Sainz says he and Norris 'should buy each other drinks' after Singapore 1-2

Carlos Sainz says he and Lando Norris 'should buy each other drinks' after Ferrari driver's clever DRS tactic helps him seal victory and Norris P2 in a dramatic Singapore Grand Prix.
Carlos Sainz Jr with Lando Norris
Carlos Sainz Jr with Lando Norris

After taking pole position and leading the race since the start, Carlos Sainz looked on his way to victory despite a close battle for the lead behind him.

That was until lap 43, when a virtual safety car meant Mercedes would put new tyres on both of their cars, making them the fastest on track and a real threat to Sainz, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc at the front.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton would bypass Leclerc with ease with eight laps to go, leaving just the McLaren of Norris between them and the race leader.

Recognising the danger of Russell and Hamilton if they were to pass Norris, Sainz slowed down to keep the McLaren within one second of his Ferrari, giving Norris DRS to help defend the Mercedes. This clever decision would not only help Sainz clinch victory, but also assist Norris in holding onto second place.

"I think we should buy each other drinks", said Sainz. "I think by giving him DRS I saved his P2, and by him getting my DRS and defending as well as he did from Russell he helped me to get P1."

Sainz and Norris are former teammates, having driven together at McLaren during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. They would become great friends, with a collective name of Carlando coined by F1 fans.

The Singapore Grand Prix marks just the second time the pair have shared the podium, and the first in a 1-2 finish, which Sainz was pleased with: "Good Carlando moments up there - it was nice to get a podium with him and a 1-2 because we have a great relationship. It was also to see the McLaren guys there with Ferrari, it was a good story."

Sainz was asked whether it was his Ferrari team who advised the race-winning tactic, to which he revealed it was his own intuition that helped him seal victory: "I dont need the team to suggest it. I know more or less my pace against Lando and how difficult it is to overtake here. He was on a hard, so I knew if George and Lewis passed him I was probably going to be dead meat also. 

"So, I needed him to hold on for as long as possible, and a couple of laps that I was with 1.2, 1.3 seconds [to Norris], I would slow down a bit to make sure I gave him DRS into turn 7, which I think was just enough for him to hold on from them and keep my race under control.

"Not easy, because you’re putting yourself under risk and you cannot do any mistakes, but it was my strategy, it worked and I’m glad it did."

It makes for Sainz's second career victory as he becomes the only non-Red Bull driver to finish first in any of 2023's races so far, amid a weekend-long lack of pace for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

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