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Perez wins entertaining Singapore Grand Prix


To secure his second title - or first depending on the reports from the FIA's forensics accounts team - Max Verstappen must today out-point Charles Leclerc by 22 points and Sergio Perez by 13.

With his two rivals starting from the front row and he from the fourth, the Dutchman will have his work cut out.

One can imagine Stefano and the boys sitting around their monitors praying that Leclerc can get his act together while at the same time hoping that Verstappen encounters an issue... anything to keep the championship alive that little bit longer.

Despite their determination to spice things up, Stefano and his team still don't get the fact that it is the unexpected that usually provides the thrills, that and the anticipation of the unexpected.

Today, for example, we have the threat from the Weather Gods. Then there's Max starting from eighth and George Russell from the pitlane.

We've seen incident throughout the weekend so it can be assumed there will be more this evening - whatever the weather - while the various battles - Alpine and McLaren for example - add some genuine spice.

Sainz will no doubt be charged with riding shotgun for his teammate, a role that may well be given to Sergio also, while Magnussen, Tsunoda and Gasly are at the back of the leading pack, in addition to putting pressure from those ahead they will be under attack from the Aston Martins, the Alfa Romeos, Schumacher and Ricciardo.

Just over an hour before the start it begins to rain, and while it is expected to stop it will leave the track wet, and as we saw in qualifying yesterday it tends to remain wet for some time.

Alonso, who this weekend becomes the most experienced driver in the sport's history, says that yesterday's qualifying was one of the hardest of his career, and with today's conditions somewhat similar that probably tells you all you need to know.

Even a relative newcomer such as Norris admits that today is a day when risks will need to be taken.

At which point Race Control announces that the whole start procedure has been delayed by 30 minutes due to the conditions, which have worsened.

In terms of strategy, according to Pirelli this should have been one-stopper, involving starting on the medium tyres and running them until between laps 22 and 28, before going onto the hard until the flag. An alternative would be to run the soft for between 18 and 24 laps, before switching to hard. However, all that has gone out of the window.

At 19:30 Race Control announces that there will be a further update in 15 minutes... we've been here before haven't we.

At 19:52 the rain stops, as Race Control reports a 20% chance of further rain during the race.

At 19:55 Race Control announces that the start procedure will begin at 20:05, the pit lane will open at 20:25, close at 20:35 and the formation lap will get underway at 21:05, an hour later than originally scheduled.

The pitlane opens as scheduled, but there is no rush to action, certainly from the drivers, for while the mechanics take their place on the grid the cars remain in their garages.

Eventually the cars begin to emerge, first Stroll, then Schumacher, Verstappen, Magnussen and Zhou.

As more drivers head out, most are on full wets, though Verstappen pits for Inters. However, an early excursion down the escape road at Turn 7 suggests he might have made the switch too soon.

Ahead of the formation lap Race Control once again warns of a 20% chance of rain.

There's a late precautionary brake bleed for Verstappen but Adrian Newey says it isn't of concern but due to his sudden stop at the end of Q3.

In the excitement we forgot to mention that Russell is starting from the pitlane after taking on a new engine overnight.

Ahead of the formation lap the air temperature is 27 degrees C while the track temperature is 30 degrees. Humidity is 82%.

Everyone is starting on the Inters. All are on fresh Inters, bar the AlphaTauri pair.

They head off on the formation lap, all getting away cleanly. There is still plenty of standing water.

"Number 350, let's make it a good one," Alonso is told.

The grid forms.

They're away!

Perez and Leclerc both get off the line well, while, further back, Gasly goes around the outside of Alonso.

Into Turn 1, Perez leads Leclerc, while Sainz is on the inside of Hamilton, with Norris behind, ahead of Gasly and Alonso. Verstappen has had a dreadful start and has dropped 12th.

As he battles with Sainz, Hamilton, courtesy of a little nudge from the Spaniard, goes wide and misses the first corner,

Alonso battles with Gasly, while Verstappen and Stroll appear to touch and Albon spins off at Turn 7.

What with the spray and the jostling for position it is somewhat chaotic, and throughout the field there appear to be little clashes including Verstappen and Magnussen.

At the end of lap 1, it's: Perez, Leclerc, Sainz, Hamilton, Norris, Alonso, Gasly, Vettel, Tsunoda and Stroll. Verstappen has dropped to 12th while Russell is 19th.

"Magnussen has the end plate loose," reports Verstappen.

Verstappen makes short work of Stroll to claim 10th as Hamilton declares that he has "no grip".

Lap 2 sees Leclerc post fastest lap (2:02.214) as he trails Perez by 0.990s.

"I told you about these tyres," says Hamilton who is believed to have wanted to start on full wets. "In future you have to listen to me."

Verstappen passes Tsunoda for ninth, as Russell nails Zhou for 18th.

Zhou reports a lot of understeer as Russell passes Latifi for 17th.

"I'm struggling to get out of corners with the drivability," reports Ocon.

"As you can tell it's not drying very quick," says Norris as Verstappen hangs on to the rear of Vettel's Aston Martin.

As Magnussen is shown the black and orange flag for that endplate, Verstappen shows the first signs of frustration as he fails to make a mark on Vettel.

"I'm much quicker than them but I can't catch them," says Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Zhou has stopped at Turn 5, while Latifi has a puncture. Replay shows the two collided following a rash overtake from the Williams driver and then hit the wall for good measure.

Magnussen pits.

The Safety Car is deployed in order that Zhou's car can be removed, as Latifi arrives back at the pits where he climbs from his car.

As the Safety Car takes its place at the front of the field, nobody takes the opportunity to pit.

Meanwhile, another replay reveals an incident involving Bottas and Russell which sees the Mercedes head off down the escape road.

The Safety Car is withdrawn at the end of lap 10.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Singapore here.


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1. Posted by habentsen, 02/10/2022 21:54

"More races without DRS please. Really fun to watch drivers having to work if they wanted to overtake."

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2. Posted by Greg, 02/10/2022 16:16

"Excellent race. Well deserved win. But investigation after the race.. BS"

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