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F1 – Pérez penalised but wins in Singapore ahead of Leclerc as Verstappen finishes seventh

Sergio Pérez passed polesitter Charles Leclerc at the start and resisted race-long pressure from the Ferrari driver to take a hard-earned victory at the Singapore Grand Prix. Following the race he was summoned to the stewards and handed a reprimand and a

F1 – Pérez penalised but wins in Singapore ahead of Leclerc as Verstappen finishes seventh

Sergio Pérez passed polesitter Charles Leclerc at the start and resisted race-long pressure from the Ferrari driver to take a hard-earned victory at the Singapore Grand Prix. After the race, he was summoned by the stewards. He was given a reprimand as well as a five-second penalty for safety car violations. However, he retained his win with a gap of 7.5 seconds to Leclerc. With Leclerc crossing the line second,  third place went to Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari. Max Verstappen, the championship leader, finished seventh. After a slow start, the Dutchman steadily rose up the order but was forced to climb back from 14th place after a late-race lockup.

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. As they raced towards the first corner, Perez had better traction and he plowed past Leclerc.

Verstappen fell to P12 further back after he was slow at the start. 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. Verstappen was freed by Alonso on lap 21 when he suffered an engine failure and steered his Alpine along an escape road. Verstappen took sixth place.

The VSC was deployed after Alex Albon crashed. Esteban Ocon, who was competing in the second Alpine, was also sidelined by a power unit problem. Lewis Hamilton crashed into Turn 7. The Briton was able carry, but fell back between Lando Norris in fourth and Verstappen sixth.

Leclerc was signalled to pit. The Ferrari driver used 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. Sainz and Verstappen followed Perez to the pit lane, where he also fitted medium-sized 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 dropping too far off the course car as he led ahead of Leclerc, Sainz and Norris. The Safety Car handed Perez a repirmand, and a five second for being more than 10 car lengths behind. The stewards stated that they "donot accept that the conditions made it unsafe or impossible for PER to maintain the required minimum 10 car length gap." However, they added that they "considered the wet conditions as mitigation circumstances for this incident." In the second decision, the stewards said that the Red Bull driver had ignored a warning from race direction to close the gap and as such was handed the five-second penalty. 

At the end of lap 38, the SC left the track and Checo again controlled the restart flawlessly. Verstappen was positioned further back to attack Norris, but he locked up badly after making the move and was forced to take an escape road. He was able continue, but dropped to P8. After pitting to swap flat-spotted tyres with softs, he rejoined the race 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.

Pérez continued to pull away at the front and as the two-hour mark was reached, he completed the final lap with 7.5s seconds in hand.

Leclerc finished second behind Sainz, while Norris was solidly fourth ahead of McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Aston Martin's Lance Stroll finished sixth, while Verstappen was seventh. Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel's second Aston Martin on the final lap to take seventh place. Hamilton finished ninth behind Vettel. Pierre Gasly took the final point.

2022 FIA Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix – Race 1 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 59 2:02'15.2382 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 59 2:02'22.833 7.5953 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 59 2:02'30.543 15.3054 Lando Norris McLaren/Mercedes 59 2:02'41.371 26.1335 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren/Mercedes 59 2:03'13.520 58.2826 Lance Stroll Aston Martin/Mercedes 59 2:03'16.568 1'01.3307 Max Verstappen Red Bull 59 2:03'19.063 1'03.8258 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin/Mercedes 59 2:03'20.270 1'05.0329 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 59 2:03'21.753 1'06.51510 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Red Bull 59 2:03'29.814 1'14.57611 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 59 2:03'49.082 1'33.84412 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 59 2:03'52.848 1'37.61013 Mick Schumacher Haas/Ferrari 58 - 1 lap14 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

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