The Drought Ends
It took 14 months, precisely 434 days, but when it was time to return to victory, Ferrari did so in grand style. It’s not that one would say it was worth waiting all this time, but Carlos Sainz’s victory in Singapore is certainly not one to go unnoticed. With the overwhelming presence of Red Bull conspicuously absent from the Marina Bay scene, rival teams competed head-to-head in a showdown of unprecedented balance. Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes found themselves on equal footing in a direct three-way battle that was decided on the final lap.
Breaking Max Verstappen’s dominance was, therefore, the Prancing Horse, utilizing precisely those qualities that have often been regarded as the team’s weaknesses: the synergy between their two drivers, strategic prowess in the pit lane, and the ability to perform flawlessly under pressure. In this context, Sainz’s tactical acumen shone brightest. The Spaniard demonstrated a cool and analytical mindset when it mattered most. On his part, Leclerc accepted the challenging role of the luxury teammate, sacrificing his own chances at a probable podium for the team’s greater cause. Thus, Carlos Magno, as he’s been dubbed by La Repubblica, dominated the front pages of all the major Italian newspapers.
Carlos Sainz’s Cunning Win and Comparisons with the Past
“The beauty of such a victory can even heal the wounds of an entire year,” highlights Paolo Rossi on La Repubblica. “Carlos Sainz exults, the Ferrari pit box erupts in joy. In Singapore, the Red Bull dictatorship comes to an end, and it’s a red car that shatters the dominance, as it did in 1988 when the cannibals were McLaren. […] Maranello isn’t the only one celebrating, but also the rest of Formula 1, tired of witnessing Verstappen’s monologues […]. For a day, all the glory belongs to this 29-year-old guy with the boy-next-door looks, clean-cut and wholesome. But behind his exterior appearance lies a Machiavellian nature: […] Sainz became an additional strategist, an extra pit wall engineer, and “used” his rival Lando Norris, a lifelong friend, as an ally. […] A bygone era, a beautiful one, with genuine and unanimous applause for Sainz, who will remember this September as a time when he was an absolute protagonist.”
“An ordeal has ended, and perhaps another story has begun for Ferrari and its drivers,” writes Stefano Mancini on La Stampa. “He used technique and cunning, with a somewhat crazy strategy he invented on the spot: to help the enemy become a friend. It worked […]. An achievement that warmed the hearts of Ferrari fans, reminiscent of Gilles Villeneuve’s triumph in Spain in 1981 at the Jarama circuit. […] The first place holds a special value for Sainz, who arrived in Maranello in 2021 with the never-declared role of the second driver behind Leclerc, who was considered the chosen one and, in the best moments, had lifted the team high. To shake off this label, he needed a remarkable feat. He prepared for it, waited for it, and finally achieved it.”
“In a week, the Spanish driver has gone from an uncertain position to a possible lead role,” wrote Mauro Coppini in Corriere dello Sport. “Ferrari, as well as Mercedes, McLaren, and Williams, have suddenly found the key to victory. A revolution that seems to coincide with what we can refer to as the ‘second leg of the championship.’ The United States and Arab countries are part of it. […] If the Arab countries and the United States are the most interested, there’s nothing better than offering them a show suited to their interests and economic availability. […] ‘It was about time,’ exclaims Leo Turrini on QS. ‘[…] Carlos Sainz raced with the demeanor of a leader. The strategy of this Spaniard, at times even underestimated, was brilliant. […] When a driver is capable of such cunning, I think of figures like Lauda and Schumi. These are hefty comparisons, and I apologize to purists, but let’s give Carlos Sainz the credit he deserves.” – Corriere dello Sport concluded.