Red Bull has won every single Formula 1 race held in 2023. Max Verstappen has won the last ten personally. Both are records, both are still active, and both are in serious danger of ending tomorrow.
Both Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez were eliminated in the Q2 round of qualifying, meaning they did not run fast enough in the second of three qualifying sessions to fight for a spot in the top ten on race day. They will instead start 11th and 13th, respectively, with Verstappen missing tenth and a spot in Q3 by 7/1000ths of a second.
With the Red Bulls starting from behind, the door is open for one of Ferrari, Mercedes, or McLaren to win their first race of the season. Five drivers from those three teams will start first through fifth, led by Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. and Mercedes driver George Russell. Just as with everyone but Verstappen and Perez, all five are winless this season. Lewis Hamilton, who starts fifth and holds the record for all-time F1 wins, has not won since 2021. Lando Norris, who starts fourth, has still never won a grand prix.
The surprising qualifying performances come in the first race of a new restriction on flexible wings. Although the rule impacts each team identically, teams that may have relied more on the trick wings will be hurt more than those who had not integrated them as heavily into their designs. Whether or not that pace difference was enough to keep the Red Bulls slow at the unique Singapore street circuit is another question, but the team has not led a single practice or qualifying session this weekend. Unfortunately for their mid-field competitors, they have also run much better than 11th in those sessions and Max Verstappen has already won a race from ninth once this season.
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