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Perez wins Singapore GP after rain delayed race

Max Verstappen had to settle for 7th and will have to wait until Japan for another chance to secure the 2022 title.

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Sergio Perez navigated a series of safety cars and treacherous conditions to take his first victory at the Singapore GP for Red Bull following a delayed start due to torrential rain.

The forecast had suggested that the race would be affected by rain, and that turned out to be the case as the start was delayed by one hour to allow the track time to dry out, with all drivers eventually getting going on intermediate tyres.

Perez, starting from second on the grid behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, had the better launch once the lights went out and managed to take the lead immediately, eventually stretching his advantage to nearly 2 seconds by the end of Lap 7.

A series of incidents throughout the race brought out the safety car, neutralising Perez’s lead at the front, but each time the Mexican was able to fend off the chasing Leclerc to maintain his lead and cross the chequered flag around 4 seconds clear.

Leclerc threw everything at the Red Bull as he chased him down following a late safety car caused by the retirement of Yuki Tsunoda, but was ultimately unable to get the move done.

There were questions around whether Perez maintained the mandatory 10-car distance to the safety car ahead of the various restarts, with the matter referred to the stewards for judgement once the race finished, and Perez could yet face a time penalty.

Singapore Swings

Elsewhere, Carlos Sainz was some way adrift of the leading pair, but still managed to get his Ferrari on the podium.

McLaren had one of their best races of the season, with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finishing in 4th and 5th respectively after benefitting from the timing of their first pitstops under the safety car and holding on.

Similarly Aston Martin posted their best performance of 2022 by far, with Lance Stroll finishing 6th ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who finished 8th in his final race at the track where he holds the record for most wins.

Max Verstappen, who was unable to get the required victory that would have given him a chance to wrap up the 2022 Drivers’ Championship at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, finished the race in 7th, one place ahead of where he started.

However, that didn’t reflect the reigning champion’s topsy turvy Sunday, with the Dutchman rallying from a mistake caused by a lock up as he attempted to overtake into Turn 1 and getting stuck in traffic to finish in the points.

The final points were taken by Lewis Hamilton, with the Mercedes driver paying the price for locking up and hitting the wall into Turn 1 which necessitated a new front wing just before a safety car and cost him time.

It was overall a weekend to forget for the constructors’ champions, as George Russell was last to cross the finish line in 14th after starting from the back of the grid due to engine penalties.

Double DNFs

The Singapore GP has historically produced a string of safety cars and incidents, and the 2022 edition was no exception in tricky track conditions which remained damp in places throughout the race.

The first safety car was prompted by the retirement of Zhou Guanyu, whose Alfa Romeo suffered damage following a collision with the Williams of Nicholas Latifi that caused both drivers to retire.

Then it was the turn of Fernando Alonso, who suffered the first of two mechanical failures for Alpine, with the Spaniarid’s car bringing out the Virtual Safety Car. Esteban Ocon would retire in similar circumstances later in the race.

Alex Albon, who made it a double DNF for Williams after he hit the wall and lodged his front wing in the barrier and handed him a puncture, while necessitating a VSC.

And finally the safety car which closed up the pack in the closing stages and prompted a timed finish was that of Tsunoda, as the Japanese driver put his AlphaTauri in the barriers.

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