Formula 1

Sergio Perez takes sensational victory at a theatrical 2022 Singapore GP!

Sergio Perez took an early lead at the start of the race as pole sitter Leclerc had to settle for P2 all the while Verstappen having a very difficult race. It was a first win for Perez at the Marina Bay circuit as his teammate Max Verstappen was forced to settle for P7 in a soaking wet race. Charles Leclerc also went with an unsettled P2 as he was the pole sitter but couldn’t really catch up to the might of Perez. Here’s how it went down:

Heavy action on Lap 1!

A gang of dark clouds meant rain was imminent and there it was. Quite a downforce at the Marina Bay circuit forced a delay of over an hour, with the formation lap beginning at 2105 local time. The rain had ceased, but the surface was still very slippery for the start of the race and that’s when pole-sitter Leclerc lost the lead to Perez into Turn 1 as Sainz easily pried P3 off Hamilton, who went wide into T1. It was Hamilton’s first of a few mistakes in rain, a very rare site. Verstappen also lost five places to fall to P12 due to the anti-stall at the start which was again a shocker to see but he made three up by Lap 9 when the first Safety Car was deployed for Nicholas Latifi and Zhou Guanyu’s collision. Latifi squeezing Zhou a little too much there. Hamilton was a little too much on the overdrive to catch Sainz and we’re DEFINITELY not complaining. Lewis hinted that he wanted a set of used rather than fresh inters for the start letting his team know over the radio: “I told you about these tyres, in the future you need to listen to me. No grip.”

Wet race, entertainment galore

The Safety Car after the lap 8 collision between Zhou and Latifi bunched up the field which was a bright ray of hope for chasers Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz and Leclerc. SC was brought back in at the end of Lap 10 with Perez leading the Ferraris and Hamilton away, as Verstappen pried P8 off Vettel almost immediately.It was Fernando Alonso’s stoppage that brought out a VSC on Lap 20. George Russell reacted quickly to become the first driver to switch from intermediates to medium tires.

Russell’s improving pace then triggered a train of drivers to begin swapping for slicks on Lap 35 unknown that right on the following tour, Yuki Tsunoda went straight on into the barriers at Turn 10 to bring out the second full Safety Car right after all the drivers had swapped. It was fortuitous for the McLaren drivers who hadn’t stopped just yet; Lando Norris came in for a new set of mediums and Daniel Ricciardo opted for slicks as they emerged fourth and sixth for the restart.

From Lap 5, Leclerc was gobbling up the gap to Perez catching him for the lead, with Hamilton slowly getting out of range of Sainz. Verstappen, meanwhile, was a pit stop’s distance behind his team mate as he chased Sebastian Vettel for P8. It was Russell and Bottas coming together in the fight for P15 and a fight between an ex and their replacement is always worth it as we saw Bottas doing his best to avoid his replacement, who had made an opportunistic lunge and skated into the runoff at Turn 7 without any considerable damage.

Apart from Magnussen, who picked up front wing endplate damage in avoidance of Verstappen on Lap 1, no one took the chance to pit – but the Haas driver had unfortunately taken his stop just before the caution was deployed. Gasly was the next target for Verstappen, the Red Bull driver up into seventh with a pass down the inside at Turn 13. Alonso would perhaps prove to be a tougher obstacle, no surprises there. The Alpine driver keeping the Red Bull behind all the way past Lap 20.

The race had turned eerily calmed at this point, with Perez leading Leclerc by two seconds, Sainz 10 seconds off the pace and Hamilton another 1.5s off the Ferrari driver. Verstappen was still stalking Alonso as Alonso was having the time of his life. As for the surface, conditions were still too slippery for slicks – and drivers were being warned to keep their intermediates in good condition for as long as possible.

Heading towards the end was even more entertaining

Alex Albon pitted for slicks and a new nose following his contact with the walls, but was soon given the signal to stop. The Thai driver’s weekend was over – but that DNF did little to detract from the fact that he had made an incredible return to competition, just weeks after enduring respiratory failure as he underwent appendicitis surgery. The resulting VSC was soon retracted, only for the remaining Alpine of Esteban Ocon to come to a stop with a smoking engine at Turn 13. Another VSC on Lap 28, then, and Ferrari’s pit crew emerged with a new set of intermediates – but neither Sainz – with Hamilton hustling him for position – nor Leclerc entered the pits. It was VSC/SC galore at the Singapore GP, all thanks to torrential rains.

The VSC period continued, Hamilton itching to get past Sainz and into the podium places and Verstappen was doing the same to Norris. The defending champion anticipated the restart and lunged on the McLaren driver for P5 just as the green flags were flown for Lap 30, while Sainz held off Hamilton without much fuss. All of that was until Lap 33 when Hamilton went straight on into the barriers at Turn 7 and rejoined between Verstappen and Norris, telling his team that the car looked “intact”. That was a shocker for multiple reasons. Firstly, people saw Hamilton make a mistake in the rain and secondly, even his mistakes have a safeguard as he came back to the race just one place down without any visible damage to the wing! Verstappen, 40 seconds off the lead, reasoned that the Mercedes driver’s front wing was going to “fall off.”

Tsunoda locked up at Turn 10 and brought out the Safety Car making sure no one gets bored of the race. Russell took the chance to switch to mediums once again and Norris seized his opportunity to do the same to emerge fourth. His McLaren team mate Daniel Ricciardo also pitted – but for softs, perhaps anticipating a chance at the restart, which he would take in P6 behind Verstappen. The Safety Car retreated at the end of Lap 39, with the lap counter changed to a countdown timer; there were just 35 minutes left on the two-hour clock.

Fourteen of the 20 cars took the restart and Verstappen attempted a pass on Norris, but the Dutchman suffered a huge lock-up at top speed into Turn 7. One of those times where Verstappen’s yield or crash strategy didn’t work in his favour as he tried to grab a very ambitious lunge in uncompromising conditions. He avoided the barriers but had to swap his flat-spotted medium tyres on Lap 40, dropping to the rear behind Russell.

Verstappen wasn’t gonna last for long as Russell then slowed with a punctured right-rear tyre, having brushed wheels with Mick Schumacher in an attempt to pass the Haas for P12 at Turn 1. It soon became clear that Schumacher also had a puncture and he too pitted on Lap 42 and to be honest, Russell was overly ambitious about his ability for that particular pass. Perez was now being hassled by Leclerc for the lead, the Mexican complaining about the engine’s “driveability” just before DRS was enabled with 26 minutes remaining, on Lap 43. Leclerc and Perez pushed the limits thereafter in a brilliant chase for the lead, full points to be awarded as the race went beyond Lap 45.

Perez and Leclerc were sprinting on and on ahead of Sainz and Norris, the leader shrugging off a couple of lock-ups on Laps 45 and 46 as the chase managed to rescue a small trip off the dry line on Lap 47. Leclerc backed off and Perez began to pick up the pace, breaking just out of DRS range. However, the Mexican would be investigated after the race for dropping more than 10 car lengths behind the Safety Car, for which he would be given a five-second post-race penalty.

In the other Red Bull, Verstappen had passed Schumacher, Magnussen and Bottas to make it into the top ten, with Gasly as his next victim on Lap 50. 13 minutes remaining on the countdown timer and the race becoming so unimaginably exciting for the Singapore circuit. Remember the times when street-circuits like these were boring for the “no pass” theory. It was Lewis Hamilton, who had an unflinching pair of Aston Martins ahead of him, up next in the crosshairs of Verstappen’s redbull which is currently ongoing investigation for exceeding the budget caps in both 2021 and 2022.

Russell was pulled into the pits on Lap 52 (with eight minutes left) for a new set of softs, and he eventually secured the fastest lap of the race. Perez facing the stewards after the flag, he continued to ramp up the pace and eventually won by 7.5s over Leclerc in a truly stunning show of defence. Sainz rounded out the podium, proving no threat to the leaders but taking no threat from fourth-place finisher Norris, who capitalised on a free stop under the Safety Car. Completing the top five was the other McLaren of Ricciardo, while Stroll picked up a brilliant P6 after errors from Hamilton and Verstappen.

The 2022 Singapore GP couldn’t have been more exciting even it was held at Silverstone as the weather really mixed up the pack. We saw mistakes from a 7-time world champion, the current defending champion, who was supposed to finish up the championship at Singapore, have a brutal lock up and get left behind the leaders and we saw the minister of defence giving us the race of his life.

Show More

Prakhar K.

Editor-in-chief and 4-wheel fanatic

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please disable adblockers to access CarThrust.