Oracle Red Bull Racing's unbeaten 15-race Formula One winning run came to an abrupt end under night skies at the Singapore Grand Prix, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz taking his second F1 victory from pole position. A difficult weekend for Max Verstappen, who came to Singapore on a record 10-race winning streak, saw the reigning world champion finish fifth from 11th on the grid, while team-mate Sergio Pérez came home eighth after starting from 13th.
* 2023 is the 74th season of the F1 world championship
2. The Singapore GP in six pics
3. Lack of grip sees streak snapped
Verstappen had a hunch that Singapore – the only track that's been on the calendar for every season of his career where he's never won – would be a tricky test for a car that hadn't been beaten in 14 starts this season. That premonition proved prescient when he struggled to eighth place in Friday practice, the bumpy, twisty street circuit around Marina Bay seeing the RB19 unable to provide the grip its drivers coveted.
Qualifying was worse on Saturday, with the two-time reigning world champion bombing out in Q2 and left mired in 11th place. "The car was massively bottoming out in the braking zones, and every time I wanted to brake deep and hard, my front wheels were getting unloaded," he explained.
Verstappen didn’t have a lot of luck in the race; he started on the hardest compound Pirelli tires in a bid to wait as long as possible for his first pit stop and have fresher rubber for the run to the finish. Still, that plan went out the window on Lap 20 when the rest of the field pitted under a safety car caused by a crash for Logan Sargeant (Williams).
The Dutchman eventually pitted on Lap 40 of 62 and re-joined in 15th place on medium tires, and unleashed a ferocious turn of speed that saw him storm to fifth in the closing laps, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc denying him fourth on the line by just two-tenths of a second.
Pérez too made it back into the top 10 after his difficult qualifying, but eighth was quite the come-down after he won so emphatically from pole in Singapore and led every lap 12 months ago.
The Mexican started on hard tires like Verstappen but didn’t make the early inroads of his team-mate, swapping places with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri on numerous occasions in a spirited early dice.
He pitted on Lap 39 for medium tires from ninth place and began the last lap in the same position. He gained one further place when Mercedes driver George Russell crashed out of third while fighting for second place against Piastri's teammate Lando Norris, who equalled a career-best by finishing second.
4. Lawson sparkles under the lights
Liam Lawson shone in just his third F1 start, the Scuderia AlphaTauri stand-in staking his claim for a more permanent role in the future by finishing ninth, the team's best result so far this season.
On his first visit to Singapore, Lawson set up his Sunday with a starring role on Saturday, making Q3 and qualifying 10th after knocking Verstappen out by seven-thousandths of a second.
At a tough track in stifling heat and humidity, Lawson didn't blink and recovered strongly from being elbowed back down the field in the early laps to score two points as he deputizes for Daniel Ricciardo, who missed his third straight race after breaking his left hand in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix.
Team-mate Yuki Tsunoda had another luckless weekend after his car broke down before he even started in Italy a fortnight ago. Starting 15th after running off the road at Turn 14 in qualifying, the Japanese driver retired at the same spot on the first lap in the race with a right-rear puncture, which came when he made contact with Pérez in the early-corner skirmishes.
5. The number you need to know
250: Pérez's 250th F1 race makes him one of just 11 drivers in F1 history to achieve the milestone, while Checo is now just three races away from surpassing Italian Jarno Trulli to enter the top 10 for races started.
Join us and David Alorka as we look back out our incredible start to this Formula One season so far
9. Where to next, and what do I need to know?
Round 16 (Japan), September 22-24
Circuit name/location: Suzuka International Racing Course, Japan
Length/laps: 5.807km, 53 laps
Grands Prix held/debut: 32, 1987
Most successful driver: Michael Schumacher (six wins)
Most successful team: Ferrari, McLaren (seven wins apiece)
2022 podium: 1st: Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing), 2nd: Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing), 3rd: Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
10. Inside the wide world of Red Bull Motorsports
'Character-building' accurately describes Miguel Oliveira's 2023 to date; the Portuguese MotoGP star has had a rough run this season, his first riding for Aprilia in the premier class of the world championship.
The five-time MotoGP race-winner has been desperately unlucky this season. Twice, he's missed races with injuries after being wiped out by rival riders in the preceding Grand Prix, but the genial 28-year-old is one of the most thoughtful and pragmatic riders in the sport. He also has a new challenge in 2023 – parenthood – to keep him on his toes when he's off his bike.