Sergio Perez Wins Damp Singapore Grand Prix

It was the Sergio Perez show in Sunday’s Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, a rain-delayed race against the clock that featured its share of twists and turns, including a post-race 5-second penalty.

The Singapore Grand Prix is known for some hot and humid races and the 2022 edition was no exception.

Saturday saw a wet qualifying, while the start of the Grand Prix was pushed back an hour after a heavy downpour which led to all drivers starting on intermediate tires.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc started on pole, but he didn’t get much time to enjoy a clear view of the Marina Bay circuit without any spray. That was because by the time he got to the first turn, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was in P1.

Perez threw down arguably the best drive of his career, which is saying a lot given his unbelievable last-to-first drive for his maiden F1 win at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.

He didn’t put a foot wrong, except for one mistake that almost cost him the entire race.

Sergio Perez Singapore
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez withstood a 5-second penalty to hang on to the wind at a wet and wild 2022 Singapore Grand Prix. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images,)

Safety Car Drama in Singapore.

There has been a safety car at every single Singapore Grand Prix that’s ever been held. So, it should come as no surprise that we got to see Bernd Mayländer turning some laps again this year. However, during one Safety Car, Perez fell more than the maximum ten car lengths behind the Safety Car and wound up with a 5-second penalty.

Lucky for him — and, frankly, anyone who wants to see a race decided on track — Perez held on to the victory, having finished around 7 seconds ahead of second-place Charles Leclerc. The two battled at times, especially when Perez struggled with how his power unit was functioning on corner exits in the middle of the race.

Perez became the first driver since Sebastian Vettel in 2011 to win both the Monaco Grand Prix and the Singapore Grand Prix. The Mexican driver has been a road course ace this season and nearly added a win at the Saudia Arabian Grand Prix earlier this year, had it not been for an unfortunately-timed safety car.

McLaren Singapore Ricciardo
McLaren had a strong P5-P6 finish in Singapore. Their special livery to celebrate F1’s return to Asia might be good luck. That’s great news for them because they’ll use it again next weekend at Suzuka. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images,)

A Big Day For Attrition

One of the biggest keys to the race was simply finishing it. That sounds super obvious — and it is — but only 14 of 20 cars finished the race. Only 12 of them were on the lead lap.

The team that got the most out of the high attrition rate was McLaren. Not only did they have a great weekend on their own, but they also benefitted from their constructors’ standings rivals Alpine, having a miserable race.

Both of the French outfit’s cars were forced to retire, leaving them without any points. Meanwhile, a strong P4 and P5 for McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo has given them a 4-point lead in the standings.

Williams was the other team that failed to cross the finish line with either car. Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda also made early exits.

George Russell Mercedes
A poor qualifying session and slick tire gamble that went awry made it a weekend to forget for Mercedes’ George Russell. (Photo by Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

A Rough Weekend For Russell

George Russell had an uncharacteristically difficult weekend in Singapore. Russell was eliminated in Q2 but started from the pitlane after taking new power unit components.

He managed to gain a few positions but got stuck around P16 for quite some time. This meant that team needed to make a call to shake things up. So they decided to become the paddock’s slick tire guinea pig.

The beginning of the sting was brutal, but as the racing line continued to dry, the slicks started to work well. However, Russell made contact with Haas‘ Mick Schumacher causing both to get punctures. Russell finished in P14, two laps down.

Red Bull Verstappen
Max Verstappen had a chance to clinch the drivers’ championship this weekend, but only managed P7. However, it probably could’ve gone a lot worse for the reigning champion. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images,)

Verstappen Salvages Seventh

Max Verstappen went into the race weekend with a chance to clinch his second straight world championship. Unfortunately, he’ll need a few more races before he knows he can keep that No. 1 on his car for another year.

Verstappen bailed out of a promising qualifying lap because the team was worried he wouldn’t have enough fuel to provide a sample to the FIA. This left him in P8 for the Grand Prix on a circuit where overtaking is difficult under good conditions, let alone damp ones with no DRS available.

Making matters worse, Verstappen had an abysmal start that sent him tumbling down the running order.

He battled back but hit another roadblock when he locked up trying to overtake Lando Norris later in the race. This lead to flat-spotted and an unplanned pit stop. P7 will always look like a disappointing result for Max Verstappen, but it was a pretty decent recovery drive.

Fortunately for him, he still has a big enough cushion in the standings heading into next week’s race in Japan. It’ll be Formula 1’s first trip to Suzuka Circuit since 2019.

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Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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  1. For a race that didn’t have a lead change after the first turn, that was pretty exciting. Would’ve been terrible if they took it away from Checo after overcoming all that was thrown at him.

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