SINGAPORE - Carlos Sainz started from pole for the fifth time in his career and capitalized on a poor qualifying effort by Red Bull Racing drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez to win the Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Sainz scored his second career Grand Prix victory in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, snapping Red Bull's 15-race win streak in the process. This is also the first win for Scuderia Ferrari since Charles Leclerc won the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
"It has been an incredible weekend right from the start," Sainz said. "The team deserves this win for the enormous work they have done both here and in Maranello and I’m proud to dedicate it to all of them and the tifosi."
Up front, Sainz got away cleanly and maintained the lead of the race through the first corner. His Ferrari teammate, Leclerc, was the only driver who elected to start on the softest tire compound.
Leclerc managed to pass George Russell and settled into second place. Just behind the pair of Ferraris, Lewis Hamilton got past both Lando Norris and Russell after running deep into the first corner.
However, because the move was completed outside of the track limits, Hamilton returned both positions to avoid receiving a penalty.
Further back in the field, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Red Bull’s Perez battled for position. Tsunoda’s race would end on the exit of Turn 14. After contact with Perez, Tsunoda suffered a puncture and brought out the first yellow flag.
Seventeen laps later, Williams Racing's Logan Sargeant understeered into the barrier and brought out the second yellow flag. The rookie American driver was able to limp his car back around to the pits for a wing change. However, race control decided to convert the yellow flag to a full safety car period.
Under the safety car, Sainz pitted from the lead, ditching his 20-lap old medium tires for a new set of the hardest tire compound. Crucially, Sainz emerged from the pits ahead of Verstappen, the first driver who chose the alternative strategy of starting on the hardest tire compound.
With Verstappen and Perez on much older tires, Sainz was able to maintain the lead while the pair of Red Bulls were left defenseless and quickly fell back through the field after the restart.
"We executed the weekend perfectly on my side and I think we managed the final thrilling part to perfection, giving Lando DRS and controlling the pace all race long," Sainz said. "Of course, pitting earlier meant we had to make our tires last for a longer stint and the final laps were on the limit, but I’m extremely happy we made it work.
"Tonight we celebrate, but from tomorrow we’ll start preparing Suzuka. Let’s keep it up."
Forty-three laps into the race, Esteban Ocon’s Alpine suffered a hydraulic failure, causing him to lose all drive and stop on track. This brought out the Virtual Safety Car.
Russell followed closely by Hamilton and dove into the pits, forfeiting track position in a late-race gamble. Following the restart, Russell quickly set the fastest lap of the race and both Mercedes began the mission of closing the gap of about 16 seconds to Sainz.
"We needed to take the risk, have a shot at trying to get past some of these guys and going for the win," Hamilton said.
By Lap 58, Mercedes caught up to Norris in second. Sainz said it surprised him a lot by how quickly the Mercedes drivers managed to overtake Leclerc and close the cap to Norris and himself.
The Ferrari driver strategically dropped back slightly to allow Norris to remain within a second of him. This decision allowed Norris to defend against the fast-charging Mercedes in the DRS zone.
"It was just quite tight at the end – but we gave Lando a bit of DRS to help him and in the end, we made it P1," Sainz said.
On the final lap, Russell crashed into the barrier, promoting Hamilton to the podium.
The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 2.
Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which helped determine their seeding during Week 24 of the 2023 GRID Ranking.
GRID Ranking Week 25 Formula 1 Drivers:
MOST RECENT FINISH
The next round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship will take place on Sunday, Sept. 24 at Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Full results from the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix can be found here: