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Perez Holds Off Leclerc To Win Rollercoaster 2022 Singapore Grand Prix As Verstappen Settles For 7th

Sergio Perez held off Charles Leclerc for his first-ever win on the streets of Singapore, while Carlos Sainz completed the podium and Max Verstappen finished seventh in an action-packed Singapore Grand Prix. The race winner is however under investigation for a Safety Car infringement...

Heavy rain forced a delay of over an hour, with the formation lap beginning at 2105 local time, and although the rain had ceased, the surface was still slippery for the start of the race, when pole-sitter Leclerc lost the lead to Perez into Turn 1 and Sainz easily pried P3 off Hamilton, who went wide into Turn 1.

Verstappen lost five places to fall to P12 at the start but he made three up by Lap 9 when the first Safety Car was deployed for Nicholas Latifi and Zhou Guanyu’s collision. Fernando Alonso’s stoppage brought out a Virtual Safety Car on Lap 20, with George Russell then becoming the first driver to switch from intermediates to mediums.

Russell’s improving pace triggered drivers to begin swapping for slick tyres on Lap 35, but on the following tour Yuki Tsunoda went straight on into the barriers at Turn 10 to bring out the second Safety Car, before which most of the drivers had stopped for slicks. Crucially, the McLaren drivers hadn’t; Lando Norris came in for a new set of mediums and Daniel Ricciardo opted for slicks as they emerged fourth and sixth for the restart.

The race restarted on Lap 39 for Perez to continue leading. Verstappen meanwhile suffered a heavy lock-up in an attempt pass Leclerc, and was briefly bumped to last place, before George Russell and Mick Schumacher picked up punctures after making brief contact into Turn 1.

With the two-hour mark approaching, this race would be finished by the timer and Perez had 26 minutes to hold off a fast-charging Leclerc, when DRS was enabled on the 43rd lap. What followed was a stunning chase for victory, Perez unerring in defence as he held off the Monegasque driver by over seven seconds at the chequered flag.

Perez would however find himself under investigation for passing the Safety Car just before the second restart – the summons coming after the race.

Sainz completed the podium for Ferrari having passed Hamilton at the start, while Norris and Ricciardo beneffited from their late Safety Car stops and finished a respective P4 and P5.

Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel capitalised on errors from Hamilton and Verstappen to finish sixth and eighth, respectively, in a massive result for Aston Martin.

Hamilton, who had previously gone straight on into the barriers on Lap 33, locked up in an attempt to pass Vettel in the final two minutes of the race and dropped to ninth. That gave Verstappen P8, despite the Dutchman having locked up heavily in the final Safety Car restart. The Red Bull driver then pried P7 off Vettel with a pass on the very last lap of the race.

Behind Hamilton, Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 for AlphaTauri with Valtteri Bottas (11th) unable to take the final point despite taking softs for the final Safety Car restart.

Kevin Magnussen, who had to pit with damage from a Lap 1 collision in avoidance of Verstappen, ended up 12th, with Schumacher finishing up 13th after picking up that aforementioned puncture in defence from Russell.

Russell rounded out the standings in 14th for Mercedes having started in the pit lane, the Briton pitting four times and posting the fastest lap of the race.

There were six retirements from the race, with Zhou and Latifi colliding early on before Alonso stopped with an engine issue on Lap 20.

Albon crashed and retired in the pits on Lap 26, before Esteban Ocon's engine gave up to make it a double retirement for Alpine, and Tsunoda crashed out to bring out the final Safety Car.

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