SINGAPORE—Sergio Perez seems to be the master of street circuits, and on Sunday evening at Marina Bay, the Mexican endured a one-hour rain delay, three safety and two virtual safety car periods, to hold off Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by just over seven seconds to win lights out to checkered flag at the Singapore Grand Prix. Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz, took third.
"It was certainly my best performance; I controlled the race.” Perez said. “The last few laps was so intense I didn't feel it that much in the car but when I got out I felt it. I gave everything for the win today.
Despite his victory, Perez was handed a possible penalty for overtaking the safety car during the one of its periods on the circuit. But Perez himself was not aware of this.
"I have no idea what's going on. I was told to increase the gap that's what I did.” Perez concluded.
Perez began the race with an excellent start as Leclerc developed wheel spin and ended up second around the first corner. Both drivers opened a gap quickly of six seconds as Sainz was more in contention to hold off the rest of the grid. For series leader Max Verstappen, it would only take the Dutchman to win this race to achieve his second world championship. But it was not to be as Verstappen began the race from eighth and moved back, nearly putting his car into an anti-stall situation, dropping back to 12thbefore moving back up to ninth after seven laps.
The race itself was like it had been in the past, a two-hour finishing limit, and six retirements in the race did not help much as Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guangu ended his and Williams Nicholas Latifi’s day when the two struck each other on lap eight. Latifi’s teammate, Alex Albon, just back from tough surgery for an appendicitis, crashed his car in sector two and managed to bring it back to the pits, but had to retire. Alpine lost their fourth place in the constructor’s championship as both Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon developed engine failures. Yuki Tsunoda was the final retirement victim of the race when the Japanese went into the barriers at turn 10.
McLaren had one of their best races in quite a while as Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and fifth, respectively, while a four-car battle at the conclusion had Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll take sixth just ahead of Verstappen, who could have moved up higher if it was not for him flat spotting his tires and having to finish seventh. Sebastian Vettel took eighth in the second Aston Martin, with Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes ninth, which was a decent result, considering the Briton went off the circuit and slammed lightly into the barriers, damaging his left wing and having to return to the pits for repairs. Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly completed the top ten finishers.
By Mark Gero