Red Bull Racing’s F1 team wins World Constructors’ Championship in Japan
By Zafir Nagji, Contributor
For a record-shattering 15 races in a row, including the first 13 of this Formula One (F1) season, Red Bull Racing had put together an impressive streak of first-place finishes. So when the automotive circus known as F1 landed in Singapore for the 14th race of the 2023 season, fans expected Red Bull to continue their streak of dominance. There was even an expectation for Red Bull’s Sergio Perez to take home the top spot at Singapore’s Marina Bay Circuit — a feat he’s accomplished in his previous two visits to the track.
However, the racing team and its fans were in for a shocking result, as lead driver and two-time World Champion, Max Verstappen, qualified in 10th place (P10) ahead of the race, while his teammate Perez qualified 13th fastest (P13). The two drivers finished the Singapore Grand Prix in fifth and eighth place, respectively. Thus, snapping their win streak at 15 straight.
Verstappen, who entered Singapore on an unprecedented 10-race win streak, found it difficult to keep traction in his car, the RB19, as the extreme temperatures and humidity on the track caused his rear tires to overheat. This was also a problem for city-circuit specialist and teammate, Perez, who has historically been great at managing his tires. This left the race wide open for the other nine teams and 18 drivers — and produced an excellent Sunday of racing.
Ferrari’s F1 team secured their first win of the season — thanks to a first-place finish from Spaniard Carlos Sainz — moving them closer to Mercedes-AMG in the battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship. Their efforts have led to a hot streak that’s seen the Ferrari drivers make three podium appearances in the last four races, including an impressive and drama-filled third and fourth-place finish at their home grand prix in Monza, Italy.
McLaren’s Lando Norris finished second for the third time this season in his newly upgraded car, while seven-time Driver’s Champion Lewis Hamilton put his Mercedes-AMG across the line in third. Hamilton’s placement ended up saving Mercedes’ race after teammate George Russell put his car into the barrier trying to chase down Norris for second place on the final lap.
The motorsport spectacle travelled to Japan next, where, in 2022, Verstappen sealed his first driver’s championship in the pouring rain. However, he had never led a single lap in dry conditions at the Japanese Grand Prix before.
So, when the forecast appeared clear, fans of dramatic races remained optimistic that the other teams could keep Red Bull at bay again. This was not the case, as Verstappen, cleverly nicknamed ‘The Flying Dutchman,’ topped all three practice sessions, qualified on pole and cruised his way to a win under the Japanese sun. Verstappen’s 13th win of the season also gave Red Bull Racing the 2023 Formula One World Constructors’ Championship— their second-consecutive title and sixth overall.
In Japan, McLaren celebrated another brilliant weekend as Norris started in third and crossed the line in second, while rookie pilot Oscar Piastri secured ‘Driver of the Day’ honours after qualifying first and securing third in the race. The Japanese Grand Prix was also the site of his first F1 podium finish.
Ferrari edged closer to Mercedes-AMG for second in the Constructors’ Championship standings, following a fourth-place finish from Sainz and sixth spot for Charles LeClerc.
Meanwhile, Hamilton and Russell, who battled each other at three separate points in the race and in the absence of team CEO Toto Wolff, finished fifth and seventh, respectively.
The last two races proved to be those of attrition, as Singapore ended with four retirements and Japan ended with five. Next up is the Qatar Grand Prix, a track which has only been run once before — during the 2021 season and was won by Lewis Hamilton.
The Qatar Grand Prix will take place at 11 a.m. MT on Sunday, Oct. 8.