Sainz Pulls of Big Brain Strategy To End Historic Red Bull Streak in Singapore

Carlos Sainz is now a two-time race winner. And while he was at it, he dramatically put an end to Red Bull’s dominant run. Someone had to! Ferrari fans will be glad it was the Smooth Operator! 

Turns out, when the Red Bulls don’t know what is up with their car, the others find it fairly easy to compete for the win. But even the Red Bulls’ worst day meant that Max Verstappen came in fifth! Despite a less-than-ideal Qualifying and a fairly slow start, the championship leader made up about 18 seconds in FIVE LAPS! Talk about mind-blowing. 

While things are looking better for the Scarlet Team and the Silver Arrows, Aston Martin’s fairytale run looks like it’s dying, as Lewis Hamilton is now ahead of Alonso in the Drivers’ Championship. 

Lights Out

A sense of excitement prevailed with Sainz on pole and neither of the Red Bulls in the Top 10. We started the race with 18 drivers and ended with 15. Stroll never reached the race, and Zhou began from the pitlane. 

As the lights went out, Sainz kept his lead. Leclerc jumped ahead of Russell to P2, took the spot, and moved to P3, albeit by going off track. While this was being figured out, Tsunoda pulled over due to a puncture caused by Perez, but not officially. 

Alonso and Ocon moved up a few slots in the midfield, while Max jumped up to P9 from P11. A man on a mission, Max aimed to climb as high and quickly as possible. Leclerc’s strategists appeared to have the opposite. They were on a mission to “sacrifice Leclerc.” George Russell’s words, not ours! On the other hand, Sainz slowed a bit too much for comfort but stayed out in front despite that. To shake things up, though, warnings for rain started coming in, and with them came the yellow flags. 

Track Tactics 

With the yellow flags came the first round of pit stops and chaos (thank you, Sargeant and Turn 8). Every driver pitted, but Bottas and the Red Bulls opted to stay out on their hard tyres. This meant that Verstappen snuck up to P2 and Perez in P4. Surprise, surprise!

Leclerc and Hamilton were caught in traffic and were pushed down to 6th and 7th, respectively. Sainz played the restart perfectly as Russell attacked Verstappen, and Norris looked to take Perez. They eventually succeeded as the Red Bulls struggled to maintain traction. 

Verstappen also drove a fairly lonely race in Singapore, just in 6th instead of 1st. Lap 38 brought us an exciting battle for 7th between Perez, Alonso, and Ocon. When the Red Bulls finally pitted, they rejoined in 15th and 17th. 

Ocon’s birthday didn’t go well, as the Frenchman had to pull over and stop at Turn 2 due to smoke coming from his car. This triggered the Virtual Safety Car and cleared the air for the pair of Mercedes drivers in 4th and 5th. With 17 laps left, the stage was set for a grand finish.  

Chequered Flag

The order was anything but set, though! Carlos cruised ahead (not so comfortably), and the Mercedes’ were making significant headway in their stride to catch the Ferraris and Lando. Come Lap 53, and they had cleared Leclerc. But it was the race leader's strategic plan - the first good strategy at Ferrari. He slowed to give Norris DRS but only to distract the Mercedes’ and keep it at bay. He succeeded at it, and all seemed like it would end as the lap started. But in a dramatic shift, Russell clipped the barrier on Turn 10 and went straight into the wall and out of the race. This brought Hamilton up to P3, Leclerc to P4, and Max to P5. Gasly ended P6 ahead of Piastri, Perez, Lawson, and Magnussen, making up the top 10. 

As this rollercoaster of a race weekend comes to an end, we can’t wait to see what Red Bull comes back with in Suzuka, and how our other teams can fight them. See you then.