Formula 1 highlights from Singapore: Verstappen gets the wrong set-up – Sport

Max Verstappen

The number with the legend has always been too stupid for him. Max Verstappen only thinks from victory to victory, and now from defeat to victory: the winning streak was broken after ten races and he was not on the podium for the first time this season. A fifth place after an eleventh place on the grid isn’t really a disgrace. A little more luck with the tire change and the safety car phase and it would have been a podium again. But even so, the Dutchman continues to expand his lead in the World Cup standings. Only now he can’t claim his third title early until the race after next at the earliest.

What happened? The skiers would say: overgrown. The racing drivers call this: wrong set-up. Mind you: the car, not the driver. Believed too much in the simulation, the car was set too low. “Everything went against us,” said the Dutchman. Part of the maturation process. Whether the Red Bull team, which has so far been so superior, is actually in something of a crisis will become clear at the weekend in Suzuka.

Carlos Sainz Junior

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The weekend of Ferrari’s current number one in one word? Vamos! It’s more about the exclamation mark. Starting from pole position twice in a row, in a year of Red Bull dominance, is remarkable in itself, and at tracks as different as Monza and Singapore. The Spaniard, third in Italy and now first after a tactical masterstroke, admitted: “We knew that this would be our biggest chance of the year, we focused everything on that.”

A visibly relieved team boss Fred Vasseur climbed onto the podium, something bosses in Formula 1 team sport rarely do. But that shows how great the pressure was on the Scuderia. About as high as the leader had in the race when the Brits George Russell, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton alternately appeared in his rearview mirror. In the end, the top three were only separated by 1.2 seconds. Also a nice side effect of Red Bull’s cunning series. For Sainz, the fight continues: his strategic skills will now be in demand in the internal dispute with Charles Leclerc, who once again came in an unfortunate fourth place.

Sergio Perez

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“Better than nothing,” says Sergio Perez – and means his mediocre weekend and the jump from 13th place on the grid to eighth place in the race. He could just as well say that about Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko’s apology. In a humorous TV show, the Austrian had linked the Mexican’s fluctuating performance in a subordinate clause with a generalization about the supposed temperament of Latin Americans.

The statement spread to Mexico with a delay, and then the outrage escalated online. Even the World Automobile Association Fia, which has just started a campaign against online abuse, felt compelled to issue a warning to the Graz lawyer and hotelier. He apologized for the thoughtless statement. It was a mistake to put Perez’s lack of consistency in connection with his origins. He had previously sought a direct conversation with Perez: “I accepted this apology. I know Helmut very well. We have a very close relationship. That’s why I knew he didn’t mean it that way.”

Fernando Alonso

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Few drivers in Formula 1 are as concerned with their image as alpha males as Fernando Alonso. At 42, the only senior in the paddock, he could have celebrated his 100,000 kilometers of racing in the premier class halfway through the Grand Prix in Singapore. But he didn’t feel like doing that before, as if he had suspected that the night would be a disaster.

Not in the points for the first time this season, pushed out of third place in the overall standings by old rival Lewis Hamilton. Didn’t hit the pit entrance correctly, received a five-second penalty, then a jack got stuck, and later a spin on soft tires. A pretty used evening, 15th place, last at the finish: “Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.” It wasn’t Aston Martin’s weekend anyway. Lance Stroll had to miss the start of the race after crashing into the barriers at 220 km/h in qualifying.

Liam Lawson

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Thirteen-eleven-nine are Liam Lawson’s current lucky numbers. Daniel Riccardo’s broken hand in Zandvoort has given Formula 1 a new foot on the gas. The New Zealander has quickly acclimatized to the premier class, although not long ago his maturity was almost denied by the Red Bull talent promoters. The 21-year-old is a stroke of luck for bottom team Alpha Tauri, where every point is vital.

There were two in a complicated race, plus a strong tenth place in qualifying, with which he was able to knock Max Verstappen out of the top ten. It is questionable when Riccardo will return and whether the Australian will get another chance. Looking ahead, Lawson is the candidate for a cockpit next season. His maxim for racing fits in with this: “When you get a chance, you have to grab it with both hands. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.”

George Russell

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Formula 1 is an all-or-nothing sport, and the dramatic finish in Singapore is the best proof of the well-sounding thesis. At the beginning and at the end of the race, George Russell had one chance to take the lead. It didn’t work both times, and in the end it even went really wrong. In an effort to put Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris under pressure again on the last lap, the Brit touched the wall and then crashed into the safety barriers.

Half an hour later, tears were still streaming down the Brit’s face, another opportunity missed to challenge his teammate Lewis Hamilton’s claim to leadership at Mercedes. Instead, the record world champion gratefully took third place. “I feel like I’ve let everyone down,” the 25-year-old argued with himself, “that breaks my heart after what had been a great weekend up to that point. In the end, we were only half a car length away from victory.” But all he had left was nothingness.

Mick Schumacher

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Mick Schumacher on Alpine, why hasn’t anyone read the headline yet? Because the transfer a) is not confirmed, and b) it is not about the Renault sports brand Formula 1 team. The 24-year-old is running out of chances of cockpits in the premier class now that Alfa-Sauber has extended the contract with both drivers and the son of the record world champion is not an issue at Alpha Tauri.

It doesn’t look like Williams’ US investors want to get rid of their unsuccessful compatriot Logan Seargant. And another year as a Mercedes regular driver will hardly help Schumacher. He wants to drive, has to drive in order to recommend himself. He calls it his “Plan B”. The offer from the WEC Endurance World Championship, in which many prominent car brands are currently competing, comes at just the right time.


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