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Kimi raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, crash, collide, collision

Singapore GP Preview: A race Verstappen has never won

Kimi raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, crash, collide, collision

Formula 1 leader Max Verstappen will have to win where he has never won before to continue his record run in Singapore this weekend, perhaps the place of his toughest challenge of the season to date.

Marina Bay is not one of the 23 circuits where Red Bull’s double world champion has stood on top of the podium and past performances give hope to rivals eager to end his domination.

Verstappen is on an unprecedented 10-race winning streak but last year finished seventh on the streets of Singapore while Mexican teammate Sergio Perez triumphed ahead of the two Ferrari drivers.

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“Singapore is probably going to be the most challenging weekend out of the upcoming races as the stakes are heightened on a street circuit and the field is usually very close, not to mention the heat and humidity,” said Verstappen.

“Last year we had a very unlucky weekend, hopefully this year it will go a bit better…” he added.

Perez can celebrate his 250th F1 start on Sunday by reducing Verstappen’s 145-point lead with eight rounds remaining at a circuit where passing is tricky, the walls are unforgiving and safety cars are frequently deployed. Qualifying is crucial and the weather reports also point to some rain.

Red Bull, winners of every race this year, can mathematically clinch the constructors’ crown if they finish one-two and Mercedes fail to score, a scenario that looks unlikely but not impossible.

“It’s a street circuit, it’s one of the toughest on the calendar. We saw last year how perilous it can be so we’ll just do our best to keep this momentum running,” said team boss Christian Horner.

Horner: One day we’re going to get beaten

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 03: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing and the Red Bull Racing team celebrate after the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 03, 2023 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

“There are so many elements — whether it’s reliability, luck, strategy, a pitstop, pace, weather. You’ve got to stay on top of your game. One day we’re going to get beaten, that’s inevitable. It’s just a question of when, and obviously we want to make the when as far away as we can,” added the Red Bull boss.

The Marina Bay Street Circuit has been shortened and modified due to ongoing construction work, reduced from 23 corners to 19 with a longer straight that will make a quicker lap and faster race.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was on pole at the previous round in Monza while teammate Charles Leclerc started on pole in Singapore last year and they could be Red Bull’s closest challengers.

“Like all street circuits, the driver can really make a big difference here,” said Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur.

“We have done plenty of preparation work in the simulator and now the key will be for Carlos and Charles to do as many laps as possible in free practice, to extract all the potential from the SF-23.”

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has won four times in Singapore and the team are hopeful of a good result.

Ahead of the action at Marina Bay, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. “The battle with our nearest competitors is incredibly close. It’s hard to predict just how the order will shake out each weekend. Nonetheless, we typically perform better on high downforce tracks, so we’re hopeful of a competitive showing.”

Aston Martin will also hope to challenge for the podium places. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)

verstappen champion Marina Bay Circuit, Marina Bay, Singapore.Thursday 14 September 2017.An aerial view of the Marina Bay Circuit as final preparations are made.World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Images ref: Digital Image _W6I6619

Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1 Stats & Facts by Reuters

  • Round 15 of the 22-race 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season
  • Lap distance: 4.940km. Total distance: 306.143km (62 laps)
  • 2022 pole position: Charles Leclerc (Monaco) Ferrari One minute 49.412 seconds
  • 2022 winner: Sergio Perez (Mexico) Red Bull
  • New, shorter layout for this year
  • Start time: 1200GMT (2000 local)
  • The bumpy track has been changed since last year, due to construction work, with the 23 corners reduced to 19 and lap times set to be some 10 seconds lower as average speeds rise.
  • The hot and humid night race is one of the season’s biggest physical challenges. Drivers can lose 3kg of weight during the race through sweating.
  • Sunday´s race is the 14th in Singapore since its debut in 2008.
  • Three current drivers have won there — Fernando Alonso (2008, 2010), Lewis Hamilton (2009, 2014, 2017, 2018) and Perez (2022).
  • Mercedes and Red Bull have won four times each, Ferrari three. Ferrari, in 2019, had the first one-two in Singapore.
  • Hamilton has been on pole four times. The race has been won from pole position on eight occasions.
  • The lowest winning grid position is 15th for Alonso in a now-notorious 2008 race in which Brazilian team mate Nelson Piquet crashed his Renault deliberately on team orders.
  • The safety car has been used in all 13 editions so far.

Wins, Pole Positions, Podiums & Fastest laps

  • Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has won the last 10 races, a record run.
  • The Dutch driver has won 12 of 14 races this season. He has 47 wins from 177 starts and is fifth on the all-time list. Alain Prost, with 51, is fourth.
  • Red Bull have won every race this year (Verstappen’s haul and two for Perez) and 15 in a row dating back to Abu Dhabi last year. They have also won 24 of the last 25.
  • Red Bull have had six one-two finishes in 2023, a team record.
  • No team has ever won every race in a season of more than 10 races.
  • Hamilton has a record 103 victories from 324 starts but has not won since Saudi Arabia in December 2021.
  • Aston Martin’s Alonso has 32 wins, most recently in Spain in 2013 with Ferrari, from a record 369 starts.
  • Hamilton has a record 104 poles.
  • Red Bull have been on pole 10 times this season. Leclerc took the top slot in Azerbaijan and Belgium, Hamilton in Hungary and Carlos Sainz in Italy. Verstappen has eight poles for 2023.
  • Six teams and 10 drivers have made a podium appearance this season: Red Bull, Alpine, Aston Martin, McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari. Verstappen has yet to finish below second.
  • Verstappen holds the record for most podiums in a season — 18 in 2021. He has been on the podium for the past 15 races.
  • Michael Schumacher is the only driver ever to have finished on the podium in every race of a season, in 2002.
  • Seven different drivers have taken fastest laps this season – Alonso, Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou, Verstappen (6), Perez (2), Hamilton (2), Mercedes’ George Russell and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.
  • Piastri’s fastest lap at Monza was the first of his F1 career.

Milestones

  • Perez will be starting his 250th grand prix, only the 11th driver to reach that number.
  • If Verstappen wins, it will be the 24th different circuit at which he has triumphed — one more than Schumacher managed. Only Hamilton has won at more tracks (31).

2023 f1 world championship standings after Italian GP verstappen leads after 14 rounds