SINGAPORE — The Red Bull team of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, so dominant for so long this year, was all but out of the picture from the start of Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix.
Instead of another record-extending performance, Formula One had its most thrilling fight for a win this season.
Verstappen's winning run ended at 10 races and Red Bull's streak of victories was halted at 15 — both F1 records — as Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr. finished first, followed by McLaren's Lando Norris and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to complete the podium.
Red Bull had dreamed of winning every race this year, but two-time reigning F1 champion and runaway 2023 points leader Verstappen was fifth in Singapore while Perez, second in the standings, finished eighth after the team struggled all weekend.
Meanwhile, Sainz started in pole position and held on with badly worn tires over several tense final laps for the second win of his F1 career. It was a four-car fight for the victory before Mercedes driver George Russell, running third, crashed on the final lap.
"I felt under control," Sainz said. "I felt like I could manage well, and we brought it home. That was the best feeling."
Sainz admitted he slowed down to ensure Norris would 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 drivers.
"Carlos was very generous trying to help me get DRS. It helped my race and also helped his," said Norris, who has placed second in three of the past six races but has yet to win in F1. "We held them off, we did everything we needed to do and more."
Norris said he clipped the wall in the same spot where Russell later went off track.
Mercedes had Russell on course for a second-place finish before taking a risk with a second stop for both cars in the hope of taking the win on fresher, faster tires. Russell dropped back to fourth, ahead of Hamilton, and they both passed Ferrari's Charles Leclerc but couldn't get past Norris.
"We rolled the dice this weekend," Hamilton said.
Leclerc wound up fourth after failing to hold off the Mercedes cars on older tires.
Verstappen had an eventful race after starting 11th and was briefly in second behind Sainz, though only because almost everyone else had pitted for fresh tires. After Verstappen's own stop, he fought his way back through the field from 15th.
Despite his worst result since November 2022, Verstappen increased his lead in the season standings to 151 points over Perez with seven races to go. Verstappen has 12 wins this season and Perez, who started in 13th place Sunday, has two victories.
"Everything needs to be perfect to win every race in a season," Verstappen said. "I knew this day would come, and it's absolutely fine."
Pierre Gasly was sixth for Alpine, while Oscar Piastri was seventh for McLaren after qualifying 18th.
Rookie driver Liam Lawson of AlphaTauri scored his first points by finishing ninth. It was the New Zealander's third career race in F1 since replacing the injured Daniel Ricciardo at midseason, and it was the team's best result this year.
Kevin Magnussen was 10th for Haas.
Similar to Red Bull, it was a dismal weekend for Aston Martin as Fernando Alonso was 15th after a long pit stop and a spin. His teammate, Lance Stroll, didn't take part after Aston Martin said Stroll felt sore after crashing in qualifying.