Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on track during the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. Credit: Alamy
According to Ted Kravitz, not since Mercedes had such an impressive vehicle as the RB19 in 2015 was Red Bull in a race as “courteous” as the one in Singapore.
In a season in which Red Bull has gone from one race victory to another, with Max Verstappen often winning by double digits of a second over the nearest non-Red Bull driver, the team’s incredible streak came to an end in Singapore.
Due to complaints of rear-end grip and a sharp front end, neither Verstappen nor Sergio Pérez were able to enter the field at the front – and what a battle it was.
Red Bull was never seeking a podium in Singapore
While the Red Bull teammates finished at the bottom of the top ten, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, George Russell, and Lewis Hamilton generated the most thrilling contest for victory this season. If not from 2021.
The four drivers were separated by less than three seconds as Sainz caught Norris, not so Mercedes could attack him, but to give him DRS to stop the Brackley drivers.
The Ferrari driver crossed the finish line 0.8 seconds ahead of Norris, while Hamilton was half a second behind, while Russell dropped out of third place on the last lap.
It was a battle for the ages and one that reminded Formula 1 fans of the joy of the sport. Even Sky Sports pit lane reporter Kravitz was leaping up and down and cheering for the top four.
“It was just fun, wasn’t it? It was fun,” he said after the race Ted’s notebook,
“Okay, listen, the cynics among you may say that this is what occurs when Red Bull is not racing. But if only Red Bull wasn’t so dominant, they could get in there and we could do that every week.
“It’s not their fault. Of course, they’re dominant, and they’re going to be back in Japan… I mean they’re upset this weekend, Red Bull.
“After the race, Max said ‘We’ll let them have one and then we’ll come back to crush them’ – he didn’t say crush – at Suzuka where the vehicle is, we think it’ll be better. Is it? Will it be better? Do we know that? We’ll find out.”
F1 2023 title permutations: When can Max Verstappen win the world championship?
Revealed: F1 2023 World Championship standings without Red Bull
In a weekend in which Verstappen finished fifth and Pérez eighth, it was the first Grand Prix of the season in which not only did Red Bull not win but they did not even finish on the podium.
“Never before, except perhaps Mercedes, when they were dominant and they won such an awesome Singapore Grand Prix in 2014, 2015, has never been a vehicle so dominant in a season, this RB19 obliterating everyone in front of it, so Humble Grand Prix,” he added.
Aside from Red Bull, the Briton was a little puzzled as to why those battling Sainz for victory opted to join him in playing the strategic race management game rather than trying to pass the Spaniard and go as “fast” as possible.
“That started such an entertaining race where they were all going as slow as possible for the first stage and then for the final stage they were all going as fast as they could. And I still don’t quite understand it,” he said.
“It doesn’t come to my mind exactly straight away, but if someone had just gone out there and gone and gone as fast as they could on that first leg, would it have changed? Could they have gone further down the road?
“But it was just entertainment, right? It was great in the end.”
Although Verstappen continues to lead the drivers’ standings ahead of Sergio Perez, there is a new name in third place with Hamilton pipping Fernando Alonso by 10 points. Ferrari closed the gap on Mercedes to just 24 points in the Constructors’ Championship.
Read further: Singapore GP Driver Ratings: Carlos Sainz achieves perfection as F1 legend falters
The article ‘Never has a vehicle been so remarkable, this Red Bull RB19 obliterates everything before it, so humble’ first appeared on PlanetF1.com.