Singapore Grand Prix talking points: Farewell to dreams of a perfect season
Another exciting race in the 2023 F1 season is in the books and it finally saw the dream of Red Bull achieving the perfect season come to a close.
But what else did we learn in Singapore? Let’s find out in the latest edition of F1 talking points.
No perfection for Red Bull
The dream is over. There will be no perfect season for Red Bull.
And somehow, I find myself actually disappointed at that prospect.
In no way am I a Red Bull fan, but as I’ve mentioned plenty of times in this column, part of me just really wanted to see it happen.
(Photo by Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
But of course it really wasn’t going to happen was it? There was no way one team could possibly win every single race in a season, particularly when a season is filled with as many races as we have now in the modern era.
It did seem fitting that the streak was broken by Ferrari. Back in 1988, the closest we have ever gotten to a perfect season previously, the only race not won by that years dominant McLaren was the Italian Grand Prix by Ferrari. So it was a perfect chance for history to repeat itself in Singapore.
Once again perfection will have to wait.
Sainz might be the smartest driver on the grid
In what turned out to be a hell of an entertaining race, Carlos Sainz proved not only his incredible skill on the track, but also his incredible intelligence on the track.
In the final laps it looked as though he would be caught and easily passed by the ever increasing Mercedes pair of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton on fresher tyres. As soon as they passed his teammate Charles Leclerc, it was only a matter of time.
But as soon as the two German cars reached the back of the McLaren of Lando Norris, smart Sainz kicked into gear. Slowing his pace to allow Norris DRS meant that he became harder to pass. And knowing that Norris didn’t have the pace to pass him, he was completely safe in the lead. Pure genius by the Spaniard.
And what made it even more incredible was this was his own doing, not a directive from his team.
Given how often we hear Sainz on the radio in a race bemoaning Ferrari strategy calls, perhaps this race was evidence that Ferrari should be allowing him to make choices much more than they clearly have in the past.
For their sake moving forward, it will help them greatly.
(Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Mercedes was right to gamble
Oh so close for Mercedes to claim the race win, and it certainly was a gamble for them to take a second stop to get onto some fresher rubber.
And although the win didn’t come, it certainly gave them a chance at it that probably wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
F1 is a sport filled with gambles, and sometimes throwing caution to the win is required to pull of a race win.
In a season that has been so clearly dominated by one team, a chance for a race victory is few and far between. Mercedes took this chance by the horns and it nearly paid off, albeit for an incredibly smart Spaniard and a bit of bad luck for George Russell.
Let’s hope some more smart moves will continue for the rest of the season in any other race that Red Bull find themselves vulnerable in.
Record watch comes to an end
Well it seems weird to have this section without much to talk about, but that in itself makes an interesting point.
Red Bull’s incredible win streak comes to an end at 15 races in a row, while Max Verstappen’s streak comes to an end with 10. No matter how you look at it, it’s an incredible achievement on both fronts.
However both the team and driver still have the opportunity to break the record for most wins in a season, with 7 rounds to go to easily claim both titles.
Verstappen only needs to win four of those races to break his own record he set last year, while Red Bull need to win six of those to break the record set by Mercedes in 2016.
So if you’re a fan of records, keep an eye out for those in the remaining races.
(Photo by Hasan Bratic/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Lawson is creating an AlphaTauri headache
A superb drive from Kiwi rookie Liam Lawson to ninth place gave him his first ever points in F1 and also made him the first ever driver to score his debut points at the Singapore Grand Prix.
And while it’s definitely cause for celebration for both Lawson and AlphaTauri, it does create a bit of an issue for the team.
Lawson of course is subbing for Daniel Ricciardo, who himself was brought in as a replacement for the struggling Nyck de Vries. With Lawson doing such a stellar job, just what do they do about Ricciardo once he is fit to return from his broken hand?
Of course we know Ricciardo will be put back in the car as soon as he able to, but it does seem slightly unfair to Lawson who has been doing a great job in that car since he made his debut in it two rounds ago.
It also adds further speculation around who will get the full time seat in 2024. Will it be Ricciardo or Lawson who takes the second seat at the team? Perhaps both will get a gig over Yuki Tsunoda? Or will neither get it and someone else completely new come in?
A lot of speculation will still remain over those seats no matter what, as the silly season really amps up in the latter stages of 2023.
This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here