Formula 1

Carlos Sainz’s Strategic Masterstroke at Singapore GP Thwarts Mercedes’ Victory Ambitions

In a stunning display of strategic racing, Carlos Sainz’s victory at the Singapore Grand Prix was heavily influenced by his decision to keep Lando Norris within DRS range. This tactic effectively curbed Mercedes’ chances of winning, as Sainz believed their overtaking would have led to a different outcome.

Key Takeaways:

  • Carlos Sainz’s victory in Singapore was significantly bolstered by ensuring Lando Norris remained within DRS range, effectively impeding the Mercedes team’s progress.
  • Ferrari Team Principal Fred Vasseur acknowledged that the critical DRS strategy was Sainz’s brainchild, underscoring the driver’s astute grasp of race dynamics.
  • Sainz was forthright about the risks of his strategy, noting that had Mercedes overtaken Norris, they likely would have surpassed him too.

Carlos Sainz’s triumph at the Singapore Grand Prix epitomizes a masterful blend of skill and strategy. Although Ferrari played a vital role in the race’s overall management, the ingenious decision to keep Norris within DRS range was solely Sainz’s. This tactic was crucial in restraining the Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.

Ferrari’s chief, Fred Vasseur, lauded Sainz’s sharp-witted decision, stating,

“It was the idea of Carlos. I don’t want to say it’s obvious, but he knew he was more at risk with Mercedes than with Norris. With Norris we had the same tyres, and almost the same pace from lap one. We were not really at risk with Norris except if we lost the tyres, so it was a clever move from Carlos to keep Norris into the DRS.”

Sainz expressed the inherent pressures of his strategy, saying,

“It’s always tricky because you always put yourself under extra pressure. You know that then you cannot have a lock-up and you cannot have a single mistake or a snap, because it means that then Lando’s going to have a chance to overtake you if he’s in DRS. So, at that point you decide to give him the DRS, hoping that’s going to be enough to keep the Mercs behind.”

He further commented on critical moments during the race, specifically laps 16-17, where he deliberately slowed down to keep Norris in DRS range. Sainz believed this not only safeguarded his lead but also solidified Norris’s P2 position. He firmly stated,

“If the Mercs would have passed Lando, I think they could have got past me pretty easily.”

Towards the race’s conclusion, Mercedes drivers exhibited remarkable performance, with Hamilton achieving his 196th career podium. However, it was George Russell’s misfortune of crashing out on the final lap that underscored the intensity of the race.

Sainz’s recent form has been impressive, particularly at Ferrari’s home race. Reflecting on his performance, he credited a pivotal meeting with his engineers during the summer break for significant improvements in his racing strategy and the SF-23 car.

Sainz shared,

“I just sat down with my engineers in the summer break, and we said: ‘okay, what can we do to start putting the whole weekend together, because clearly we have a lot of pace, we were doing some good things but we are never putting the whole thing together.’

“[We thought] let’s see what we can do to improve that and start having consistent performances in the second half, because the potential is clearly there this year.”

Vasseur remarked on Sainz’s increased confidence and readiness, highlighting his immediate impact from the first practice sessions, setting the stage for his qualifying success and eventual victory.

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