Sergio Perez snatched the lead at the start from pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and had to dip into every reserve of his talent to win the Singapore Grand Prix in extremely tricky conditions at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday.
PEREZ WIN CONFIRMED AFTER TIME PENALTY
The race was delayed by one hour due to torrential downpours just 90 minutes before the scheduled start time.
The officials had to delay the start procedure to give time to ensure the puddles on the track were cleared after the rain had stopped.
Leclerc and his teammate Carlos Sainz came home second and third to help Ferrari extend its lead in the constructors’ standings over Mercedes.
On a damp track, all the drivers started the race on intermediate tyres before switching to dry weather tyres halfway into the race.
The tricky conditions caught out many drivers, some hitting the walls while some crashed into each other, bringing out the Virtual and full Safety Cars. This meant the race ended after hitting the maximum time of two hours, two laps before the scheduled 61 laps were completed.
However, on a day when he had a chance to clinch his second title, Max Verstappen had a frustrating weekend and could only finish seventh.
A team error in qualifying on Saturday meant Verstappen started only eighth and he had a bad start slipping to 12th.
He then fought his way up to fifth in the race before making a mistake when trying to pass Lando Norris that dropped him below the top 10 once again.
The Dutchman eventually fought his way back after making another pit stop to salvage six points.
McLaren was another big gainer as Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and fifth after the duo waited till the second Safety Car on lap 37 to change from inters to full dry weather tyres and moved up the grid.
It was Perez’s second win of the year after coming out on top in another rain-hit race around a street circuit, in Monaco earlier in the year.
The Mexican produced one of the best drives of his career, soaking the pressure from Leclerc who was challenging him toward the end of the race until the latter made a couple of mistakes of his own to finish a distant second.
Mercedes had a poor outing as both Lewis Hamilton (ninth place) and George Russell had an error-filled day. Hamilton first hit the wall and sustained front wing damage before making another error when battling Sebastian Vettel that allowed Verstappen to pass him. Verstappen then passed Vettel on the last lap to take seventh place.
Similarly, it was a disappointing race for Alpine too, as both Fernando Alonso - who was starting his 350th Formula One race - and Esteban Ocon retired with engine issues.
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