Formula 1: Verstappen’s Singapore curse: record series broken

Formula 1: Verstappen’s Singapore curse: record series broken

He still saves what could be saved. However, Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s winning streak is broken. Singapore delivers again: The night race turns into a thrilling showdown in the final laps.

Max Verstappen saved even more points than expected on the sweltering night in Singapore, but under the crashing fireworks in Marina Bay, the World Cup dominator had to watch the end of his winning streak in the Red Bull.

After a completely unsuccessful qualifying, the Formula 1 frontrunner did considerable damage limitation by finishing fifth in the night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday. But the chance of an early coronation next Sunday in Japan is gone.

Sainz with second career win

The first victory this year by a non-Red Bull driver was celebrated by Carlos Sainz in a Ferrari in a thrilling final phase. Like two weeks ago in Monza, the Spaniard had also secured pole, but this time he also secured the second victory of his career. It was the first success for the Scuderia since the Austrian race on July 10, 2022.

This time, Lando Norris in the McLaren came second ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes after his teammate George Russell crashed his car into the barriers on the last lap. Nico Hülkenberg missed the points in the Haas in 13th place, while World Championship runner-up Sergio Pérez came eighth.

This means Verstappen, who has never won in Singapore in his career, is now 151 points ahead of Pérez. Verstappen cannot achieve the necessary 180-point lead over Pérez after the upcoming race in Japan; he will only be able to complete the title hat-trick in Qatar at the earliest.

Stroll after crash spectators only

One place remained free at the start. Lance Stroll could only watch after his serious crash. He didn’t feel 100 percent and Aston Martin decided not to use the co-owner’s son despite approval from the FIA. The Chinese Guanyu Zhou also only started from the pits with the Alfa Romeo. After a minute’s silence for the victims of the earthquake in Morocco and the floods in Libya, the event began.

The feared chaos at the start on the narrow course with the first corner nearby did not materialize. Sainz confidently defended the fifth pole of his career, behind him his teammate Charles Leclerc also got away well from third position and passed Russell. Record champion Hamilton had to avoid the brightly painted avoidance passage and thus gained an advantage. He allowed Russell and Norris to overtake again in the McLaren – the impending penalty was off the table for the race stewards.

Verstappen also held himself harmless. After the disastrous qualification for Red Bull and missing the top ten with both cars for the first time in five years, the principle of a bit of hope, coupled with defiance, prevailed at the industry leader. The car with the technical identification RB 19 is top on practically all routes, except for Singapore, which doesn’t suit the car at all. Too many corners that are too slow and too tight. The aerodynamic superiority does not come into play on the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Red Bull won all 14 races this year, and the last non-Red Bull winner until Singapore was Russell. He won in Brazil on November 13, 2022. The season finale then went to Verstappen again. His last ten victories in a row are the sole record, ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s nine during his Red Bull days. In Singapore, after the qualifying failure in the race, all that was left was to limit the damage and the course somehow remains cursed for Verstappen.

Russell joins the gang

Sainz did his laps at the front. Followed by Leclerc, who was running with even softer and therefore even faster, but less durable tires. After Williams rookie Logan Sargeant wrecked his car and dragged parts around the track, the safety car had to come out. Verstappen decided against a pit stop, as did Pérez and Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo. Everyone else got new tires, but two thirds were still to go and Verstappen was suddenly in second place behind Sainz. But only for a short time. Defenseless, he had to let Russell go and a few others too.

When he had his tires changed again, Verstappen was passed through to 15th place. After a virtual safety car phase, he tried everything again and raced into the points in the exciting final phase. At the front, Sainz made it a perfect victory ahead of Norris and Hamilton – Russell hit the barrier on the last lap and even helped Verstappen to fifth place.

Source: Stern

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