2023 Singapore Grand Prix Race Recap!

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The Singapore Grand Prix has a reputation for serving up healthy doses of chaos and drama over its 14 year history. And 2023’s edition certainly lived up to the hype.

It also showcased that bar Red Bull, the revisions to the technical regulations first put in place last year were effective, as we saw a race long scrap for the podium places between five drivers and three different teams.

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Before race prep could even begin properly, Aston Martin announced that Lance Stroll would not be taking part in Sunday’s race, as he could still feel the effects of his high-energy qualifying crash.

The remaining 19 drivers took to the grid to prepare for the main show itself - a 62 lap duel on our city streets. Or if you want to be more specific, 18, as Zhou Guan Yu started from the pit lane. 

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It was action packed from lights out. Leclerc started better than the second-placed Russell, passing him even before the drivers needed to brake for T1. Hamilton was another fast starter, managing to overtake Lando Norris before the first corner too. However, further progression was scuppered by Russell, who defended hard into T2. With nowhere to go, Lewis had to take to the escape road, eventually gaining, but then conceding, two places to both Russell and Norris.

Tsunoda and Perez made seemingly minor contact, which ended up causing enough damage to force the Japanese driver into retirement. Perez continued sans his left front wing endplate.

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As the race settled down, it was clear that the leading five cars had very similar pace. There were distinct groups of cars with similar pace, with the lone Aston fighting with the Alpines and Haas cars for most of the race.

A minor skirmish with the walls saw Logan Sargeant lose his front wing, showering much of the track with debris. This brought out the safety car, which ruined Ferrari’s hopes of a one-two. Sainz retained his lead, with Russell jumping Leclerc as a result of the team having to hold the Monégasque in his pit box for traffic reasons.

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And the finishing order looked set. There were battles throughout the field, and plenty of hard racing with no major contact. A Virtual Safety Car was deployed late on in the race as a result of Ocon’s Alpine grinding to a halt in T2.

Mercedes took this opportunity to stop for fresh mediums, sacrificing track position to ensure the German team would have superior rubber at the end of the race. Sainz knew this, and he pulled off a tactical masterpiece to fend off the Mercedes threat.

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Russell and Hamilton made quick work of the then-third placed Leclerc, and very quickly caught up to the back of the McLaren. Sainz knew that Norris had less pace than himself, and that Mercedes had a not-insignificant pace advantage.

In clear air, the Mercedes would pull away. To stop that from happening, Sainz maintained a one-second gap to Norris, allowing him to have DRS to fend off the Mercedes. Progress for the Mercedes duo came to a halt, with Russell even making a mistake on the last lap that led to his eventual retirement.

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Sainz won the race, with Norris in P2 and Hamilton inheriting P3 from Russell. Verstappen recovered well to finish P5. Impressive, considering his Red Bull never really showed front-running pace throughout the weekend. 

Another noteworthy driver is Singapore GP debutant Liam Lawson, scoring his first ever F1 points at a venue notorious for being challenging even for veteran drivers. 

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Despite the unusual lack of competitiveness, Red Bull are set to win their second constructor’s title in a row, with Max probably picking up his third driver’s championship well before the final race of the season. Let’s hope that the recently-introduced technical directives help to better level the playing field!

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Photo Credit: FIA/Singapore Grand Prix

Read More: Making Sense of a Chaotic Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying Session!

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