Sergio Perez celebrates his fourth career victory on the streets of Singapore. (Image: Red Bull Racing/Twitter)

The Formula One grid returned to the streets of Singapore for the first time since 2019. A rainy weekend was nothing short of drama-filled.

Wet weather delayed the start of the race. An 8PM scheduled start was pushed back to 9:05PM, with the race ending under a timer, rather than laps completed.

Sergio Perez, despite starting in P2, led from start to finish, holding off Charles Leclerc, to win the Singapore Grand Prix.

From start to finish

Perez overtook pole-sitter Leclerc at the first turn, leading from start to finish to claim the fourth win of his career.

“That is, without a doubt, the best drive of his career,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner dubbed it.

Teammate Max Verstappen had a tough race, falling to P12 from the start. Every time he clawed his way back into the race, a mistake would arrive.

Within the final laps of the race, Verstappen saw himself in a battle for seventh – which he eventually won. 12 championships between the three drivers involved – Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, too.

Perez was warned of a potential penalty, which was to be reviewed after the race. He climbed to a seven-second lead over Leclerc, hoping that a five-second penalty would still grant him the winner. It was seen that he left more than 10 car-lengths between himself and the safety car, twice.

Qualifying chaos

Verstappen was in the thick of it in Q3, with it all coming down to the wire.

The Dutchman aborted what would’ve been his final flying lap, after going wide in the final sector. He began to re-charge his battery to then do another flying lap, just before the chequered flag.

After rounding the second sector, Verstappen was almost one second clear of Leclerc’s pole-sitting lap. Approaching the final couple of corners, Verstappen was told to pit.

Confused and frustrated, Verstappen obliged. It was quickly revealed that if he had’ve completed the lap, Red Bull wouldn’t have had enough fuel for sampling, which results in a penalty.

Verstappen was then forced to start the race from P8. Winning the championship was still possible, but appeared near-impossible.

Mr. Experience

Fernando Alonso started his 350th F1 race, under the lights in Singapore. The Spaniard now holds the records for most starts, most laps completed, longest distance raced and the longest F1 career.

Alonso is not slowing down just yet, having announced a new deal with Aston Martin for 2023. He has resided with French-outfit Alpine since his return to the sport in 2021.

“Number 350. Let’s make it a special one,” Alonso exclaimed to his engineers before entering his grid box.

Alonso fell to P6 from the start, conceding the position to Lando Norris. As the race developed, Alonso fended off the reigning champion – Max Verstappen – for a long while.

On lap 22, still defending from Verstappen, Alonso’s Alpine lost power due to an engine failure. Alonso took to the escape road, before unfortunately retiring from the race.

More Formula One News

Verstappen makes it five wins in a row at Monza

Red Bull strategy perfected at Zandvoort

Verstappen’s pace unmatched in Spa

Notoriously chaotic

All 12 F1 races at Singapore had involved a safety car at some stage of the race. The 13th Singapore Grand Prix was no different. Six drivers retired, all for multiple reasons.

We saw the fewest finishers in a race this season, with only 14 drivers taking the chequered flag, following six retirements.

First to retire was Guanyu Zhou, who was squeezed toward the wall by Nicholas Latifi, who made contact with Zhou, ending his race. Latifi returned to the pits for repairs, but Williams decided to retire his car also.

Latifi was slapped with a five-place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix for causing an incident.

Between laps 21 and 28, three more cars would retire. Alonso complained of a loss of power, leaving stranded in the second sector.

Alex Albon, returning from a respiratory issue, was next to fall. He lost his front wing and suffered a puncture. When he boxed for repairs, Williams decided to retire the car, once again.

Alpine’s second failure of the night resulted in Esteban Ocon car having no power. A virtual safety car was deployed, as the car was stranded in an awkward position.

The final driver to be withdrawn from the race was Yuki Tsunoda. The Japanese youngster hit the wall at turn 10 and remained stuck. A full safety car was deployed as a result.

Advantage, McLaren

Both Alpine and McLaren have endured a back and forth battle all season, for fourth-place in the Constructors’ Championship. McLaren had luck on their side in the streets of Singapore.

It began with the retirements to both Alonso and Esteban Ocon. Within the space of seven laps, both drivers were out of the race, due to engine issues.

A safety car deployment on lap 36 allowed McLaren to pit and gain an advantage on those close to them. Norris almost overtook Carlos Sainz for P3, but fell short and Daniel Ricciardo rejoined in P6.

Verstappen attempted a quick restart up the inside of Norris, but locked up, falling down the order. Ricciardo was able to pass him and hold onto P5 – his best finish of the season.

With 22 points in the bag for McLaren, their total moves to 129. Four points clear of Alpine, whom claimed no points, still on 125.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Author

Leave a Reply