Carlos Sainz put his feet up and treated himself to a cold beer in the still humid night after his sweaty victory. Some Formula 1 fans asked themselves: Why isn't racing only in Singapore?
After the humiliating dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen, Ferrari's triumph in one of the most exciting races in a long time seemed like an accelerator of hope for two-, three- or even four-way battles for the world championship.
"We want more. It's the first right step," announced Ferrari team boss Frédéric Vasseur. "Ferrari enjoys, Formula 1 thanks. Maranello saves the season," wrote Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday. “Let the trumpets sound,” even “La Repubblica” said in view of a memorable race.
Verstappen series breaks
The premier class of motorsport is groaning under the dominance of Red Bull and Verstappen. The team won all 14 races up to the thriller in Singapore, with Verstappen winning ten of them in a row. For only the second time in the last 26 races, the winner was not Verstappen or Sergio Pérez.
The Dutch World Cup leader saved more points than expected in fifth place, while his Mexican teammate came eighth. "Their mysterious loss of form, however brief, shows how lively the season could have been without Red Bull's perfection," wrote the British newspaper Daily Mail.
Ferrari, McLaren with Singapore's second-placed Lando Norris, Mercedes with Singapore's third-placed Lewis Hamilton and the heartbroken George Russell, who retired in third place on the last lap - the fight for a race win hasn't been this exciting for a long time. How the 29-year-old Sainz achieved the second victory of his career and the first Ferrari victory in over 430 days commanded everyone's great respect.
“He showed a masterful performance,” praised team boss Frédéric Vasseur. “We did it perfectly,” emphasized Sainz, who could even afford to help his direct pursuer a little. Although not without self-interest. By letting his ex-teammate Norris catch up again and again, the McLaren driver was able to better defend himself against the racing Mercedes duo. An efficient service of friendship, which Norris also acknowledged with a “CarLando Podium” posting.
Next race in Suzuka
But what does the end of the Red Bull and Verstappen series mean now? The first answers will come quickly. The Formula 1 entourage travels from Singapore to Suzuka. A track like an alternative to the narrow Marina Bay Street Circuit with its many slow corners.
“We will be quick in Suzuka,” Verstappen already emphasized. A year ago he won in Japan by almost half a minute and was crowned world champion for the second time. Another triumph there is not possible this time, he cannot achieve the necessary 180 points lead over Pérez after the race with a maximum of 26 points up for grabs.
He leads the classification with a cushion of 151 points. And yet the end of the series in Singapore is perhaps nothing more than a snapshot under special track conditions and Japan is the beginning of a new series for Red Bull and Verstappen on their way to the title, which is now only possible at the race after next in Qatar. "How long the color change at the top of Formula 1 will last is questionable. Maybe only for this one race. But at least," wrote the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung".