Sergio Perez defied a post-race time penalty to keep hold of his race win in Singapore in the 17th race of the F1 2022 season, a second win for the Red Bull driver. A disappointing 8th place finish for his teammate Max Verstappen ensures the title challenge continues into the Japanese Grand Prix.
Checo Perez seems to come alive on an F1 street circuit. Following a disappointing stretch of form that stretches back to an unlucky second place in Azerbaijan, the Mexican dominated a wet and gloomy Singapore Grand Prix, successfully taking emerging as the calmest and most consistent driver as the weekends of other teams and drivers imploded around him, all in the midst of a race seeing six cars unable to finish and five separate interruptions. Where do you start? Racing began with an unceremonious hour delay due to the adverse weather conditions that went on to hamper much of the event following. Both Williams and Alpines failed to finish the race, as did Zhou and Yuki Tsunoda. The most disappointed of all will be Max Verstappen, who’s birthday weekend crumbled in qualifying on Saturday as a fuelling error led his team to call him back to the pits. Hopes of another great climb through the field as at Spa some weeks ago fell apart as the champion-elect succumbed to muddy, murky midfield procession, surging up and falling back, despite a late rally that saw him pass both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Perez and Red Bull will take comfort from an exceptional drive and the seeing off of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the Monégasque driving Perez down to the wire but always lacking following his pole position begin erased from the get go by the Red Bull man. Luck and pace from qualifying also failed to carry over for Lewis Hamilton, who was uncharacteristically rash and error-strewn, losing out in the final moments to Vettel and Verstappen and coming home in a sorry ninth place ; regardless, George Russell came out the worst of the Mercedes drivers. The man from King’s Lynn started the race from the pitlane, made a bad gamble for medium tyres at his first pit stop which were wholly unsuitable on the still damp track. As he was lapped not once but twice, a collision with Mick Schumacher punctured his tyres and left him languishing at the back and ending his impressive consistent run of high finishes.
Where Mercedes and Max Verstappen will be sorely disappointed, Singapore saw a pair of fantastic results for McLaren and Aston Martin. Norris and Riccardo finished the race comfortably in fourth and fifth position respectively, while Lance Stroll secured his best result of the season so far in sixth. Pierre Gasly rounded out the point finishes in tenth.
The investigation of the FIA into budget cap breaches will come to a head and perhaps overshadow the build-up to the next race at Suzuka, as speculation builds and builds for a potentially shocking week in the world of Formula 1 begins.
1 Sergio PEREZ, Red Bull Racing, 2:02:15.238 2 Charles LECLERC, Ferrari, +7.595 3 Carlos SAINZ, Ferrari, +15.305 4 Lando NORRIS, McLaren, +26.133 5 Daniel RICCIARDO, McLaren, +58.282 6 Lance STROLL, Aston Martin, +61.330 7 Max VERSTAPPEN, Red Bull Racing, +63.825 8 Sebastian VETTEL, Aston Martin, +65.032 9 Lewis HAMILTON, Mercedes, +66.515 10 Pierre GASLY, AlphaTauri, +74.576 11 Valtteri BOTTAS, Alfa Romeo, +93.844 12 Kevin MAGNUSSEN, Haas F1 Team, +97.610 13 Mick SCHUMACHER, Haas F1 Team, +1 lap 14 George RUSSELL, Mercedes, +2 laps
Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri Esteban Ocon, Alpine Alex Albon, Williams Fernando Alonso, Alpine Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo Nicholas Latifi, Williams