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F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz wins gripping race to break Red Bull streak

Ferrari driver fends off spirited challenges in tense finale to become the first non-Red Bull race winner of the F1 season

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz celebrates on the podium after winning the 2023 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz celebrates on the podium after winning the 2023 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix. (PHOTO: AFP)

SINGAPORE — Carlos Sainz became the sixth winner of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday (17 September), driving a supremely controlled race from pole to fend off all comers at the Marina Bay street circuit.

In doing so, the Ferrari driver became the first non-Red Bull Racing driver to win an F1 race this season, taking advantage of Red Bull's poor qualifying session on Saturday to finish 0.812 seconds ahead of McLaren's Lando Norris.

It turned into a tense finale for the 29-year-old Spaniard, as he - with a little help from Norris - just managed to keep away the two Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, both of whom took advantage of a safety car on lap 43 to fit fresh tyres and mount a fearsome challenge in the final laps.

"I always felt I had the headspace and felt I could manage well and we brought it home," he said after winning the second F1 race of his career.

"I want to thank everyone in Ferrari for a huge effort to turn things round, we did everything right. It was all about knowing our limitations managing the race, making sure I made it to target lap."

It was a heartbreaking end for Russell, who slammed into the barriers in the final lap. Hamilton, a four-time winner in Singapore, claimed third spot for Mercedes.

As for the Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez - who won all 14 previous F1 races this season between them - they had to settle for fifth and eighth respectively, after starting at 11th and 13th spots on the grid.

Verstappen, the two-time defending overall champion, also saw his record 10-race winning run come to an end, even though he tried valiantly all race to overtake the crowded pack ahead of him.

The Dutchman still looks set to claim the overall drivers' title in the next few races, as he extended his lead over Perez to 151 points.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz celebrates winning the 2023 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.
Ferrari's Carlos Sainz celebrates winning the 2023 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix. (PHOTO: AFP)

Over 260,000 fans attended race weekend

Race organisers announced earlier on Sunday that it welcomed 264,108 fans to the Singapore Grand Prix over the race weekend.

The closure of the Bay Grandstand as part of the redevelopment of The Float@Marina Bay led to a reduced attendance, compared to last year's record crowd of 302,000.

Six new grandstands - as well as additional walkabout tickets - were introduced to mitigate the loss of capacity, and these were all fully taken up due to very strong demand.

In a sign of continuing strong demand, the Super Early Bird tickets for next year’s race were already sold out, having gone on sale for only 72 hours.

Singapore Grand Prix results: 1 Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 2 Lando Norris (McLaren) 3 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 4 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 5 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 6 Pierre Gasly (Alpine) 7 Oscar Piastri (McLaren) 8 Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) 9 Liam Lawson (AlphaTauri) 10 Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 11 Alexander Albon (Williams) 12 Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) 13 Nico Hulkenburg (Haas) 14 Login Sargeant (Williams) 15 Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin). Did not finish: George Russell, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda, Lance Stroll.

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