Ferrari, a Team Victory
The 2023 Singapore GP will go down in history for Ferrari, as they returned to victory after more than 12 months without a win and ended Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s record-breaking streak of consecutive wins. Carlos Sainz achieved the feat, but it was made possible by a flawless performance from all the men and women in red, who worked together in the same direction, putting the desire to finally break the drought of victories ahead of any personal interest. For this reason, Charles Leclerc deserves a mention, finishing “only” fourth after George Russell’s off-track excursion, despite starting from third place on the grid.
However, the final placement doesn’t do justice to Charles Leclerc’s work. Starting – the only one among all 19 drivers – on the red tires, Leclerc was crucial in the early stages of the race when he managed to overtake George Russell at the start, putting himself behind Carlos Sainz and protecting his teammate’s first position. In the unusual role of a “supporter,” the #16 Monegasque accepted all the decisions of his pit wall with a spirit of sacrifice, including the double pit stop during the Safety Car period, which, due to traffic in the pit lane, cost him a place on the podium.
Charles Leclerc’s “sacrifice”
“The strategy was normal,” Charles Leclerc commented to Sky Sport F1’s microphones after the race. “We had discussed it before the race. In the first stint, the situation was different because we had a better pace than Mercedes, so that was positive. I asked if anything could be changed, but in the end, we did very well as it was. Carlos is on the top step of the podium, and that’s what matters. Personally, I’m certainly disappointed because I would have liked to have a better result, especially because the pace was there. After the second stint, I aimed to bring the car home, but after Lewis and George passed me, I knew my race was over.”
No controversy from the #16 in red, who highlighted Carlos Sainz’s merits in this historic victory: “Positions lost in the pits? It certainly wasn’t the ideal situation for me because I found myself behind Carlos, but I don’t know if I consider it bad luck. It was also my turn to set a better lap yesterday, and Carlos was better; he deserves it completely. I knew it would go like this today, and my job was to protect Carlos, especially in the first stint. We did very well with excellent race management by the team. The performance was very positive, especially on a high-downforce track. Showing this kind of performance is important, especially after Zandvoort. I’m sorry not to be on the podium, but in the end, Ferrari won.” – the Monegasque concluded.