“Come on Fred, come on Ricky! Come on, my first Smoooooth operator at Ferrari”. Those were Carlos Sainz‘s first words over the radio as soon as he saw the chequered flag at the Singapore GP.
Red Bull’s unbeaten streak has come to an end. At last, another anthem has been played after a Sunday race and it was the Spanish one.
It seemed almost impossible to get Max Verstappen off the podium, but the Marina Bay track took the pace away from the Austrians.
The whole grid was aware that if the time came, they had to be there, but the only one who delivered was Sainz.
“Someone has to put an end to Red Bull’s streak”, he had previously said at Monza.
Rising to the challenge
He had been cooking it up all weekend. He was first, fastest, from free practice 2. No one has been able to beat him since, and no wonder why. He led every single lap, with no mistakes and consistency, exactly what a champion needs.
“It’s been amazing, thanks to all of Ferrari, their effort has been tremendous to turn around our start to the season,” he noted.
“We did everything we had to do. It was about improving our weaknesses and by stopping earlier than we thought, I slowed down a lot to not give George the chance.”
He brought out everything he had in him to celebrate, he stood on top of his car before jumping out to embrace his team members after a great race.
The level of difficulty of the challenge was very high, but Sainz was able to keep a cool head and meet his objectives.
“I felt I had the calm and the space to do what I wanted to do,” he added.
“You are under pressure, but I was in control at all times. I’m very happy.”
He is undoubtedly living one of the best moments of his career, if not the finest. He feels comfortable with the car and he is proving it on the track.
He has now been on the podium for two consecutive weekends, proving that he deserves it from the very first session.
“I think he has been driving very well all year,” said his manager, Carlos Orono.
“He understands the car better and it shows. He goes out on track on Friday and it comes naturally to him. He is more comfortable and you can feel that on the track”.
His strategy on Sunday was of the highest standard. Even when the victory could have been in jeopardy, his pulse did not tremble.
The Mercedes were on the front after changing tyres and were able to overtake Charles Leclerc without any problems.
Before reaching Sainz, it was time to overtake Lando Norris and it was not going to be an easy task. The Briton defended like a lion against his compatriots, partly thanks to his former teammate.
“The DRS thing? Carlos. All of it,” said Marc Gene.
“It was brilliant. He said, ‘I want the GAP with Lando‘, it was all cold-blooded. Few drivers would have done that.”
Sainz and Norris know each other and understand each other perfectly from their time together at the Woking team. As if no time had passed, the Spaniard slowed his pace to give him DRS and they were able to maintain their respective positions.
“From our point of view, it was clear that Carlos suddenly got Lando back because he went off the track, so that’s why we clearly expected that he had to give the position back which he then had to do later on,” McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl said.
“But unfortunately, he did it in a clever way so that he could actually overtake Lando back straight away on the next straight so we couldn’t benefit from that.”
“It’s obviously not the idea of giving a position back but let’s see. We need to analyse again in detail, speak with Lando as well what he thinks about it.
“I would say as long as the rules are what they are I have to say hat off to Carlos, he did it in a clever way.”