This Is How It Should Be!

Sainz takes brilliant victory in stunning Singapore finish

17 September, Singapore – Carlos Sainz won the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Grand Prix 2023 for Ferrari in one of the most thrilling finishes the Marina Bay Street Circuit had ever seen in its 14 races to date.

The 29-year-old Spaniard sacrificed sheer pace for brilliant race-craft to hold off the attacks of British trio Lando Norris in his McLaren and Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in the closing stages of the 62-lap race.

“An incredible feeling, an incredible weekend,” said Sainz after taking the second win of his F1 career and Ferrari’s sixth Singapore success. “I always felt like I had the headspace and the pace in hand to do whatever I wanted to do.”

That included managing the early race pace with help from teammate Charles Leclerc, then responding to a Virtual Safety Car at two-thirds distance which allowed Mercedes to pit both drivers and try to exploit the faster Pirelli Medium tyres which they alone had in hand.

Using his own speed to help Norris profit from the DRS zones as the English driver defended against the Mercedes pair, Sainz controlled the last 10 laps brilliantly to win by just 0.812 of a second.

Norris’s own cause was helped by Russell’s last-lap crash that brought a wail of “No, no!” from the 25-year-old Englishman’s cockpit. “Carlos was very generous, trying to help me get DRS,” admitted Norris as he equalled his best-ever F1 result. “We did everything we needed to do and more, so super-happy.”

“This is how it should be!” beamed Hamilton, the four-time Singapore winner claiming the 196th podium of his 325-race career. “The team did an amazing job today.” Hamilton also claimed the extra point for fastest lap, a 1:35.867 for an average speed of 185.507 km/h.

The Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix’s record of a Safety Car intervention at every race continued when Logan Sargeant’s Williams hit the barrier at Turn 14 on lap 20, shedding pieces of carbon fibre as the American limped back to the pits.

The Virtual Safety Car was needed when a brilliant drive from Esteban Ocon ended with his Alpine stopped on track with a suspected gearbox problem. The team could take some comfort by an equally strong drive from Pierre Gasly, who fought back from elimination in the first qualifying segment to claim an outstanding sixth place.

That put him one behind Max Verstappen, the previously all-conquering Dutchman saying “It feels like driving on ice” as his ill-handling Red Bull struggled for grip despite its obvious race pace. His teammate Sergio Pérez was eighth, sandwiched between two of the three rookies in the field.

Oscar Piastri produced what McLaren boss Zak Brown called “an awesome drive” to come home seventh, while New Zealander Liam Lawson strengthened his case for a permanent race seat with his first points in ninth place in only his third outing as deputy for Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri. The final point went to Haas’s Singapore specialist Kevin Magnussen.

Sixteen of the 19 starters were classified, the field cut by one when Lance Stroll decided discretion was the better part of valour after his huge Saturday crash and the Canadian Aston Martin driver did not take part. On Singapore’s shortened layout the race finished on 1 hr 46 mins 37.418 secs, comfortably within the two-hour limit.

Frenchman Florian Latorre kept his head as he negotiated the Marina Bay Street Circuit’s barriers to claim his second straight win in Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, 7.2 secs ahead of China’s rival Kailuo Luo, closing out the weekend’s action-packed support races.

Earlier, in TSS The Super Series, there was also a double for Tanart Sathienthirakul, whose clean sweep of all sessions peaked in Sunday's thrilling second race two. Safely negotiating multiple safety car interventions, the 30-year-old Thai was 10.2 seconds ahead of rival Adrian D'Silva, with Lin Hao third.

Rounding off the electric entertainment programme that also saw performances by Kings of Leon, Madness, and Groove Armada at different zones of the Circuit Park earlier in the day, Robbie Williams performed to a crowd of 65,000 at the Zone 4 Padang stage after the chequered flag was waved. It was a memorable race weekend with over 80 hours of entertainment throughout the Circuit Park, including 139 artistes across 13 performance and DJ stages, as well as an array of activities to complement the race action.

Overall, the Marina Bay Street Circuit welcomed 264,108 fans to the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2023 over the thrilling race weekend.