​​Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez snubbed after latest Carlos Sainz masterclass

Carlos Sainz’s win at the Singapore Grand Prix in September was the most impressive performance of the 2023 season, according to Express Sport readers. The Ferrari star prevented Red Bull from completing an unprecedented clean sweep of race wins when he converted pole position into victory at the Marina Bay street circuit.

Max Verstappen travelled to Singapore on a record-breaking winning streak after claiming his tenth successive Grand Prix victory in Ferrari’s backyard at Monza, but there was to be no 11th triumph in a row for the Dutchman. Instead, he was knocked out in Q2 on the Saturday as Sainz pipped team-mate Charles Leclerc to pole position.

The first half of the Grand Prix was straightforward for Sainz who managed the lead with his team-mate acting as a rear-gunner, but Leclerc soon found himself a victim of Ferrari’s strategy with Lando Norris trailing the Spaniard ahead of the two Mercedes drivers.

A well-timed virtual safety car allowed Mercedes to pit both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton for fresh tyres, and they closed up to the back of the leading duo with a handful of laps to spare.

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From here, Sainz managed the race expertly, backing off to give Norris DRS in his defence against a charging Russell while staying far enough clear to prevent the McLaren driver from launching an attack for the lead of the race. When the chequered flag fell, the Ferrari star claimed his second-ever Grand Prix win and ended Red Bull’s unbeaten season hopes.

In a survey of 7,114 Express Sport readers, 51 per cent believed that Sainz’s triumph on the streets of Singapore was the best individual performance of the season, giving him a comfortable advantage over the other nominated displays, represented by the Red Bull duo of reigning champion Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

19 per cent of the voters believed that Verstappen’s victory in Suzuka represented the best showing of the season. The Dutchman produced arguably the best pole lap of the year to secure his place at the front of the field for the race, before opening up a gap of over 19 seconds to Norris at the time of the chequered flag.

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A further 16 per cent of voters opted for Verstappen’s triumph in Miami as the best of 2023. That race proved the turning point in the title fight as the three-time champion came from ninth on the grid to claim a sensational victory. 

There was also plenty of support for Perez in the top four as the Red Bull driver’s second victory of the year in Baku received 14 per cent of the votes. The Mexican held off the threat of a looming Verstappen to make it two wins from four races in style on the streets of Azerbaijan.

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