Photo: Ferrari

F1: Smart Sainz wins in Singapore as Russell crashes out

Tyre strategies at the start race saw Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, and Valtteri Bottas start on the hards, Charles Leclerc, Yuki Tsunoda, Oscar Piastri, and Guanyu Zhou on the softs, with everyone else on the mediums.

Russel didn’t get the greatest of starts, which saw Charles Leclerc already past him by turn one. Hamilton tried to around the outside of Russell at turn one, but he had to cut across turn two and would then stay side by side with Russel until he got past on the inside at turn five.

Tsunoda didn’t make it through the first lap.

Lewis Hamilton fell back to fifth as he let George Russell pass after gaining an advantage from cutting turn two, but it was clear that he had also gotten by Norris in fourth in the same manner, so he had to give up that position also.

In the opening laps, Max Verstappen was stuck behind Kevin Magnussen as there wasn’t a long enough straight at the circuit for him to take advantage of the Red Bull’s speed. He eventually got past the Haas driver into turn 14 to move up to eighth.

Over ten laps had gone in the race, and it looked like Ferrari was using Charles Leclerc to protect Carlos Sainz from George Russel who had the potential to undercut the Spaniard.

Logan Sargent understeered into the barrier at turn eight, which broke off the front wing of his Williams, as the American went straight on into the wall. He was able to drive the car back to the pits, but it looked like a scene from Back to the Future with Carbon fibre and sparks flying everywhere, which brought out the safety car.

This caused a flurry of activity in the pits with almost everyone coming into the pitlane, the two notable names that didn’t were Verstappen and Perez who jumped up to second and fourth.

Charles Leclerc got held up in the pitlane with a Ferrari double stacking, which was slowed down by Lewis Hamilton entering his pit box, which allowed Lando Norris and George Russell to jump Leclerc in the pitlane.

On Lap 23 Carlos Sainz lead the pack to the green lap with Max Verstappen now in second position.

At turn seven Norris had a failed attempt of overtaking Perez as he tried down the inside at turn seven, which caused Leclerc to try and stop before he hit Norris which caused the Ferrari driver to run wide, which allowed Hamilton past.

Norris finally breezed down the inside of Perez into turn 14 with Hamilton also trying to find his way through, but he was unable to as Perez held the inside line for turn 16.

On lap 27 Max Verstappen’s tyres were very second-hand as the Dutchman was unable to defend from Hamilton into turn seven, with Hamilton already past by the start of the breaking zone, Charles Leclerc then replicated the move a lap later dropping Verstappen to sixth.

Perez’s Hard Tyres were really at the end of their life after defending for many laps, with Esteban Ocon taking advantage of this having the inside line exiting turn seven, then performing the switch back into eight giving him the inside and traction to drive past Perez out of the exit of the corner.

Alonso then with ease on the same lap got Perez on the inside, on the breaks into turn 14 as he had better traction out of turn 13, which gave him the speed advantage on the straight to turn 14.

Over the next two laps, both Perez and Verstappen came in to switch to the medium tyres, as both driver’s tyres had completely fallen off so they needed to do something to try to find some pace.

Things got shaken up again as Esteban Ocon with an issue pulled off the road by the pit exit at turn two, which left the leading teams deciding if they needed to pit or not.

The virtual safety car came out, and the teams stayed out, with the only stoppers being Kevin Magnussen and Alex Albon switching to the Softs and the Mediums.

Then on lap 45, Mercedes went for it as both Russell and Hamilton came in to switch to mediums, which lost them two positions but left them on new tyres in clear air.

Disaster struck for Aston Martin as they also stopped, Fernando Alonso came in, but the teams were unable to get his front and rear right tyres on.

The VSC ended which created a battle of strategies as Leclerc, Norris, and Sainz stayed out to keep track position, and the Mercedes went for out pacing the cars ahead by two seconds a lap.

Both Mercedes had turned into rocket ships as they Russell was catching up with Sainz by 1.6 seconds a lap, which was setting this race up for a spectacular finish.

George Russel dispatched Charles Leclerc on lap 53 with Russell performing a switch back at turn 14, which gave him better traction out of the corner allowing him to pass on the straight before turn 16.

Lewis Hamilton had to wait just a little bit longer as he went side by side with Leclerc into turn seven, with Hamilton outbreaking the man from Monaco to go around the outside.

Russell and Hamilton tried their best to get past Norris for multiple laps at the end of the race, but a very clever Carlos Sainz gave Lando Norris DRS from lap 59 to the end, which allowed him to fend off the Mercedes pair.

Carlos Sainz wins the Singapore Grand Prix in a masterful drive, with Lando Norris getting McLaren’s first podium in Singapore since 2012, and Lewis Hamilton finished the podium off after George Russel clipped the wall at turn ten and went straight into the wall after potentially looking like he would win.

Max Verstappen switching too the Mediums was closing in on Charles Leclerc, but it was too little too late as the two-time champion had to settle for fifth.

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