2023 Singapore Grand Prix – Sunday
2023 Singapore Grand Prix – Sunday
A podium finish for the team after a dramatic evening in Singapore
After starting second and fifth respectively, George dropped a position to the fast-starting Ferrari of Leclerc with Lewis holding his grid spot after short-cutting turn two, then handing back places to George and Norris.
A controlled pace was set at the front as tyre management became a key focus to make the necessary first stint length.
That rhythm was broken by a Safety Car deployed on lap 20.
A double-stack pit stop saw George emerge in a net P2 with Lewis holding his net P5.
Soon after the restart, he made short work of Leclerc and joined a gaggle of four cars including George, leader Carlos Sainz, and Lando Norris.
A Virtual Safety Car on lap 43 gave the opportunity for a bold strategy call; both cars boxed for the medium tyre with the aim of clawing back the time lost to fight for victory in the closing stages.
It almost proved the winning strategy as both George and Lewis charged onto the back of the top-two; with three laps to go, George came close to passing the McLaren but ultimately couldn’t get the move done.
Pushing hard on the final lap, George clipped the wall and his race ended in retirement with Lewis moving up to the final podium spot in P3.
We rolled the dice this weekend and went with an offset tyre strategy. I felt like the race was a two-stop today and the team did an amazing job to get us back up there. Having to give back the two positions from the first corner was a shame, but I kept my head down and kept pushing. Overall this weekend, I haven’t felt fully comfortable with the car. Today it was in a better place though. If I had had that same feeling yesterday, I think I could have been fighting for the front-row. That may have changed my race today, but I’m still pleased to get on the podium. It was extremely unfortunate what happened to George. We were pushing so hard to catch the guys ahead and our tyres were so hot. He’s been phenomenal all weekend and I know he will bounce back. We’re now looking forward to Japan so let’s see what we can do there.
I am lost for words. I think we were half a car’s length away from winning the race today. If I was able to pass Lando (Norris), I am sure I would have been able to overtake Carlos (Sainz). Unfortunately I missed that opportunity. I made a mistake by one or two centimetres on that last lap, and I clipped the wall. It’s a mistake that has overshadowed my whole weekend. Up to that point, it had been a fantastic race weekend. The car felt great, and the team had done an incredible job. Our strategy was superb, and we were bold and aggressive. It was exciting out there and it’s heart-breaking to be standing here with zero points. Nevertheless, there are positives to take away. I will likely have a bad night tonight and even tomorrow morning. But I will put this behind me and come back stronger next weekend in Japan.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
Lewis had a brilliant race, and he did a super job to get on the podium. It was of course a shame for George at the end. It was one very small error after a strong weekend but that’s racing – he got it 99.99% right today. It was clear that it was going to be difficult to win the race if we followed everyone else’s strategy. We were aggressive and took the opportunity to put on the Medium tyre under the Virtual Safety Car. The data was robust, and we went for it. At the end, to get on the podium was great and we were very close to making it so much more than that. Overall, it feels that we are continuing to make progress with the W14. We’ve had a really quick car all weekend, so let’s see how we go in Suzuka. Bring it on.
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
We had fun racing today. There were some brave decisions taken by the strategy team and the car was working well. It was a good reminder for the entire team of how enjoyable it is to be fighting at the front of a race. George couldn’t have got to the garage sooner to apologise for the mistake; it’s a shame not to take those points but we’re a team and we’ll always work through the highs and lows together. What we can say is that our fight with Ferrari for second in the championship is going to get exciting now. We’ve got a bit of margin on points but ultimately, it’s going to come down to who’s got the best car over the next seven races. This weekend will give the whole team even more motivation and energy to get back to fighting at the front week in, week out. We will take a number of positives from here as we go into Japan.
Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team