The Singapore GP was one that Red Bull and their drivers will want to forget. For the rest of us it was a cracker of a race.
The action lasted right up to the last lap, with George Russel pushing a little too hard and ending up in the wall. His cries of frustration were heard around the track!
Singapore GP Qualifying
Carlos Sainz of Ferrari secured the pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix. This qualifying session had its share of incidents, notably Lance Stroll’s significant crash during Q1 and Max Verstappen’s elimination in Q2.
In Sunday’s race, Sainz will lead from the front, with George Russell from Mercedes and his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc close behind. The qualifying session, which spans one hour, occurs on Friday and comprises three segments. Q1 and Q2 eliminate five cars each before the final top 10 shootout in Q3.
Singapore GP – What went on with Max Verstappen and Red Bull?
Throughout the weekend at the Marina Bay circuit, Red Bull faced challenges, with both Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez failing to advance to Q3 during Saturday’s qualifying session.
Verstappen could only manage an 11th-place finish in his car, while his teammate Perez secured the 13th spot. Verstappen expressed that the changes made to the car after a reasonably good FP3 session ultimately disrupted his performance.
When asked by Sky F1 if the qualifying results were worse than expected, Verstappen responded, “Yes, for sure. I knew that securing pole position would be tough, but I didn’t anticipate this.”
He went on to explain that they had struggled throughout the weekend, saying, “I think FP3 was not too bad, but then we made some adjustments to the car for qualifying, which made it undrivable. The car was bottoming out excessively during braking, and whenever I tried to brake hard, my front wheels lost grip.”
He further described the difficulties he faced, stating, “So, as I said on the radio, it was just a challenging experience because even in low-speed corners, there was no speed and no traction. It was just really hard to drive.”
Never Rule Max Verstappen Out
Verstappen has previously overcome low starting positions to finish on the podium this season, as in Saudi Arabia, where he climbed from 15th to finish second. However, he acknowledged that he doesn’t have a competitive enough car to contend for a podium finish on Sunday.
“No, definitely not,” he responded when asked if he had hopes of reaching the podium in the Grand Prix. He explained that at this circuit, similar to Monaco, success heavily relies on qualifying performance, and it’s challenging for drivers to overtake due to low tire wear.
“So, it will be a long, challenging afternoon. Hopefully, there won’t be too many safety car incidents, and the race will be relatively short.”
Max Verstappen also Faced Potential Penalties
Verstappen also faces investigations for potential impeding infractions during the first two segments of qualifying. However, he downplayed the significance of any grid penalties, stating, “We’ll speak to the stewards.
Honestly, at this point, it was just so messy that it doesn’t matter if we start from P11, P15, or last. What’s more important is understanding why it went so poorly. That’s far more important than trying to score a few points this weekend.
As it happened, Max Verstappen escaped with a warning after Alpha Tauri failed to show up at the “impeding hearing.” This was the only bit of good news that Max had over the weekend.
Singapore GP Q1 Recap
As the session neared its conclusion, Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri posted the fastest time at 1 minute and 31.991 seconds, just one-tenth ahead of Sergio Perez in the Red Bull. However, the session was abruptly halted due to a severe accident involving Lance Stroll at the final corner. The crash resulted in the complete detachment of the left front wheel from his Aston Martin.
The first group of drivers to be eliminated included Valtteri Bottas from Alfa Romeo, Oscar Piastri from McLaren, Logan Sargeant from Williams, Zhou Guanyu from Alfa Romeo, and the fortunately uninjured Lance Stroll.
Singapore GP Q2 Recap
Sainz achieved the quickest lap time, clocking in at 1 minute and 31.439 seconds, which was three-tenths of a second faster than Russell’s time of 1 minute and 31.743 seconds.
Eliminated from contention at this stage was Red Bull’s Verstappen, who posted a lap time of 1 minute and 32.173 seconds. AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson secured his spot by surpassing Verstappen’s time on his final lap. Others who failed to advance included Pierre Gasly from Alpine, Perez, who spun at Turn 3, Alex Albon from Williams, and Tsunoda, who did not manage to set a lap time.
Singapore GP Q3 Recap
In the initial runs, Sainz took the lead with a time of 1 minute and 31.170 seconds, a quarter of a second faster than Leclerc.
During the final runs, Sainz managed to improve his time to 1 minute and 30.984 seconds, and Leclerc couldn’t surpass him, falling short by 0.079 seconds.
Russell secured the second spot by posting a time of 1 minute and 31.056 seconds, missing out on pole position by a mere 0.072 seconds.
Lando Norris from McLaren will start in the fourth position, followed by Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes, a noteworthy performance by Kevin Magnussen from Haas, Fernando Alonso from Aston Martin, Esteban Ocon from Alpine, Nico Hulkenberg from Haas, and Lawson.
Singapore GP Qualifying Results
|4||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||01:32.5||01:32.0||01:31.3||20|
|6||Kevin Magnussen||HAAS FERRARI||01:32.2||01:31.9||01:31.6||21|
|7||Fernando Alonso||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||01:32.6||01:31.8||01:31.6||17|
|8||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT||01:32.4||01:32.1||01:31.7||18|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||HAAS FERRARI||01:32.1||01:32.0||01:31.8||21|
|10||Liam Lawson||ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT||01:32.2||01:32.2||01:32.3||21|
|11||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||01:32.4||01:32.2||14|
|12||Pierre Gasly||ALPINE RENAULT||01:32.5||01:32.3||12|
|13||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||01:32.1||01:32.3||13|
|14||Alexander Albon||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||01:32.7||01:33.7||12|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT||01:32.0||DNF||10|
|16||Valtteri Bottas||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||01:32.8||9|
|17||Oscar Piastri||MCLAREN MERCEDES||01:32.9||9|
|18||Logan Sargeant||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||01:33.3||9|
|19||Zhou Guanyu||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||01:33.3||9|
|20||Lance Stroll||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||01:33.4||8|
Singapore GP Main Race
The race got off to a wild start, with Sainz leading the pack around to the grid. Leclerc made the most of his soft tires to move up to second; Hamilton was forced off the run and ended up alongside Russel – a position he had to give back to Russel and Norris.
After starting in 11th place, Max Verstappen briefly moved up the field to 2nd place (after most of the field pitted during the safety car period).
Max‘s unchanged tires ruined his race pace, and he was quickly overtaken and pushed back to 6th place. Max pitted in lap 40, which meant that he returned to the track in 16th place ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
In the meantime, Carlos Sainz was controlling the race pace from the front as he cleverly protected his tires. On lap 42, the order of the top 5 was.
- Carlos Sainz – 1st
- George Russel – 2nd (0.551 seconds)
- Lando Norris – 3rd (0.707 seconds)
- Lewis Hamilton – 4th (1.111 seconds)
- Charles Leclerc – 5th (1.715 seconds)
On lap 43 Esteban Ocon pulled over at the entrance to the pit lane. This resulted in a virtual safety car. The leaders were already past the pit lane, so they didn’t manage a quick tire change in the first lap.
On the next lap, Mercedes brought in George Russel and Lewis Hamilton and achieved a very fast stop. This brought the Mercedes back onto the track in clear air with a brand-new set of medium tires. Russel and Hamilton came back on track in 4th and 5th position.
Aston Martin tried the same thing with Fernando Alonso. Unfortunately, the pit stop was appallingly slow, and Fernando lost any potential benefit he may have wanted. Alonso ended up in 17th place by lap 49.
The Virtual Safety Car lasted until lap 46.
By lap 51, the top five positions were as follows.
- Carlos Sainz – 1st
- Lando Norris – 2nd (1.289 seconds)
- Charles Leclerc – 3rd (4.562 seconds)
- George Russel – 4th (2.783 seconds)
- Lewis Hamilton – 5th (2.786 seconds)
The two Mercedes drivers were charging forward on their new tires, but the Singapore circuit is notoriously difficult to overtake on.
On lap 53, George Russel passed Charles Leclerc to take 3rd place. On lap 54, Lewis Hamilton also passed Charles Leclerc, putting the Mercedes cars onto 3rd and 4th respectively.
By lap 59, the three cars following Carlos Sainz all had DRS available.
And then it all went South for George Russel, who went into the wall on the last lap.
The top three to cross the line were.
- Carlos Sainz 1st
- Lando Norris 2nd
- Lewis Hamilton 3rd
Singapore GP Race Results
There is no question that Mercedes were the strategy winner at the Singapore GP. However, it wasn’t enough for them to win the race.
|2||Lando Norris||MCLAREN MERCEDES||62||+0.812s||18|
|5||Max Verstappen||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||62||+21.441s||10|
|6||Pierre Gasly||ALPINE RENAULT||62||+38.441s||8|
|7||Oscar Piastri||MCLAREN MERCEDES||62||+41.479s||6|
|8||Sergio Perez||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||62||+54.534s||4|
|9||Liam Lawson||ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT||62||+65.918s||2|
|10||Kevin Magnussen||HAAS FERRARI||62||+72.116s||1|
|11||Alexander Albon||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||62||+73.417s||0|
|12||Zhou Guanyu||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||62||+83.649s||0|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||HAAS FERRARI||62||+86.201s||0|
|14||Logan Sargeant||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||62||+86.889s||0|
|15||Fernando Alonso||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||62||+87.603s||0|
|NC||Valtteri Bottas||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||51||DNF||0|
|NC||Esteban Ocon||ALPINE RENAULT||42||DNF||0|
|NC||Yuki Tsunoda||ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT||0||DNF||0|