Ferrari wins the Singapore GP with Sainz’ clever strategy

Carlos Sainz celebrating his win with Ferrari, 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.

Ferrari is finally back on the highest step of the podium in Singapore with Carlos Sainz who delivers an incredible strategy on the track.

The Singapore GP has come and gone with an unexpected result. Ferrari with Carlos Sainz dominated the Marina Bay track the whole weekend. The Cavallino Rampante put an end to Red Bull’s consecutive wins streak. Featuring a risky-strategy. Here are the highlights of Ferrari’s race weekend.

Free Practice: A good start

Singapore is a challenging race with high temperatures and the layout of the track. Since the circuit has similar characteristics to Zandvoort, in aerodynamics, it was expected from Ferrari to have some problems here. However, on Friday they started to prove everyone wrong.

Starting from FP1, the Ferraris were the fastest on the track. Both Leclerc and Sainz showed good race pace in all three sectors. The Monégasque closed free practice session with a time of 1’33”350 and purple all round the circuit. Sainz had only a 0.078 gap to his teammate. Max Verstappen’s Red Bull was third with a gap of 0.125 from car 16.

Sainz and Leclerc were 1st and 2nd at the end of the second free practice as well. This time Sainz was the leader, followed by Leclerc and Russell. Again, Ferrari proved that they had the pace for a good qualifying and for the race. Even Fred Vasseur, the Team Principal, stated that this was the best Friday under his lead for the Scuderia so far.

The Saturday session of free practice wasn’t so different for the team of Maranello. The Sainz was the fastest once again and the Ferraris did good both during the short and the long run.  Leclerc faced a little bit of traffic during the last part pf the session and ended up fifth, at +0.316 behind the Spaniard.

All eyes are on the red cars for qualifying.

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Qualifying: Carlos Sainz takes his second pole position in a row

After Friday, Carlos Sainz said that Ferrari could be in the fight for the pole for the Singapore GP. The candidates for the pole positions, along the red cars, were the Mercedes, Norris and Alonso. Leclerc and Sainz prevailed in every qualifying session. They started Q1 with a fourth position for Sainz and a first for Leclerc. The fight was very tight with Russel and Verstappen, however Sainz came out on top. Since the track was getting better and better, every driver on the track tried another lap once again, unfortunately Lance Stroll goes against the barriers and the Q1 ends with a red flag.

During Q2, Ferrari was fighting with Alonso, Norris and the Mercedes for the first position. Lando Norris closed his first lap in 1’31″951, but Sainz took the lead 1’31″893; Leclerc is third right behind the McLaren. Alonso took pole provisionally, but Russell beat him. At the end is Carlos Sainz who marked the best time, closing with a 1’31″439. Leclerc was investigated for not respecting the yellow flag, but he was later acquitted.

In Q3 Sainz and Leclerc were on new soft tyres. Alonso’s best time was immediately beaten by Norris and then by Sainz. The Ferrari were 1-2 with the Spaniard marking a 1’30″984. Leclerc signed the best time in the third sector. Russell, however, beat him placing his Mercedes in second place.

Carlos Sainz had the pole position, the second in a row after Monza and his fifth in Ferrari. The Scuderia conquered its forth pole this season and the third pole in a row at the Singapore GP.

The Race: Sainz El Matador… and a clever one

Car 55 started at the front for the second race in a row at the Singapore GP. With behind him Russell and the other Ferrari with Charles Leclerc. With a good start Sainz kept the lead while Leclerc conquered the second place from the Mercedes. The Monégasque is the only one in the first positions to have soft tyres. Apparently, he was the one to ask them in order to defend his teammate’s position and to aim for a double podium.

After ten laps, the Spanish driver was leading the race. Leclerc’s engineer, asked him to slow down and build a gap from Sainz to protect the tyres.

At lap 19, Logan Sargeant went against the barrier causing a Safety Car for debris on the track from his broken front wing. The box called the cars to pit for hard tyres. While Sainz’s pit stop was great, the same cannot be said for Leclerc. The driver was in the traffic, so the mechanics had to wait a little bit longer to release him. The 16 ended up behind Russell and Norris.

After the restart, Russell overtook Verstappen, who was second since he didn’t pit yet. He started chasing Sainz whose pace was quite slow, so he could protect the tyres until the end of the race. Even when, Russell was in DRS zone, he wasn’t able to attack the Spaniard.

The Alpine of Esteban Ocon suffered a mechanical problem, causing a Virtual Safety Car. The Mercedes went for another pit and changed for mediums. At the restart, Russell and then Hamilton overtook Leclerc who ends up in fifth place. The Brits were quite fast and came close to Lando Norris. The hard tyres were finished for the Ferraris, so Sainz came up with a clever strategy to protect his first place. Sainz slowed down and kept Norris in his DRS zone to protect himself from the increasing speed of the two Mercedes on fresh tyres. Lando Norris defended from Russell until the very end when the Mercedes went against the wall and crashed.

Singapore is rosso corsa

Carlos Sainz won the Singapore GP 2023 after leading every single lap of the race. It’s the first win for Ferrari after a year and a half. This puts an end to Max Verstappen‘s wins in a row and to Red Bull’s chance to win every single race of the 2023 season.

The Inno di Mameli was played again in Singapore after three years, the last time was with Sebastian Vettel in 2019.

This was also Fred Vasseur’s first win as a Team Principal in Maranello. After the podium, he congratulated Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who finished 4th, for their work the whole weekend. Even the president of Ferrari John Elkann had some words for his team:

“We’re very happy for the victory. Congratulations to the whole team on the track and in Maranello, starting from Carlos Sainz who was fast the whole weekend”

Sainz is 5th in the Driver Championship with 142 points; Charles Leclerc is 6th with 123. Ferrari is 3rd in the teams standing with 265 points.

But, Suzuka is next and there is still some work to do for Ferrari.