The young Aston Martin driver lost control of his car on the final car, spinning the vehicle across the track.
The 110mph impact left the driver shaken, and though he was medically cleared to race in the Grand Prix, it was decided that he would not race on Sunday because of the psychical side effects he was still feeling and the extreme damage to his car from the shunt.
Who starts where: Formula 1 style
Carlos Sainz starts on pole, followed by George Russel and Charles Leclerc respectively. It set the scene for what ended up being a truly thrilling race. Lando Norris (McLaren) starts fourth, followed by Lewis Hamilton.
The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has not looked himself this weekend but only time will tell. The current champion, Max Verstappen, is down in 11th, and Sergio Perez is even further behind in 13th.
“Statistically we have no chance – but who believes in statistics?!”Redbull Team Principal Christian Horner, Formula1.com
Haas is off to better start than the last race, with both drivers starting in the top ten. A massive relief for the whole team, after one of their drivers, Kevin Maggussen, described Monza as their worst race ‘ever.’
Despite only having one driver starting the Grand Prix, Aston Martin look to be in a strong position. Fernando Alonso starts in seventh place and is currently holding the record for most race starts, making this weekend his 370th start.
Zhou Guanyu will be starting the race from the pit lane after opting for some last minute PU component (Polyurethane tyre material) changes.
The Marina Bay Street Circuit is one of the more difficult tracks to overtake on in Formula 1, so we’re in for a tumultuous race.
We get off to a semi-clean start with Sainz pulling out into the lead straight away. His teammate, Leclerc, gets past Russel, who’s under a lot of pressure from his Mercedes teammate. Hamilton misses the corner and takes the run off area which puts him ahead of Russel on the track.
“Is he gonna let me back past or?”George Russel, Mercedes team radio, Formula1.com
Lap one and the yellow flags are already out. Alpha Tauri driver, Yuki Tsunoda, has pulled over and is stationary behind the barriers so the green flag is waved. His car ground to a halt with a puncture due to Perez during the first lap.
This disappointing DNF comes at the worst possible time for the Japanese driver who is having to fight for his 2024 Formula 1 seat. Alpha Tauri have both seats available but three potential drivers, and Liam Lawson is putting on the fight of his life.
Hamilton has let his teammate past as well as Lando Norris, as the McLaren driver also lost a place to him going off the track, so the Mercedes driver avoids a penalty.
By lap six, many cars now have DRS available but few moves are being made because of the difficulty to overtake on this circuit.
Uh oh! Safety Car
The race is pretty uneventful with most cars keeping their pace and playing the long game.
However, Logan Sargent crashes out on lap 20. The Williams car just wouldn’t turn so Sargent had no choice but to go straight into the barriers.
Most of his front wing has ended up stuck under his car but he is slowly driving back to pits, leaving a trial behind him. It has not been a good season for the rookie driver and he has scored no points as well as not being able to match the performance of his teammate, Alex Albon.
The Aston Martin safety car comes out, and Sainz, Leclerc and Russel come. The Ferrari double stack works until Leclerc is forced to hold because of pit lane traffic. He loses places to both Russel and Norris but Sainza manages to stay out in front.
Neither of the Red Bulls pit but there’s an incident with Fernando Alonso. The Aston Martin driver tries to come into the pits, locks up and crosses the white line on track. He gets a five-second penalty from Race Control for failing to follow Race Directors instructions and crossing the line at pit entry.
The safety car comes in on lap 22, and it is still Sainz leading. Verstappen is second, followed by Russell, Perez, Norris and Leclerc. Hamilton follows closely in seventh with Alonso, Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Valteri Bottas (Alpha Romeo) making up the top ten.
The long game
After such a dominant season, both Red Bull cars are really struggling. Their fellow drivers pick them off, gaining place after place ahead of the current Driver and Constructor Championship leaders.
They just can’t keep their places and it’s constant battle for both Verstappen and Perez.
Sainz has been told to keep the pack bunched up which doesn’t help the rest of the drivers, finally a good strategy call from Ferrari! It’s looking to be a long, drawn out race, even with a safety car coming out.
Russel thinks he can go for the win and the pressure is on for Carlos Sainz. Lando Norris is gaining second after second on all sectors and Hamilton is also closing in. We’re going racing folks.
Fernado Alonso is fighting side by side with Sergio Perez who forces the Aton Martin driver wide. The Redbull driver loses momentum and Esteban Ocon opportunistically squeezes past! Let’s go, Estie bestie.
As the race continues, Perez loses grip and is overtaken by Ocon, Alonso and Pierre Gasly (Alpine). He pits on lap 40 and comes out dead last behind Sargent.
Lap 41 sees Verstappen finally pitting for the first time. He comes out ahead of his teammate but has still dropped down to 15th.
Ocon is driving amazingly, having a smashing birthday to boot but it all comes crashing down in lap 43. He’s been keeping Alonso behind him, staying in that 6th place, but has to retire with smoke pouring out of his car.
Hold your breath, it all comes down to the last laps
16 laps to go and the gaps are tight. Sainz still leading, Norris is 1.4 seconds behind and Leclerc is 2.6 seconds. It’s looking good for Ferrari. They can keep Leclerc as a buffer for Sainz to get a win, and even have the potential to go for 1-2.
Vertsappen is back in the points in eighth place by lap 51. Oscar Pisatri has also recovered massively from qualifying, fighting his way from 17th to seventh. Liam Lawson is in ninth and on track for a points finish as well as getting the first points for Alpha Tauri, all in his third ever Formula 1 race.
Lap 58 sees the race get even more tense as it is 1.1 seconds between Norris and Russel, and less than one second between Norris and the leader, Sainz, meaning the Mclaren driver has got DRS.
But wait! The Ferrari team radio crackles with the update on Norris but Sainz says it’s deliberate. He’s given Norris the opportunity in order to give them both a good chance against Russel and Hamilton. The Silver arrows are closing in. Norris defends hard against them both and loses DRS on Sainz. The risky move has paid off for the former teammates. Carlando is alive and well.
Hamilton is sticking hard to the back of Russel but Mercedes can’t afford for a team squabble to go wrong.
“George needs to pick up the pace if he can.”Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes Team radio, Formula1.com
Final lap; too close to call
For the first time this season , there will not be Red Bull on the podium. But which driver will finish where? The top four come screeching round the corner, Norris clips the wall, so does Russell but it’s disastrous for the Mercedes driver. He’s into the barriers and Hamilton sweeps into third place. Singapore finishes in spectacular fashion, with three different teams making up the top three.
Leclerc finishes fourth, Verstappen fifth, Gasly sixth, Piastri seventh and Perez brings up the rear end of Red Bull in eighth. Liam Lawson, the man of Alpha Tauri’s hour, gets his first points in ninth place, and Russel’s crash means Kevin Maggausen gets some much-needed points for the Haas team.
“An incredible feeling, an incredible weekend. I want to thank everyone in Ferrari for this turnaround after a tricky start to the season, we brought home a P1 that I’m sure will make all the Italians happy today. Given our limitations with tyre wear, I knew it would be a long [final] stint on hards. It worked to perfection, we gave Lando some DRS to help him and we got the P1. I felt under control to be honest, I had the head space to do what I wanted to do.”Carlos Sainz, Post-race interview, Formula 1.com
Tune in early morning for the Japanese Grand Prix on September 22 to 24.
Here’s the top ten and the current Championship standings.
Featured Image Credit: Formula 1