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Singapore Grand Prix: Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz wins in a thriller, ending Red Bull’s winning streak.

Carlos Sainz won the Singapore Grand Prix for Ferrari, ending Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s winning streak.

Sainz led the race masterfully, while Verstappen battled back to sixth after starting 11th on a difficult weekend for Red Bull.

After George Russell crashed out of third position on the final lap, Sainz led McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton nose to tail across the finish line.

Russell and Hamilton gambled on a late pit stop for fresh tyres and surged back up to Sainz and Norris, but Russell’s late blunder prevented them from passing.

With a safety car, a virtual safety car, and some close racing through the field, it was a fitting finish to Verstappen’s all-time record of 10 consecutive triumphs.

Sainz’s second victory for Ferrari following last year’s British Grand Prix was the first time a Red Bull had failed to win since Russell won the season’s final race in Brazil.

How the Singapore Grand Prix played out
How did Ferrari manage it?
Ferrari had plainly entered the race intent to win, and had played every strategic trick in the book to achieve so, including sacrificing Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc in the process.

Leclerc was the only driver in the top ten on the grid to start on soft tyres, and it paid off as he passed Russell from the line to make it a Ferrari one-two in the first laps.

Sainz set the pace, as is normal for a leader in Singapore, while Ferrari ordered Leclerc to back up the rest of the field and give Sainz a five-second advantage.

Leclerc didn’t quite pull it off, staying within a second of Sainz for around 10 circuits before sliding back to about three seconds. However, he did considerably assist Sainz when a safety car was deployed on lap 20 after Logan Sargeant fractured his front wing by going wide into a wall and dragged debris across the track on his way back to the pits.

On that lap, Leclerc slowed the cars behind him, and Sainz was nine seconds ahead by the time he led the field into the pits at the end of the lap.

It worked perfectly for Sainz, who returned to the track in first place, but it left Leclerc susceptible, as he slid behind Russell, Norris, and Lewis Hamilton before returning to the race because Ferrari needed to hold him before releasing him from the pits as traffic passed by.

At the restart, Sainz was leading Verstappen, who had rocketed up the field by not stopping under the safety car, but the world champion’s old hard tyres exposed him and he quickly plummeted back down the field.

Russell, who was now sitting behind Sainz, made it obvious that he understood the Ferrari driver was limiting his pace, and that this was to prevent Mercedes from making another pit stop and deploying the fresh set of medium tyres that they had conserved for the race alone among the teams.

When Esteban Ocon’s Alpine stopped in the pit lane exit on lap 43, the virtual safety car was activated, and Mercedes pulled the trigger, bringing both Russell and Hamilton to a halt for fresh medium tyres.

Russell rejoined the race in fourth place, just over 15 seconds behind Leclerc, with Hamilton close behind in fifth.

Russell grabbed and overtook Leclerc on lap 54, then chased Norris and Sainz up front, with Hamilton right behind him and presumably faster.

The top four were nose to tail with five laps to go, and Sainz purposely slowed to give Norris the benefit of the DRS and make it more difficult for the Mercedes to pass him.

Russell got a run on Norris on lap 59, with three laps remaining, nearing Turn 16, the final chicane, but the McLaren driver managed to cut him off.

Russell never got close again, and there was late drama when he wrecked at Turn 10 on the penultimate lap, and Sainz led Norris and Hamilton to the line, separated by only 1.2 seconds.

Verstappen salvages a good result after a difficult weekend
Verstappen started the race on hard tyres, hoping to run a long first stint and overtake cars in front as they made pit stops.

He had climbed from 11th to eighth in a few laps before becoming caught up in a skirmish between Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.

Staying out propelled him to second place behind Sainz at the first caution, and he may have taken the lead had Leclerc not backed up the field.

But he quickly drifted back, and when he eventually stopped on lap 40 for new tyres, he was 15th.

But he remained patient, picking off slower cars in front of him on his fresher tyres, and by the final laps was putting pressure on Leclerc, but just ran out of time to pass.

Verstappen currently has a 151-point advantage over teammate Sergio Perez, which means he cannot win the title in Japan next weekend, since he would need to leave that race 180 points ahead, and only a maximum of 26 are available.

Hamilton’s third-place finish propels him into third place in the championship, 10 points ahead of Alonso, who had a difficult race in Singapore.


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