Sergio Perez

Singapore GP Review: Perez outclasses Leclerc to victory

Sergio Perez owned the streets of Singapore GP in a race dotted with safety cars and DNF’s, fending off a charging Ferrari of Charles Leclerc at P2.

The latter’s teammate Carlos Sainz crossed the line for the final podium step. Lando Norris came home best of the rest with a P4 finish followed by outgoing teammate Daniel Ricciardo in P5, McLaren’s best result of the season.

Lance Stroll finished 6th with teammate Sebastian Vettel, a five-time Marina Bay winner, in P8. Sandwiched between the Astons, Max Verstappen battled a series of mistakes all throughout the race, finishing P7. Lewis Hamilton took P9 after what can only be defined as a disastrous race for the 7-time WDC.

Lewis Hamilton's crash
Lewis Hamilton’s crash into the barrier

Pierre Gasly rounded up the final points place followed by an Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas. Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher took the chequered at P12 and 13 while George Russell was the last of finishers at P14, despite a pit lane start with new engine components.

Among the numerous DNF’s, Fernando Alonso, on his 350th Grand Prix start, could not finish the Singapore GP owing to an engine issue. The Alpine of Esteban Ocon was also unlucky to be one of the other cars not finishing the race, along with Yuki Tsunoda having a Hamilton-like shunt that ended his race. The two Williams’ of Alex Albon and Nicolas Latifi come under the list of non-finishers, the latter making a blatant shunt with Zhou Guanyu taking both of them out.

Race Result:

Race Result_Singapore GP

Perez’s Drive of his life at the Singapore GP

The race involved a topsy-turvy turn of events, being the most physically demanding race in the calendar, where even world champions like Verstappen, Hamilton and Alonso had faltered. Yet, Sergio Perez bested everyone else on the streets of Singapore, nailing the start and leading every lap of the race. But it shall only bode well to say there were mistakes on both Leclerc and Perez’s parts. The Mexican’s lockups and slips were saved by Leclerc making considerable mistakes of his own.

Perez and Leclerc's battle
Perez and Leclerc’s battle

At the last safety car restart, Perez was slapped with a 5s penalty for a safety car infringement (the fact of which was investigated after the race). Even with that, the no. 11 driver was able to pull ahead a humongous 7s lead over Leclerc in P2 in the closing minutes of the Singapore GP, thereby securing his win regardless of said penalty.

Winners and losers of the Singapore GP:

The Singapore GP was an absolute battleground of chaos, with drivers tumbling down the grid and other not even being able to keep their wheels on track. Let’s take a look at who took the cake and who took the mud.

Winner: Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez wins in Singapore

A no brainer, Perez comes off the biggest winner after what can only be described as the best drive of his career. From having an up-to-the-pace qualifying to fending off a rather quick Charles Leclerc while stretching a gap for a potential penalty, the race conditions made it an even sweeter victory for the Red Bull driver.

Loser: Mercedes

Mercedes had their worst team result since Azerbaijan 2021. Given their performances in free practice sessions, the Silver Arrows were instant paddock favourites for the Singapore GP, but their sharp decline in pace throughout the weekend and an abysmal race from both Hamilton and Russell meant they could only take a total of 2 points. If not for the countless crashes and unnecessary pit stops the two drivers had to encounter, Singapore were on track to be a far better weekend for the team.

Winner: McLaren

McLaren_Daniel Ricciardo

McLaren came into the weekend not with a performance but only a livery upgrade. Yet they were best of the rest at P4 and P5, bagging the all crucial 22 points that have now set them 4 points ahead of Alpine in the constructors battle for 4th. Regardless of Ricciardo’s lacklustre qualifying at P17, he kept his car at the right place and at the right time to claim his best finish of the season, in addition to Norris’ consistent drive at the Singapore GP.

Loser: Alpine

Esteban Ocon's engine failure
Esteban Ocon ‘s engine failure

Alpine were among the top mid-field teams showing considerable pace all throughout the practice sessions, but failed to provide for during qualifying. Ocon was eliminated in Q1 albeit with Alonso up in P5, but having their race marred with mechanical issues meant both drivers had to retire. Even Alonso had been vocal about the ‘unacceptable’ finishing rate of the Alpine.

Winner: Aston Martin

Aston Martin were not exactly favourites for the Singapore GP, but they made the most of their situation and bagged their best team result since last season. A consistent showing from their two drivers (especially with Stroll not strolling into the walls like most expected), Aston Martin took their first double points finish in a while.

Loser: Max Verstappen

Verstappen Lockup
Verstappen’s lockup that forced him to pit, dropping him down the order

Usually not where you’d find him this season, but Verstappen’s Singapore GP performance can only be described as disastrous. From a botched qualifying run (although it was more to the team’s blame than his) that left him P8, a terrible start dropping down two places, to having multiple off-track trips throughout the race as well as a lockup-induced tire flat-spot, forcing him to pit unnecessarily and dragging him down the order; the defending champion surely had an eventful but his worst weekend of the year. That said, an under-the-radar performance won’t really affect his 2nd title as the Dutchman looks to seal the deal, come the Japanese GP weekend.

The battle between Hamilton Verstappen and Norris

The Singapore GP is never really the easiest of tracks to overtake on, but the strategy battles aplenty and occasional safety car periods spice the race ever so much. What’s even better, is that Formula 1 goes to the absolutely fabulous Suzuka circuit in Japan after 3 years this weekend!

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