Formula 1: Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez wins the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

SINGAPORE – Fireworks lit up the sky at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday as the fresh blue, yellow and red colors of the Red Bull RB18 whizzed over the finish line at the Singapore Airlines Formula One Singapore Grand Prix.

The team’s welcome return to the top of the podium in Singapore after nine years was applauded by fans around the circuit, even if it wasn’t the Red Bull winner everyone was expecting.

Instead, it was Sergio Pérez who claimed the checkered flag for Singapore for the first time after a chaotic race in the rain in what he considered the best race of his life.

The Mexican celebrated his second victory this season by raising his fist in the air before hugging his teammates. But he had to wait more than an hour before victory was confirmed after an investigation into a pace car violation was launched. He was eventually cleared by the race stewards.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finished second and third respectively to complete the podium. Red Bull championship leader Max Verstappen, who started the race eighth, finished seventh.

Perez, who now has four F1 wins, said: “It was certainly my best performance, I controlled the race. The last laps were very intense. I gave everything for today’s victory.”

Starting on the front row behind polesitter Leclerc, Pérez overtook the Monegasque shortly after lights out and led from start to finish, passing the checkered flag ahead of the Ferrari driver by 7.5sec.

It was the Mexican’s first victory in Singapore, becoming the fifth F1 winner here after Nico Rosberg (2016), Fernando Alonso (2008, 2010), Lewis Hamilton (2009, 2014, 2017, 2018) and Sebastian Vettel (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2019). His last victory in a race was at Monaco in May.

The result also means that Pérez won on all three street circuits on the calendar: Baku (2021), Monaco (2022) and Singapore.

Calling it the “best drive of his career”, Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports: “Tough conditions, converted the start, settled into the race, looked after the intermediate tyres.” He was always in control, super cool.

“That’s world class, it’s up there, without a doubt his best win, it beats his win in Monaco. He came out, he delivered and I’m very proud of him.”

While there was joy for Pérez on Sunday, there was only disappointment for Leclerc.

It was the seventh time this season that the Monegasque had failed to turn pole position into victory, and the second time she had been the maid of honor in Singapore.

He said: “I pushed all the way but the bad start put us at a disadvantage.
“It was a tough race, a good night’s sleep now and we’ll get ready for Japan (next weekend).”

For points leader Verstappen, Suzuka is also where the Dutchman will revive his quest for his second world title.

He can count on the support of his teammate Pérez, who said it would be a special result for the team and its engine partner Honda.

But on Sunday, it was Perez who partied all night after emerging victorious in an incident-filled race that saw a series of safety car periods with six drivers: Alonso, who made a record 350th race start , Esteban Ocon (both Alpine), Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi (both Williams) retired during the race.

Spectators were left waiting for more than an hour after the start of the night race was delayed due to heavy rain. It was originally supposed to start at 8:00 p.m., but eventually stopped after 9:05 p.m.

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