Pérez comes out on top in a brutal Singapore GP

Pérez comes out on top in a brutal Singapore GP
Race winner Sergio Pérez of Mexico celebrates with his team after the F1 Grand Prix Singapore at Marina Bay Circuit. (Photo: Clive Mason / Getty Images)

Sergio Pérez comes out on top, old rivals almost find themselves out of the points and McLaren make a comeback.

Formula 1’s return to Singapore, for the first time since 2019, shook up the grid for Round 17 of the championship.

The race got off to a slow start, with heavy rain delaying procedures. Lights went out about 70 minutes later, with the whole field beginning on intermediates in the slightly damp conditions.

Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc had a good start off the line, but it was Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez who launched off from second and quickly made the jump on the Ferrari.

Pérez put up a fight worthy of his Driver of the Day award, holding off Leclerc and the rest of the field to cross the line first.

Sergio Pérez of Mexico and Red Bull Racing celebrate finishing in first position during the F1 Grand Prix Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on 2 October 2022 in Singapore. (Photo: Peter Fox / Getty Images)

Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz completed the podium, staying ahead of the McLaren and Mercedes cars.

Despite having the opportunity to clinch his second title, championship leader Max Verstappen was off form this weekend, not performing in the way spectators have come to expect from the Dutchman.

An unusually poor strategy call from Red Bull saw Verstappen qualify eighth on Saturday, and he continued to struggle during the race on Sunday, but managed to secure seventh place.

The tight, twisting circuit, combined with the wet conditions, saw cars getting a bit too close for comfort to the walls, with several drivers finding themselves in the barriers — out of the 20 competitors, six retired due to technical problems and collisions.

With the Drag Reduction System only coming into effect by lap 43, much of the race was a slog around the 5.063km Yas Marina Circuit, which gives very little room for overtaking.

With Pérez on the top step followed by the two Ferrari drivers, McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will be happy with fourth and fifth place, respectively. Lance Stroll of Aston Martin came in sixth, followed by Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton and Pierre Gasly rounded up the points finishers.

Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen narrowly missed out on points in 11th and 12th, followed by Mick Schumacher and George Russell.

The Singapore track was unforgiving for some, with six cars being forced to retire. Zhou Guanyu was taken out by Nicholas Latifi, who swept across the track into the other driver on lap 8. Alexander Albon crashed out on lap 26, followed by Yuki Tsunoda on lap 36 after going off into the barriers. Both Alpine cars of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso retired due to engine issues.

Sergio Pérez of Mexico and Red Bull Racing during the F1 Grand Prix Singapore at Marina Bay Circuit on 2 October 2022 in Singapore. (Photo: Peter Fox / Getty Images)

Red Bull

Verstappen had early contact with the Haas of Magnussen, but moved to seventh in the next few laps, but safety cars and lockups saw the Dutchman fall back out of the points. Lap 59 saw three world champions fight for position, with Verstappen taking Lewis Hamilton for eighth and then Vettel for seventh position and six points in the final lap. The world champion maintains his lead in the standings with 341 points after this weekend.

Pérez held off the Ferraris for most of the race, working to extend the gap to Leclerc.

This gap became even more important as the Mexican found himself slapped with a five-second penalty for a safety car infringement. With Leclerc crossing the line 7.595 seconds later, Pérez was able to hold on to his winner’s trophy.

Sergio Pérez during the F1 Grand Prix Singapore at Marina Bay Circuit on 2 October 2022 in Marina Bay, Singapore. (Photo: Michael Potts / Gallo Images)


Pole-sitter Leclerc lost his first place to Pérez into turn one, and the rest of the race saw the Monegasque on the hunt for the Red Bull. Leclerc pitted on lap 35 in a bid to undercut Pérez, but a slow pitstop and out-lap saw the Mexican emerge over six seconds ahead. Despite the Red Bull driver’s lead, Leclerc had the opportunity to snatch first place due to Pérez’s time penalty, but the last few laps saw the Ferrari driver slip further and further off Pérez’s tail. Title rival Verstappen’s poor weekend meant that Leclerc could chip away at the world champion’s lead, though Leclerc remains over 100 points away from first place.

Sainz jumped up to third from fourth in the first lap when Hamilton went wide at turn one, and for the rest of the race the Spanish driver successfully held off the rest of the field to complete the podium. This contributes valuable points for Ferrari, who sits second in the constructors standings with 439 points.


After qualifying a respectable third, after a season of woes, Hamilton had an uphill battle as he stalked Sainz around the track. His hopes of a podium finish were dashed on lap 33 when he made an uncharacteristic mistake, plunging head-on into the barriers at turn seven. 

While he managed to get going again and rejoin the pack, he was forced to pit for a new front wing and found himself at the tail end of the points finishers. A determined duel with Verstappen harkened back to the 2021 season between the two rivals, but it was the Dutchman who got the position. Hamilton finished ninth and is currently in sixth position in the driver’s championship.

This will likely be a weekend Mercedes are keen to forget, as Russell, usually ultraconsistent, struggled from the beginning. The Briton started the race from the pit lane due to an engine change and had to fight for every position thereafter. All eyes were on the younger Mercedes driver as he was the first to pit for slicks, which took a while to get going. Russell, who has finished in the top five for every race this season bar one, was the last of the finishers this Sunday. Russell only just managed to hold onto fifth place in the driver’s championship, but Sainz is hot on his tail just one point behind. Mercedes held onto third in the constructors.


It’s been a tough season for the papaya team, but Singapore brought much to celebrate. Norris, after qualifying sixth, improved to finish best of the rest in fourth place, holding off contenders like Hamilton, Verstappen and Alonso.

Ricciardo, who has had a difficult time with McLaren, took advantage of the retirements and safety cars to bring his car home in fifth place behind his teammate. McLaren’s result this weekend means they have leapfrogged rivals Alpine for fourth in the Constructors’ championship.


Alpine had a disappointing race, with both cars being forced to retire. Alonso will be particularly aggrieved by the result on the day of his 350th Grand Prix and after an impressive fifth place in Saturday’s qualifying.

Alpine have now fallen to fifth place in the Constructors’ championship.

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo failed to put on a show this weekend, with Zhou and Bottas qualifying 15th and 16th, respectively.

Bottas fought for that last place in the points but was ultimately beaten by Gasly. Rookie Zhou was unable to compete for long, involved in a scrap with Latifi that saw him retire from the race. Alfa Romeo holds sixth place in the Constructors’ championship.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin rose to the occasion this weekend, gathering valuable Constructors points that see them seventh in the championship. Stroll qualified 12th but finished sixth, capitalising on the mistakes of others.

Four-time world championship winner Vettel found himself in the mix again after a series of difficult races, just beating Hamilton to the line for eighth place.


Magnussen, after qualifying ninth, found himself in a scrap with Verstappen in the first lap and was left with damage after having to take avoiding action. He was then forced to pit to repair his front wing, which saw him tumble down the order, ultimately finishing 12th.

Schumacher, who has no confirmed seat for the 2023 season, finished just behind in 13th — the same position he qualified in.

Haas are now tied for constructor’s points with Alpha Tauri in joint eighth place.

Alpha Tauri

Qualifying seventh, Frenchman Gasly found himself the target of various frontrunners who had fallen down the order but managed to hold on to the last point of the finishers in 10th place.

Teammate Tsunoda had a moment with the barriers, forcing a retirement — no doubt disappointing for the driver who has just had his contract renewed for next year.


The Williams drivers rounded up the grid at the back, with Albon qualifying 19th and Latifi qualifying 20th.

Latifi was forced to retire after causing a collision on Lap 8 in another instalment of poor finishes for the Canadian driver.

Albon, who is to be commended for his return to Formula 1 after surgery and subsequent respiratory failure just three weeks ago, suffered a crash into the barriers on Lap 26 and had to retire.

Williams trail behind the other teams in last place for the Constructors’ championship with six points.

Formula 1 returns next week for the Honda Japanese Grand Prix from 7-9 October, where Verstappen has another shot at securing his second title. DM


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