Carlos Sainz, the Spaniard driving for Ferrari, showcased his unparalleled tactical acumen during a night race at the Marina Bay track. Sainz led all 62 laps of the race, flawlessly turning his pole position into his second F1 victory, outpacing his rivals by a marginal 0.812 seconds.
The intense finale saw Sainz successfully ward off fellow one-stop racer Norris, despite being on aged hard tyres. Simultaneously, he had Mercedes‘ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton hot on his trails, their vehicles being equipped with fresher medium tyres. The four racers were narrowed down to a thrilling close-knit race.
However, Sainz retained confidence despite the intense competition and the pressure it brought. He acknowledged this aspect of his race, “I felt under control, to be honest. I always felt like I had the headspace and the pace in hand to do whatever I wanted to do.” He added, shedding light on his emotions during the competition, “I’m not gonna lie, you’re under pressure and you obviously are very close to making any kind of mistake, but I felt under control.”
“I felt like I could manage well, and we brought it home. That was the best feeling you know,” Sainz openly expressed his pleasure over not just his victory, but also the execution of his strategy as he said, “I am over the moon right now.”
The win didn’t come without it’s fair share of difficulties, though. A safety car was called in after Logan Sargeant understeered into the Turn 8 wall on lap 19. Sainz confessed that this incident made his race pace more challenging, as he had to prolong his second stint.
His cautious approach was evident when Russell and Hamilton opted for a pit stop under a virtual safety car, a situation that came to pass when Esteban Ocon‘s Alpine failed. Sainz confided, “I knew it was going to be a long stint on hard.”
Sainz revealed his strategy to slow down Russell to deny him a safety car or a medium tyre advantage, which he stated worked perfectly. With the Mercedes pair having clear pace advantage in the final stages, Russell wasn’t successful in overtaking Norris and crashed on the ultimate lap, paving the way for Hamilton to secure the third spot.
Sainz proclaimed, “I had to keep George, I had to keep him slowing down to don’t give him a safety car or a medium tyre opportunity, and it worked to perfection.” He also highlighted also crucial team collaboration, sharing, “It was just quite tight at the end, but we gave Lando a bit of DRS to help him and then in the end, we made it to P1.”