Feature

5 Winners and 5 Losers from Singapore – Who impressed under the lights at Marina Bay?

F1 Correspondent & Presenter

Lawrence Barretto
Share
Winners Singapore 2023.jpg

After a steady start, the Singapore Grand Prix roared into life with four cars fighting for the win in the closing stages to set up a grandstand finish. There was joy if you were dressed in red or papaya – but fewer smiles elsewhere in the pit lane. We’ve picked out five winners and five losers from Marina Bay…

Winner: Carlos Sainz

This was Carlos Sainz’s most complete weekend in Formula 1, the Spaniard having the edge on team mate Charles Leclerc throughout practice before delivering a scintillating lap to take back-to-back pole positions for the first time in his career.

On race day, he controlled the Grand Prix from start to finish, intelligently managing his tyres in the early phase and then cleverly dropping back in the final few laps to allow former team mate Lando Norris to get DRS, which in turn provided a buffer to the faster Mercedes cars of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

READ MORE: Sainz credits key ‘Carlando’ moment for preventing him being 'dead meat' on his way to Singapore victory

It delivered his second career win, Ferrari’s first of the season – as they ended Red Bull’s record streak of 15 consecutive wins – and his second successive podium, having failed to reach the rostrum previously this season.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17: Race winner Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari celebrates with

Ferrari's celebrations went long into the night after their sensational victory

Losers: Red Bull

The perfect season is over for Red Bull as they tasted defeat for the first time all year. Neither Red Bull driver reached Q3 for the first time since the 2018 Russian Grand Prix as the RB19 – which has been brilliant everywhere so far this year – struggled to adapt to the streets of Marina Bay.

On Sunday, it seemed like Red Bull had made some progress in understanding why they struggled so much, with Max Verstappen fighting his way up to fifth (ending his run of 10 straight wins stretching back to Baku in April) and Sergio Perez salvaging a few points in eighth.

READ MORE: Verstappen says Red Bull were ‘unlucky’ in Singapore Grand Prix as historic winning streaks come to an end

This was only the second time in the last 26 Grands Prix that Red Bull have failed to win – however there is immense confidence inside the team that the Singapore weekend was merely a blip and they’ll be back to their best in Japan.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing

Not to be for the Red Bull duo, as their winning streak ended

Winners: Ferrari

Ferrari have had plenty of critics in recent times as they’ve struggled for performance, both with strategy and operationally – but in Singapore, when their best chance of a win in 2023 presented itself, they didn’t make a single mistake.

They found a good set-up for both cars early doors on Friday, made progress and did not get lost with the direction they wanted to go as the weekend went on, and then delivered a clean strategy in the race under immense pressure.

It was their first victory since Leclerc won in Austria last summer and with the Monegasque driver finishing fourth, Ferrari have slashed the gap to Mercedes to 24 points in the fight for P2 in the constructors’ standings.

RACE START: Watch the getaway at the Singapore Grand Prix as Leclerc jumps Russell to give Ferrari early 1-2

2023 Singapore Grand Prix: The frantic final laps as Sainz battles to hold off Norris, Russell and Hamilton

Loser: George Russell

George Russell was heartbroken after he crashed on the final lap when fighting to snatch second from Lando Norris, the Briton arguably the fastest driver in the field on Sunday.

The Mercedes driver had started the race on the front row for the first time since Australia, 12 races ago – and took the risk late on to lose two positions with a stop for fresh medium tyres in the hope he could fight back to win.

He dispatched Leclerc with ease, but couldn’t find a way past Norris. He clipped the wall when in pursuit and skated off into the barriers for what was his second non-points finish in three Grands Prix.

READ MORE: ‘We were half a car’s length away from winning’ – Emotional Russell calls final lap Singapore crash ‘heartbreaking’

Winners: McLaren

McLaren’s relentless development rate shows no signs of abating as the British squad brought an upgrade package to the track one race early. There was only time to get one set ready – and Lando Norris made the most of it, securing his best-ever start in Singapore with fourth on the grid.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17: Second placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren

Norris absorbed all the pressure in the closing laps to hold on to a famous second place

He then drove an accomplished race, absorbing intense pressure from a significantly faster Russell – while also benefitting from the gift of DRS from his former team mate Sainz – to secure his third podium of the season, leaving him just one short of his best-ever season haul (four in 2021).

Norris’s team mate Oscar Piastri starred in the old-spec McLaren, recovering from a Q1 exit to climb 10 places to finish a superb seventh – his sixth top-10 finish of the year.

READ MORE: Norris thanks 'very generous' Sainz for DRS aid as he holds off both Mercedes to finish second in Singapore

Losers: Aston Martin

This was a weekend to forget for Aston Martin, who only started the Grand Prix with one car after Lance Stroll withdrew following a heavy crash in qualifying.

Fernando Alonso had one of his most uncompetitive weekends of the year, the Spaniard picking up a five-second time penalty for crossing the white line on pit entry before a slow stop dropped him way out of contention.

The ultimate pace of the car was very disappointing, which proved a surprise to the team as they thought the track characteristics would suit the car. The lack of points means they have lost more ground in the fight for P2 in the constructors’.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR23

Alonso failed to score for the first time this season in Singapore

Winner: Liam Lawson

Liam Lawson continued his fine start to life in Formula 1 as a super sub for Daniel Ricciardo with the first points finish of his career.

The New Zealander has now finished 13th, 11th and ninth in his first three F1 starts, with P9 making him the 350th driver to score points in a World Championship event.

It came after a strong performance in qualifying where he made Q3 for the first time, on a weekend where AlphaTauri brought a significant upgrade.

FACTS AND STATS: Red Bull’s run finally ended and Lawson takes maiden F1 points

Loser: Yuki Tsunoda

Nothing went right for Lawson’s team mate Yuki Tsunoda in Singapore – the Japanese driver looking quick enough to score a top-10 starting spot, before being baulked by a Red Bull and then making a small mistake on his only other run to exit qualifying in Q2.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17: Liam Lawson of New Zealand driving the (40) Scuderia

Lawson scored points in just his third ever race on Sunday

On race day, he made an impressive start – but after contact with Sergio Perez, through no fault of his own, he suffered significant damage to the car and was forced to retire. It means the Japanese racer has not completed a racing lap at the last two events.

Winner: Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen had his strongest weekend since Miami as the Dane secured sixth on the grid, only his second top-10 start of the year.

Even though Haas’s race pace is weaker than most in the field, Magnussen got his elbows out and hung on to score a point, matching his best finish of the season.

READ MORE: What the teams said – Race day in Singapore

It was a fine all-round performance from Magnussen, who has struggled to get the same consistency out of the VF-23 as team mate Nico Hulkenberg.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - SEPTEMBER 17: Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-23

A point for Magnussen was his first score since Miami

Loser: Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon had a birthday to forget on Sunday as all his hard work to get into the top 10 came to nothing when a gearbox issue brought his day to a sudden halt.

Before that, he had delivered a string of sensational overtakes, including one on his former team mate Alonso, and looked a strong contender for sixth before mechanical gremlins struck.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the best of the action as Sainz wins in Singapore and Russell crashes on the final lap

It was his second successive retirement and fourth in six Grands Prix. He now trails team mate Pierre Gasly, who finished sixth, by nine points in the drivers’ championship.

Share

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Coming Up

Coming Up

Podcast

F1 NATION: Can Leclerc’s Monaco masterclass ignite Ferrari’s title fight? It’s our Monaco GP Review