Not since Mercedes in 2015 has a car as dominant as the RB19 been so “humbled” in a race as the Red Bull was in Singapore, according to Ted Kravitz.
In a season in which Red Bull have romped from one race win to another, Max Verstappen often winning by double figures of seconds over the nearest non-Red Bull driver, the team’s incredible run came to an end in Singapore.
Complaining of rear-end grip and a pointy front, neither Verstappen nor Sergio Perez were able to enter the fray at the front – and what a fight it was.
Red Bull were never in the hunt for the podium in Singapore
While the Red Bull teammates ran near the bottom of the top ten, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton put on the most thrilling battle for the win seen this season. If not since 2021.
The four drivers were separated by less than three seconds as Sainz held up Norris, not so that Mercedes could attack him, rather it was to give him DRS to hold off the Brackley drivers.
The Ferrari driver crossed the finish line 0.8s ahead of Norris with Hamilton half a second further back while Russell crashed out of third place on the very 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 jumping up and down and shouting encouragement to the top four.
“It was just fun, wasn’t it? It was fun,” he said in his post-race Ted’s Notebook.
“All right, listen, cynics amongst you can say that’s what happens when Red Bull aren’t at the races. But if only Red Bull weren’t so dominant, then they could be in that and we could be doing that every week.
“It’s not their fault. Of course, they’re dominant, and they’re going to come back in Japan… I mean they are annoyed this weekend, Red Bull.
“After the race, Max said ‘we’ll let them have one and then we’re going to be back to crush them’ – he didn’t say crushing – in Suzuka where the car is we think going to be better. Is it? Is it gonna be better? Do we know that? We will find out.”
On a weekend in which Verstappen finished fifth and Perez eighth, it was the first grand prix of the season in which not only didn’t Red Bull win but they didn’t even feature on the podium.
“Never before, maybe with the exception of Mercedes when they were dominant and they had such a terrible Singapore Grand Prix in 2014, 2015, never has a car so dominant in a season, this RB19 wiping all before it, been so humbled in a grand prix,” he added.
Red Bull aside, the Briton was a bit perplexed as to why those fighting Sainz for the win opted to join him in playing a tactical race management game rather than trying to pass the Spaniard and go as “fast” as possible.
“It led to such an entertaining race when they were all going as slow as possible in the first stint and then all going as quickly as they could for the final stint. And I still can’t quite understand it,” he said.
“I haven’t got it quite straight in my head but if somebody had just pulled through and gone away and gone as fast as they could in that first stint, might it have changed? Might they’ve got further up the road?
“But it was just entertaining, wasn’t it? It was great at the end.”
Although Verstappen continues to lead the Drivers’ standings ahead of Sergio Perez, there’s a new name in third place with Hamilton leapfrogging Fernando Alonso by 10 points. Ferrari closed the gap to Mercedes to just 24 points in the Constructors’ Championship.