Can Max Verstappen finally win the Singapore Grand Prix? He has never done so in his Formula 1 career.
In terms of mental and physical exertion, the Singapore Grand Prix is among the most demanding events of the Formula One season.
It’s an endurance mission for the drivers due to the extreme heat and humidity of its location (just 150 miles from the equator) and the challenging terrain of the circuit (a rough, twisting roadway).
It’s no surprise that since the race began in 2008, only drivers who had previously won the World Championship have been able to take home the trophy (although Nico Rosberg won in 2016 before he became champion).
The streak ended in 2022, when Sergio Perez beat Max Verstappen’s record as their teammate’s best by becoming the first non-World Champion to win.
Of the seven tracks on which he has yet to achieve victory, Verstappen is least likely to do so in Sochi (which is not expected to return any time soon), Istanbul Park, Mugello, Portimao, and the Nurburgring.
As for the Qatar Grand Prix at Lusail, he has yet to win there as well, but he is confident that he can make up for lost time in the following three races, starting with Singapore, where he has finished no worse than second in 2018.
Eighth on 2015 Debut
On his way to an eighth-place finish in 2015, Verstappen got into an altercation with teammate Carlos Sainz.
He had to start from the pit lane and a lap down because his car wouldn’t start on the formation lap.
Fortunately, a Safety Car brought him back onto the lead lap after Nico Hulkenberg crashed into Felipe Massa.
He refused to let Sainz through in the last laps so that the Spaniard could assault Perez of Force India, resulting in a double-point finish for the team.
Face-to-face with Godzilla?
By the time the next Grand Prix was held at Marina Bay, Verstappen had replaced Danill Kvyat at Red Bull and was already a Grand Prix winner.
The weekend was uneventful, with him starting fourth and finishing sixth, with the highlight being the sighting of a gigantic lizard crossing the track right in front of him during practice.
The most famous Singapore moment?
Rain fell before the 2017 race for the first time in the nearly decade-long history of the event, prompting some drivers to switch to Intermediates and others to Wets.
Next to Sebastian Vettel on the grid was Verstappen, and Kimi Raikkonen was in fourth.
The best start of the three went to Raikkonen, who looked poised to slip inside the front-row starters, but Vettel came over to pressure Verstappen as he got going.
The Red Bull drifted left into Raikkonen’s path, and the Finn slammed into Vettel’s side, causing the latter to crash and damage the sidepod.
After losing control of his car, Kimi Raikkonen slid into Turn 1, taking out Max Verstappen and the unwary Fernando Alonso. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel lost control of his car coming out of Turn 2 and crashed.
The best result to date
At the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix, Verstappen started second behind Lewis Hamilton, but the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel made life difficult for the Dutchman right from the get-go.
Esteban Ocon, driving for Force India, had his teammate, Sergio Perez, drive him into the wall on the first lap.
While Perez was able to keep going, Ocon had to give up. After an incident that left him with a flat tire later in the race, Perez slipped back.
After passing Hamilton’s Mercedes, Verstappen appeared to have a chance to win, but traffic intervened. Hamilton won the race for the second time, expanding his championship lead over Vettel and the Ferrari team.
2019 – behind the Ferraris
Verstappen started third, behind Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel in Ferraris, who took it easy early on to preserve their rubber.
On Lap 19, both Verstappen and Vettel made pit stops, giving the Ferrari an advantage over Leclerc, who exited behind the German but only just.
The Scuderia finished 1-2, with Verstappen taking third, in what would be Vettel’s penultimate race victory.
Equal worst result of 2022
After the 2020 and 2021 races were postponed owing to the COVID-19 epidemic, Singapore took a three-year break before returning in 2022.
Even though he set a new record with 15 victories and won his second world championship, Verstappen finished eighth.
In Q3, he ran out of fuel and had to abandon his final lap, and on race day, he struggled to make progress in the wet.
Turn 5 was particularly hazardous, as Hamilton lost control and crashed into the wall, and Verstappen wrecked his slick tires by locking up so hard after the Safety Car restarted the race.
He overtook Hamilton and Vettel in the last laps to finish seventh, a position he achieved twice (in Britain and Austria) more frequently than second (in Britain and Austria).