F1: Perez Wins Incident-Packed Wet-Dry Singapore GP

There was plenty of action at the Singapore GP as Sergio Perez claimed victory on an eventful day, Rhonan Colquhoun reports.

Photo Credit: Independent Photo Agency/Alamy Live News

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez claimed a masterful victory on the damp streets of Singapore to win ahead of the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr despite a post-race time penalty.

Hailed the greatest drive of his career, Perez started the race from second but jumped pole-sitter Leclerc into the first corner and led until the chequered flag.

The Mexican’s fourth career win came under scrutiny from the Race Stewards as they investigated the Red Bull drivers’ driving under one of three Safety Car periods.

The anxious wait after the race came the decision that he would incur a five second time penalty for failing to keep within the required distance of the Safety Car. Knowing he was under investigation during the race, he crossed the line with a gap of 7.595s to Leclerc incase of any penalty.

Perez’s team-mate Championship leader Max Verstappen endured a tricky race, finishing in seventh, and will now have to wait until next week’s Japanese GP for another opportunity to clinch this year’s Drivers’ crown.

The start of the first Singapore GP since 2019 was delayed by an hour due to torrential rain and lightning with the race not reaching the full 61 laps rather the two hour time limit.

Due to the damp conditions, all the drivers started on the Intermediate tyre and as the race progressed, the track slowly dried which saw the drivers transition onto the dry tyres come the final stages of the race.

The incident-packed race saw only 14 drivers reach the chequered flag and saw major mistakes from Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Carlos Sainz claimed third in a race where the Spaniard struggled to match the pace of the top two drivers in the damp conditions.

McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo gave the Woking team its best result of the season with both drivers finishing inside the top five. The 22 points haul overturns a 18 point deficit in a four point advantage in the battle with Alpine to finish fourth in the Constructors Championship.

It was a hugely disappointing race for Alpine with both of their drivers retiring from the race. On his historic 350th race start, Fernando Alonso grounded to a halt with power-unit issues while smoke billowed from Esteban Ocon’s Alpine shortly after. It marked a second race in a row in which the team didn’t score.

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll secured his best result of the season with sixth while team-mate and five-time Singapore GP winner Sebastian Vettel claimed eighth in a double points-finish for the team.

Verstappen claimed seventh after a late-charge through the field on Soft tyres after the Dutchman couldn’t stop his RB18 in time attempting to overtake Norris. The Red Bull driver was forced to make an extra pit-stop after damaging the condition of his tyres before charging his way back into the points.

Lewis Hamilton recovered to ninth place after making slight contact with Singapore’s close barriers which damaged his front wing while Piere Gasly rounded-out the point scorers in tenth claiming a point for AlphaTauri.

Alfa Romeo’s Valterri Bottas, Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, Mercedes’ George Russell and Haas’s Mick Schumacher were the only other classified runners.

Russell started the race from the pit-lane and was the first driver to change onto the dry compound tyre. The gamble, at the time, didn’t pay off as the Marina Bay circuit was still too damp and a late-collision with Schumacer – resulting in puncture for both – ended a frustrating day.

Aside from the Alpine duo, there were four other drivers who retired from the race. An early Safety Car was deployed after debris was left on the track after a collision between Alfa Romeo’s Gyanyu Zhou and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi. The Williams driver didn’t notice the Chinese driver on his outside and contact with the barrier was made. Both drivers retired with severe suspension damage.

The other Williams of Alexander Albon, who returned to racing after missing the Italian GP, hit a damp patch of track which sent the Thai-Brit into the barrier. After making it back to the pit-lane without his front wing, more damage was revealed leading to his retirement.

The last driver to retire from the race was AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. After pitting for dry tyres, the Japanese driver underestimated the track conditions on his new tyres and ploughed heavily into the barrier, triggering the last full-course Safety Car.

Verstappen now leads the Championship by 104 as both Leclerc and Perez gained some ground on the Dutchman. Leclerc remains second with Perez closing to within two points of the Monegasque driver. Meanwhile, Red Bull hold a 137 point advantage over Ferrari who increase their lead to 66 points over Mercedes.

Leave a Reply