Perez holds off Leclerc to win Singapore Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez achieved his second victory for the team by resisted the pressure all night long from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. But Checo faces a post-race investigation.

Perez’s Singapore Grand Prix victory at Marina Bay was impressive, as the rain-delayed race was punctuated by safety cars for multiple crashes and breakdowns.

The race was delayed by one hour and five minutes due to torrential rain falling in the build-up to the original start time, but the result was actually not confirmed at the chequered flag as Perez faces a post-race investigation for a safety car infringement.

That had been called into action twice, with three virtual safety car activations also taking place in the wet-to-dry thriller.

At the start, Leclerc and Perez made identical reactions from the front row but the Red Bull accelerated better as they raced away from the line and he swept past the Ferrari to comfortably seize the lead into Turn 1.

Behind, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton went side-by-side through Turn 1 and made light contact just ahead of the Turn 2 apex, which sent the Mercedes wide and down to third, the incident reviewed by the stewards by deemed not worthy of a full investigation.

The same thing happened for Max Verstappen cutting the first corner after he had bogged down badly leaving the line as his car nearly went into anti-stall mode and he fell from eighth to P12.

Up front, Perez scampered clear of Leclerc – but only to the tune of around a second over the first phase of the race, with Sainz and Hamilton – complaining about his inters to Mercedes very early – soon distanced by over five seconds.

Perez set a series of fastest laps but could only pull out a lead of 1.4 seconds before Leclerc began to home back in, reaching 0.8 seconds behind the Red Bull at the end of lap eight of the scheduled 61.

But there the race was neutralised by a safety car period, extending the streak of every Singapore race featuring such an intervention.

It was called to cover the Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu being recovered from the Turn 5 escape road, where he had parked up after Nicholas Latifi had drifted across his path and sent him into the wall.

This broke Zhou’s front-right wheel and put him out on the spot, while Latifi toured back to the pits with a puncture, where he too retired.

The race resumed at the start of lap 11 with none of the leaders having chosen to pit – the track as it did between FP3 and qualifying taking a long time to dry, hence Perez and Leclerc lapping quickest in the two minutes bracket.

Perez aced the restart and immediately re-established his one-second gap to Leclerc, who also again quickly dropped Sainz and Hamilton – the pre-safety car scenes recreated as the two leaders were the only drivers to now lap in the one minute, 59 seconds bracket.

They exchanged fastest laps before Perez began to edge away, with his lead reaching 1.7 seconds by lap 15 and the quarter-distance mark, where the leaders began to be warned by their teams to cool their inters on the remaining wet patches, with the track still nowhere near the crossover point for slicks.

The leaders reached the one minute, 58 seconds bracket just before lap 20, at which point Perez’s lead went over two seconds for the first time.

Leclerc had just started to slide quickly further back, the race was suspended again with a virtual safety car activation on lap 21 when Fernando Alonso pulled off at Turn 10, his 350th Formula 1 start ending with an apparent engine problem.

The leaders again eschewed pitting for new inters, but back in P15 George Russell made a bold call to take medium slicks.

The VSC lasted two laps, with Perez’s lead over Leclerc resuming at 2.5 seconds but after just three further tours the first of two further VSC activations kicked in when Alex Albon – a lap one spinner at the rear of the pack – slid into the Turn 8 barriers and knocked his front wing off.

He reversed away and drove back to the pits to retire the other Williams, with the VSC ending on lap 27 but being activated again on lap 28 because Esteban Ocon had also retired with an engine issue – the Alpine expiring in a massive blowout over the Anderson Bridge and approaching Turn 13.

Racing resumed on lap 30, with Perez’s lead up to 4.3 seconds before Leclerc shot into the one minute, 56 seconds and he cut the gap back down to under three seconds within two laps.

Here a series of dramatic events took place in the background, with Hamilton, who had been very frustrated tucked up behind Sainz sliding into the barriers solo as he chased the Ferrari on lap 33.

He reversed away and rejoined just in front of 2021 title rival Verstappen, who in turn had been hotly perusing Lando Norris.

On lap one, Verstappen had looked to make quick progress back past Kevin Magnussen, but did not have an easy time of it.

He dived past the Haas at Turn 7, but on the exit appeared to squeeze the Haas towards the wall, the pair making contact and Magnussen’s left-front wing endplate getting damaged.

Magnussen then barged Verstappen out of the way at the tight Turn 11 left just before the Anderson Bridge, but the world champion made his way by on the next lap.

The Turn 7 incident was later investigated by the race stewards, but no penalty was given despite Magnussen being forced to pit to have his front wing changed by the officials just before the safety car appeared.

Verstappen by that point had also passed Yuki Tsunoda before getting stuck behind Sebastian Vettel and running over 20 seconds off the race lead.

That gap was erased by the neutralisation, after which Verstappen jumped Vettel and Pierre Gasly to run seventh by one-quarter distance.

But again he got stuck, this time behind Alonso and he remained there until the Alpine retired ahead.

Verstappen was soon all over Norris’s rear but did not look likely to a quick pass before the Albon and Ocon VSCs – at the end of the second named nearly overtaking Norris when trying to get an early restart jump and falling back.

It was into the gap Hamilton slotted, but his left-front endplate was damaged, which Verstappen reported over the radio in the hope of the Mercedes being black-and-white flagged.

Now at just past the halfway point, Russell was finally setting purple sectors on his slicks, albeit way off the back of the pack.

This triggered a wave of cars to come into the pits, with Tsunoda among the first to do so and take mediums.

But he pushed too hard on his second full lap on the slicks and smashed into the Turn 10 barrier, triggering another safety car.

Perez and Leclerc had already come into the pits – the Ferrari doing so first on lap 34 – before the race was neutralised again on lap 36 so Tsunoda’s wrecked car could be recovered.

Sainz, Hamilton and Verstappen had done likewise, with the Mercedes getting a new nose fitted, while Norris stayed out.

He came in under the safety car, which preserved his lead over Verstappen and they were the centre of attention at the lap 40 restart as Perez and Leclerc, weaving to build temperature into their mediums, easily restored their advantage over Sainz.

On the restart lap, Verstappen immediately moved to pass Norris after the Turn 6 kink down the track’s first long acceleration zone following the corner where Zhou and Latifi had clashed so long before.

But his car appeared to bottom out as he went offline and the world champion locked both his front wheels, severely damaging his mediums.

He pitted at the end of the lap and fell to P13, with the action at the front hotting up as Leclerc fired his slicks up to temperature better than Perez.

He put the Red Bull driver under severe pressure for nearly ten laps, with it now clear the race would end at the two-hour time limit and not go the scheduled distance.

Perez reported engine driveability issues under braking and while accelerating out of corners, which compound his attempts to break free from Leclerc’s lost attention.

This became even harder when DRS was finally activated on lap 43 and here Leclerc’s thrilling pursuit began.

Time and again he feigned to Perez’s inside at every major stop around the Marina Bay track – locking up briefly at Turn 15 on lap 45.

The next two times by there, Perez had major lock-ups too, but he was soaking up the pressure well.

Leclerc got the gap down to 0.4 seconds at the end of lap 47, but having to catch a massive oversteer slide at Turn 16 meant he lost critical momentum and dropped out of DRS range.

He never regained it thereafter, a lap 52 Turn 16 near-off finally breaking his pursuit as Perez’s lead shot to 2.6 seconds.

The was still work for the leader to do as he had been placed under investigation following the second safety car restart, apparently for dropping too far back from ten lengths allowed to the pace car too early, something Hamilton suggested Perez also did at the first safety car restart.

He therefore charged to a winning margin of 7.5 seconds over what was a final distance of 59 laps, with Ferrari telling Leclerc after he crossed the line second that Perez could be facing a pair of five-second penalties if found to be at fault in the investigation.

Sainz took a distant third having never had his teammate’s pace at any point, with Norris also lonely in fourth once Verstappen had erred, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who had also stopped under the safety car and so gained against his Aston Martin rivals.

Lance Stroll was the top green car home – ahead of Verstappen who had put in yet another fight back now on softs, rising back to the points over the concluding laps.

It looked as if he might stay ninth for the finish as he was bottled up again, this time behind Hamilton before the seven-time world champion made another mistake.

While sandwiched between Verstappen and Vettel up ahead, Hamilton tried to pass the second Aston on lap 57, but slid deep having taken to a still-wet part of the track approaching Turn 8.

This allowed Verstappen through and he got Vettel on the last lap, with Hamilton finishing ninth ahead of Gasly.

Russell finished at the rear of the pack behind Valtteri Bottas (11th), who he had lightly hit in a passing lunge during the early stages.

Magnussen took P12 ahead of his teammate Mick Schumacher, who Russell also collided with – this time at Turn 1 just after the second safety car restart in an incident that was investigated but not deemed worthy of punishment.

Russell stopped four times, with a late final service for a second set of softs that he used to set the race’s fastest lap at one minute, 46.458 seconds, for which he will not get a bonus point as he finished P14.

So congratulations to Sergio Perez in winning the Singapore Grand Prix with a solid drive all night by holding off Charles Leclerc. This victory was even more impressive than his Monaco Grand Prix triumph earlier this season as he had pressure all race long with so many safety cars. The post-race investigation is a worry but his dive is well deserved.

Singapore Grand Prix, race results:
1 Sergio Perez Red Bull 2:02:15.238
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +7.595s
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +15.305s
4 Lando Norris McLaren +26.133s
5 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +58.282s
6 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +61.330s
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull +63.825s
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +65.032s
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +66.515s
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +74.576s
11 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +93.844s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas +97.610s
13 Mick Schumacher Haas +1 lap
14 George Russell Mercedes +2 laps
– Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri DNF
– Esteban Ocon Alpine DNF
– Alex Albon Williams DNF
– Fernando Alonso Alpine DNF
– Nicholas Latifi Williams DNF
– Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo DNF

7 thoughts to “Perez holds off Leclerc to win Singapore Grand Prix”

  1. Singapore Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Sergio Perez held off Charles Leclerc for his first-ever win on the streets of Singapore, while Carlos Sainz completed the podium and Max Verstappen finished seventh in an action-packed Singapore Grand Prix. The race winner is however under investigation for a Safety Car infringement…

    Heavy rain forced a delay of over an hour, with the formation lap beginning at 2105 local time, and although the rain had ceased, the surface was still slippery for the start of the race, when pole-sitter Leclerc lost the lead to Perez into Turn 1 and Sainz easily pried P3 off Hamilton, who went wide into Turn 1.

    Verstappen lost five places to fall to P12 at the start but he made three up by Lap 9 when the first Safety Car was deployed for Nicholas Latifi and Zhou Guanyu’s collision. Fernando Alonso’s stoppage brought out a Virtual Safety Car on Lap 20, with George Russell then becoming the first driver to switch from intermediates to mediums.

    Russell’s improving pace triggered drivers to begin swapping for slick tyres on Lap 35, but on the following tour Yuki Tsunoda went straight on into the barriers at Turn 10 to bring out the second Safety Car, before which most of the drivers had stopped for slicks. Crucially, the McLaren drivers hadn’t; 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.

    The race restarted on Lap 39 for Perez to continue leading. Verstappen meanwhile suffered a heavy lock-up in an attempt pass Leclerc, and was briefly bumped to last place, before George Russell and Mick Schumacher picked up punctures after making brief contact into Turn 1.

    With the two-hour mark approaching, this race would be finished by the timer and Perez had 26 minutes to hold off a fast-charging Leclerc, when DRS was enabled on the 43rd lap. What followed was a stunning chase for victory, Perez unerring in defence as he held off the Monegasque driver by over seven seconds at the chequered flag.

    Perez would however find himself under investigation for passing the Safety Car just before the second restart – the summons coming after the race.

    Sainz completed the podium for Ferrari having passed Hamilton at the start, while Norris and Ricciardo beneffited from their late Safety Car stops and finished a respective P4 and P5.

    Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel capitalised on errors from Hamilton and Verstappen to finish sixth and eighth, respectively, in a massive result for Aston Martin.

    Hamilton, who had previously gone straight on into the barriers on Lap 33, locked up in an attempt to pass Vettel in the final two minutes of the race and dropped to ninth. That gave Verstappen P8, despite the Dutchman having locked up heavily in the final Safety Car restart. The Red Bull driver then pried P7 off Vettel with a pass on the very last lap of the race.

    Behind Hamilton, Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 for AlphaTauri with Valtteri Bottas (11th) unable to take the final point despite taking softs for the final Safety Car restart.

    Kevin Magnussen, who had to pit with damage from a Lap 1 collision in avoidance of Verstappen, ended up 12th, with Schumacher finishing up 13th after picking up that aforementioned puncture in defence from Russell.

    Russell rounded out the standings in 14th for Mercedes having started in the pit lane, the Briton pitting four times and posting the fastest lap of the race.

    There were six retirements from the race, with Zhou and Latifi colliding early on before Alonso stopped with an engine issue on Lap 20.

    Albon crashed and retired in the pits on Lap 26, before Esteban Ocon’s engine gave up to make it a double retirement for Alpine, and Tsunoda crashed out to bring out the final Safety Car.

    The gang of grey clouds circling over Marina Bay signalled the obvious, and soon after they unleashed a torrent of monsoonal showers, the long-awaited 2022 Singapore Grand Prix would be delayed by just over an hour with formation laps to begin at 2105 local time.

    Qualifying, a scintillating wet-dry shootout on Saturday, felt so far away: Max Verstappen settled for P8 on the grid after aborting his Q3 laps; Charles Leclerc took pole ahead of Sergio Perez; Lewis Hamilton qualified third ahead of Carlos Sainz; and George Russell would start from the pit lane after taking new power unit parts under parc ferme conditions

    While the rain had stopped for the laps to the grid, conditions were still challenging; Verstappen had locked up and gone beyond the confines of Turn 7. The surface still slick, drivers lined up on intermediate tyres, the cross-over point to slicks to be crucial in the hunt for victory at Marina Bay.

    “Number 350, let’s make it a special one,” said P5 starter Fernando Alonso as the field lined up for 61 gruelling laps. At 2109 local time, the first Singapore Grand Prix since 2019 was under way.

    Perez got the best start, jumping Leclerc for the lead while Hamilton went wide avoiding Sainz and falling to fourth behind the Spaniard at Turn 1, spray and sparks galore. As for Verstappen, anti-stall saw him fall to 12th, and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu also lost four places to P18 at the start.

    The championship leader regained places off Kevin Magnussen and Stroll for P10 by the start of Lap 2, and soon eased past Yuki Tsunoda for P9.

    Chasing Sainz for P3, Hamilton – hinting that he wanted used rather than fresh inters for the start – lamented over the radio: “I told you about these tyres, in the future you need to listen to me. No grip.”

    As the ticker passed Lap 5, Leclerc was stalking Perez for the lead, with Hamilton slowly falling out of range of Sainz. Verstappen, meanwhile, was a pit stop’s distance behind his team mate as he chased Sebastian Vettel for P8.

    Lap 8 saw Latifi and Zhou scrap for P18, the Williams driver cutting off the Alfa Romeo on the entry to Turn 5 and forcing Zhou into the wall. Exasperated at another DNF, Zhou came to a stop at the exit of the corner and Latifi limped back to the pits to retire his car.

    Russell and Valtteri Bottas had also come together in the fight for P15, the former Mercedes driver 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.

    Nobody bar Magnussen, who picked up front wing endplate damage in avoidance of Verstappen on Lap 1, took the chance to pit – but the Haas driver had unfortunately taken his stop just before the caution was deployed.

    The Safety Car, which had bunched up the field – much to the relief of the likes of chasers Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz and Leclerc – 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.

    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 a tougher obstacle, and that proved to be the case with the Alpine driver keeping the Red Bull behind all the way past Lap 20.

    The race had turned eerily calm 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 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.

    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.

    The VSC period continued, Hamilton hounding Sainz and Verstappen doing the same to Norris. The 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.

    Well, 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”. Verstappen, 40 seconds off the lead, reasoned that the Mercedes driver’s front wing was going to “fall off”.

    The other Mercedes was making ground: Russell was setting purple sectors on his yellow-walled medium tyres, which triggered AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly to pit for mediums, Leclerc to box one lap later on Lap 35 – his stop lasting 5.3s as the Monegasque missed the mark – and Hamilton to follow suit for a new nose and mediums as he was stationary for 13.8 seconds. Perez reacted on the following tour, as did Sainz.

    The undercut is normally crucial when slicks come into play but Leclerc’s early stop didn’t pay off thanks to a slow out-lap; Perez emerged over six seconds in the lead.

    Verstappen was another medium-tyre-taker on Lap 36 but Norris, ahead of him, stayed out, and that choice paid off for the McLaren driver when Tsunoda locked up at Turn 10 and brought out the Safety Car.

    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 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. 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 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.

    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 blazing ahead of Sainz and Norris, the leader shrugging off a couple of lock-ups on Laps 45 and 46 while his pursuer 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 too far behind the Safety Car.

    In the other Red Bull, Verstappen had passed Schumacher, Magnussen and Bottas to make it into P10, with Gasly his next victim on Lap 50 – with 13 minutes remaining. Hamilton, who had an unflinching pair of Aston Martins ahead of him, was up next.

    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.

    With 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.

  2. Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez uncertain on safety car infringement as Singapore Grand Prix investigation looms. has the news story.

    Sergio Perez says he doesn’t understand why he’s facing an stewards investigation for a Formula 1 safety car infringement after taking victory in the Singapore Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver grabbed the lead into the first corner from polesitter Charles Leclerc and never lost it to complete a dominant performance for his second win of the season.

    In a race interrupted by multiple safety cars and virtual safety cars, in the second full safety car Perez was placed under investigation with the FIA stewards for a possible rules infringement.

    Perez is suspected of not keeping within 10 car lengths of the safety car during one of the safety car restarts.

    During the Singapore GP, the FIA announced the incident would be investigated after the race, as Perez held on to take victory by 7.595s from Leclerc. Perez’s hearing with the FIA stewards will take place at 11.55pm local time.

    Reacting to the stewards investigation after the race in the parc ferme interviews, Perez said: “I have no idea, what went on, they just told me that I was under investigation so I had to increase the gap so that’s what we did.”

    Reflecting on his performance, Perez rates it has his best race of his F1 career, while both he and Leclerc ensured the title fight against Verstappen continues into the Japanese GP next weekend.

    “It was certainly I think my best performance, I controlled the race, although the warm up was pretty difficult [with the tyres],” he explained.

    “The last few laps were so intense, I didn’t really feel it that much in the car but when I got out of it I felt it. I pushed. I gave it everything for the win today.

    “I think it would be nicer for Max to get it [the title] in Japan, and for the team, it would be very special for Honda, so all in all a fantastic day.”

    Perez remains third in the F1 drivers’ standings, closing to two points behind Leclerc, while he is 106 points off leader Verstappen.

  3. Williams Formula 1 driver Nicholas Latifi has received a five-place grid penalty for Japan after his collision with Zhou Guanyu in the Singapore Grand Prix.

    On lap 7 of a wet-to-dry race, Alfa Romeo driver Zhou attempted to find a way past Latifi in a battle for 18th when he tried to pass the Canadian around the outside of Turn 5.

    But Latifi appeared to squeeze Zhou into the wall, with the contact between the pair wrecking the Alfa Romeo’s front right corner, forcing the Chinese driver to retire from the race on the spot.

    Latifi also hit the wall as a result of the collision and while he attempted to carry on with a new front wing, the Canadian too had to retire under the ensuing safety car.

    On the team radio Zhou was livid with Latifi and said the Williams driver had put him into the wall and after the investigation, the FIA stewards agreed with that assessment.

    In their verdict, the Singapore stewards gave Latifi a five-place grid penalty for next week’s Japanese Grand Prix as well as two penalty points on his licence, taking Latifi’s total to three penalty points over the past 12 months.

    “The Stewards reviewed the video evidence and determined that LAT was predominantly to blame for the collision,” the stewards’ decision read.

    “ZHO was attempting to overtake LAT on a straight approaching turn 5 and had sufficient room, taking the normal racing line. LAT pulled to the left, not leaving one car width to ZHO and resulting in significant contact between the cars.”

    The Singapore Grand Prix proved a weekend to forget for Williams, with Alex Albon also retiring after contact with the barriers.

    It was the first of several incidents in a race which was predominantly run on intermediates after a rain delay of over an hour.

    A late change to slicks also caught out AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, while both Alpine cars of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon retired with suspected power unit failures.


  4. Defending champion Max Verstappen blames anti-stall for poor Singapore Grand Prix start. provides the details.

    Max Verstappen says hitting the anti-stall during his start for Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix after releasing the clutch led to his poor getaway off the line.

    The Red Bull driver fell from eighth on the grid to 12th by Turn 1 after his car almost went into anti-stall mode.

    He fought back through the pack but spun while attempting a pass on Lando Norris on lap 40, forcing him to pit again and returning to the track in 13th.

    Verstappen eventually finished one place higher than he started, but said it is “not where we want to be.”

    He also said his torrid Sunday was partly down to his struggles in qualifying, which saw him forced to abort what could have been a pole lap as he was running low on fuel.

    Verstappen said: “Yeah, I dropped the clutch and hit anti-stall, so I need to analyse why that happened, but of course you lose a lot of spots.

    “From there, I tried to pass a few people, some worked, but then you get stuck in a little bit of a train. Everyone has their tyres up to temperature so it’s really hard to follow.

    “Then of course we were a bit lucky, some people had a few mistakes.

    “We were in fifth, tried to go for fourth to pass Lando and as soon as I got alongside him I braked, not even late, but I bottomed out because I was struggling already a lot there with bottoming and being offline it was probably even more bumpy.

    “So as soon as I braked, the front wheels jumped into the air, and that was it, I just went straight on.

    “I had to box again because of the massive vibrations, put new tyres on and come from last back into the points.

    “It’s not where we want to be, but it already of course starts from yesterday, you put yourself in a spot like that and it can either work brilliantly, you can drive back to the front, or it’s very frustrating, like we had.”

    Asked whether passing Sebastian Vettel for seventh on the last lap was any consolation, Verstappen added: “Better than eighth, but it’s not what I’m here for, not with a car like that, what we showed in practice, it’s just incredibly messy.”

  5. Sergio Perez has kept his Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix victory despite receiving a penalty and a reprimand for two separate safety car rule infringements.

    The Red Bull driver faced a stewards investigation after winning the Singapore race having been suspected of not keeping to within 10 car lengths of the safety car during the final full safety car period.

    Perez, who won by 7.595s from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, was handed a five-second penalty and a reprimand for the incident, keeping the victory.

    The stewards offered two different decisions.

    For the reprimand, the stewards said they “do not accept that the conditions were such as to make it impossible or dangerous for PER to have maintained the required less than 10 car length gap.”

    But added that “nevertheless, we took into account the wet conditions and the difficulties highlighted by PER as mitigatory circumstances for this incident.”

    In the second decision, the stewards said that Perez had ignored a warning from race direction to close the gap, which is why he was handed the five-second penalty.

    “Car 11 was the lead car on lap 36 during the second safety car period in the race. It was admitted that while the lights of the safety car were still on, PER failed to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car between turn 13 and turn 14,” the stewards’ document read.

    “This occurred notwithstanding the fact that the Race Director had issued a warning to the team that PER was not respecting the less than 10 car lengths regulation between turns 9 and 10. The team passed that warning on to PER.

    “We refer to Doc 56 by which we imposed a reprimand on PER for a breach of the same regulation during the first safety car deployment during the race. As this was the second breach of Article 55.10 by PER during the race and followed an express warning from the Race Director, we determined to impose a 5-second time penalty on PER.”

    Perez explained the incident and what he told the stewards during the post-race press conference: “There was a bit of miscommunication.

    “On the places where I could keep up with him [the safety car], he was super slow. On the places where I could not keep up with him, he was fast. So it was a bit of miscommunication there.

    “But I think these conditions are not normal. It’s fully understandable that the conditions that we were in, and we were facing, especially in the final sector, were super tricky. The stewards were pleased with my explanation, and they understood it.”

    Perez remains third in the F1 drivers’ standings, two points behind Leclerc, and 106 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen who missed out on his first chance to seal the world title finishing seventh.


  6. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc “surprised” at how Sergio Perez surged clear in Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix closing stages. has the full details.

    Charles Leclerc admitted he was surprised how Sergio Perez could pull so far clear in the closing stages of Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix after breaking free of DRS range.

    The Ferrari driver had looked poised to launch a challenge for the lead against Perez after the final safety car period of the Marina Bay race.

    But, despite shadowing Perez for several laps once DRS had been activated, and even looking close to attempt to a pass at one point, his assault fell flat once Leclerc fell out of range.

    As Perez pushed on to try to open up an advantage to cover off any potential post-race penalty for his breach of the safety car rules, Leclerc had nothing in response.

    That upturn in pace proved crucial to Perez as he was later handed a five-second penalty for falling more than 10 car lengths behind the safety car and, had he not pulled clear, Leclerc would’ve inherited the win.

    Speaking about that phase of the race, Leclerc said that, once Perez had got in clear air, then his tyres coming alive gave him a big edge.

    “I was quite surprised because, as soon as I lost the DRS, I think it was exactly at the time when also Checo’s tyres started to work properly,” he said. “Unfortunately, then I lost it a little bit.

    “But yeah, before that, everything was really on the limit. I mean, in the dirty air, in conditions like this, the slightest mistake, you pay it big time. So I did a few mistakes.

    “I was just trying to be as close as possible because I had to make basically the overtaking on the straight.

    “I couldn’t really go on the braking zone and brake later because I didn’t really know how was the track, on the inside. And I didn’t want to take that risk.

    “I had one lap where I was really close. And I actually thought about going in the inside and braking later. But for me, it was not worth it. So I was just waiting for the right opportunity. But unfortunately it didn’t arrive at the end.”

    Leclerc suggested that the performance of the Ferrari against the Red Bull over the Singapore GP showed that they were quicker at different stages of stints.

    “There’s things that we can analyse from this race because Red Bull seems to be very, very good after six/seven laps, and we are very, very good in the first six/seven laps – we’ll look into that,” he said.

    Leclerc’s hopes of going for the win from pole were hurt at the start when he made a poor getaway and dropped back behind Perez.

    Asked what happened, Leclerc said: “I don’t really know yet. Whether it’s me who did a mistake in the way I do things, or if it’s something else, we’ll have to analyse it.

    “The only thing I felt is that I had a little bit of wheelspin, and lost it, and I saw Checo had an amazing start. So yeah, that’s the way it went.”

  7. Mercedes driver’s Lewis Hamilton won’t “punish himself” for Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix mistake. has the news story.

    Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton says that he won’t punish himself for the mistake that ruined his Singapore Grand Prix.

    Hamilton slid straight on and nosed into the barrier while chasing Carlos Sainz shortly after half distance.

    He was able to get going again, but his front wing was damaged, and he was forced to come in and change it.

    He was able to combine the stop with a switch to slicks, but the whole episode cost him a lot of time, and dropped him from fourth to ninth place.

    He eventually finished the race in the same position.

    “I knew it was all over from then,” said Hamilton when asked by about the error. “But these things happen. I mean, I’m not going to punish myself for a mistake.

    “I think it was very tricky conditions I would say for everyone, and I think our car, whatever the problems that we have with this car, it’s magnified in the rain when it’s wet. A very, very hard car to drive in the rain.”

    Asked if like Max Verstappen he lost control when the car bottomed out, he said: “I don’t really know. I will check on the data.

    “I don’t want to blame it on that, but the car was bottoming a lot, and obviously had the locking. So I don’t know where the locking came from.”

    Hamilton initially thought he’d got away without wing damage.

    “For the first few corners it felt normal, and then eventually sparks started to show, and I think then it just failed.”

    Hamilton’s race started to go awry at the start, when he lost out to Sainz at the first corner. He said on the radio that he’d been pushed wide, but insisted that he wasn’t trying to get the Spaniard penalised.

    “It’s fine,” he said. “Racing. The only reason I mentioned it is because I didn’t want anyone to think I just drove off track, because there’s a bollard to the far right, but I was actually forced wide, so that was the only reason.”

    The move by Sainz meant that Hamilton was stuck behind the Ferrari driver, and he was left frustrated as he lost contact with leaders Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc.

    “Yeah, that kind of difficult start, and then obviously getting stuck behind Carlos. I don’t know why he was so slow. But obviously not quick enough to get past him in these conditions, and then just sitting behind him.

    “But I think I could do similar times to the guys ahead, but because I was stuck behind him, I couldn’t. I think if I was third I would have would have kept with the guys up ahead.”

    Hamilton also explained a message to the team early in the race, when he said “I told you about these tyres” and complained of a lack of grip.

    “I did laps to the grid on the scrubbed [inter], and put the new [inter] on, and it was terrible. It several laps for temperatures to come up. And we can’t fire our tyres off as quick as the others for some reason.

    “Both on wets and on slicks. So we don’t really understand why. But then maybe there’s something going on there in terms of temperatures, because then on the long run in the dry we’ve got good longevity.”

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