Red Bull had dreamed of winning every race this year but had Verstappen fifth and Perez eighth after struggling all weekend in Singapore.
Verstappen’s winning run ended at 10 races and Red Bull’s at 15, including one at the end of last year. Both are Formula One records.
Sainz started on pole position and held on with badly worn tires over tense final laps for his second career win in F1 ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. George Russell crashed the other Mercedes on the final lap from third position to promote Hamilton to the podium.
“I felt under control. I felt like I could manage well and we brought it home. That was the best feeling,” Sainz said.
Sainz admitted after the race he had slowed down to ensure Norris stay within the one-second window that allowed the McLaren driver access to the DRS straight-line speed boost — a valuable aid in holding off the two Mercedes.
“We rolled the dice this weekend,” Hamilton said after a Mercedes strategy call saw both cars stop for fresh tires late on, meaning Russell dropped back from second in pursuit of the win.
Charles Leclerc was fourth after failing to hold off the Mercedes cars on older tires, ahead of Verstappen in fifth. The champion had an eventful race after starting 11th and was briefly second on track behind Sainz, though only because almost all other cars stopped for fresh tires. After Verstappen’s own pit stop, he fought his way back through the field from 15th.
Pierre Gasly was sixth for Alpine, Oscar Piastri seventh for McLaren after qualifying 18th and Perez eighth. Rookie Liam Lawson scored his first points in ninth for AlphaTauri and Kevin Magnussen was 10th for Haas.
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