Sergio Pérez passed polesitter Charles Leclerc and resisted race-long pressure from the Ferrari driver to take a hard-earned victory at the Singapore Grand Prix but the Mexican was summoned to the stewards’ room following the race as they investigate the Red Bull driver for a possible safety car infringement. With Leclerc crossed the line second and third place went to Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari. Championship leader Max Verstappen finished seventh. The Dutch rose steadily through the order after a poor start but then was forced to battle back from 14th after a late-race lock-up.
After the start was delayed by over an hour due to torrential rain in the build-up to the race, Pérez seized the lead as soon as lights went out. The Mexican got better traction off the line and powered past Leclerc as they raced towards the first corner.
Further back Verstappen bogged down at the start and dropped to P12. The championshiop leader was soon making his way back through the field, however, and he was soon past Magnussen, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda to claim P9.
The Safety Car then made its first appearance of the evening, when Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu tangled in the first sector and with the Chinese driver’s car stuck just off track in Turn 5, the race was quickly neutralised.
When the Safety Car left the track Checo controlled the restart well to hold the lead ahead of Leclerc and Sainz, while further back Verstappen passed Vettel and then AlphaTauri’s take seventh place.
The Dutchman’s next target was Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, but the Spaniard defended well and Verstappen found himself bottled up behind the Alpine driver for the next 10 laps. He was freed on lap 21, however, when Alonso suffered and engine failure and steered his Alpine up an escape road. Verstappen swept past to take sixth place.
The VSC was then deployed when Alex Albon crashed and a power unit failure sidelines Esteban Ocon in the second Alpine, Lewis Hamilton then hit the barriers at Turn 7. The Briton was able to carry but fell back between fourth-placed Lando Norris and Verstappen in sixth.
It was the cue for Leclerc to pit and the Ferrari driver took on medium tyres but the stop was slow. Pérez pitted from the lead and after taking on medium tyres he was able to comfortably rejoin in the lead. The Mexican was followed to the pit lane by Sainz and then Verstappen who also fitted medium tyres.
However, the race was again neutralised just after the Dutchman’s stop when Yuki Tsunoda hit the barriers in Turn 10 and the Safety Car was released.
It was then that Pérez was noted by the stewards for potentially getting too close to the course car as he led ahead of Leclerc, Sainz and Norris.
The SC left the track at the end of lap 38 and once again Checo controlled the restart perfectly. Further back Verstappen lined up an attack on Norris but when he made the move, he locked up badly and was forced down an escape road. He was able to continue but dropped to P8 and after pitting to shed flat-spotted tyres for new softs he rejoined in P14.
Leclerc then began to close in on Pérez. The Mexican was soon on the radio complaining that he was suffering with driveability both under braking and out of corners but despite the setback he doggedly held off the Ferrari driver and with 17 minutes left in the time limited race, Leclerc, managing his tyres, backed off and Pérez broke DRS.
Pe´rez continued to pull away at the front. With the possibility of a penalty hanging over him the Mexican powered away from the Ferrari driver and as the two-hour mark was reached, he completed the final lap with 7.5s seconds in hand.
Leclerc was left with second place ahead of Sainz, while Norris claimed a solid fourth place ahead of McLaren team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. Lance Stroll was sixth for Aston Martin and Verstappen passed the second Aston of Sebastian Vettel on the final lap to claim seventh. Behind Vettel, Hamilton finished ninth and the final point on offer went to Pierre Gasly.
2022 FIA Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix – Race
1 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 59 2:02’15.238
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 59 2:02’22.833 7.595
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 59 2:02’30.543 15.305
4 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 59 2:02’41.371 26.133
5 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 59 2:03’13.520 58.282
6 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 59 2:03’16.568 1’01.330
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull 59 2:03’19.063 1’03.825
8 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 59 2:03’20.270 1’05.032
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 59 2:03’21.753 1’06.515
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Red Bull 59 2:03’29.814 1’14.576
11 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 59 2:03’49.082 1’33.844
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 59 2:03’52.848 1’37.610
13 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 58 – 1 lap
14 George Russell Mercedes 57 – 2 laps
Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri/Red Bull 34 – Retirement
Esteban Ocon Alpine/Renault 26 – Retirement
Alex Albon Williams/Mercedes 25 – Retirement
Fernando Alonso Alpine/Renault 20 – Retirement
Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 7 – Retirement
Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 6 – Retirement