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F1: Verstappen's title on hold after Perez wins in Singapore

Max Verstappen's Formula One title celebration was put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix won by his teammate Sergio Perez. Perez's second win of the season saw him crossing the line 7.6 seconds ahead of Fer

Estimated read time: 4-5 min

SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen's Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez's second win of this season saw him cross the line 7.6 seconds faster than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. Leclerc's fellow teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. was in third.

Perez was then given a five second penalty for not staying within 10 feet of the safety car while following behind. However, Perez's victory over Leclerc was enough to secure victory by 2.6 seconds.

Perez, 32, won the Monaco GP in May. He now has four career victories.

Perez stated, "It was definitely my best performance, it was controlled the race." "The last few laps were so intense that I didn't feel it as much in the car, but I felt it when I got out. I gave everything to win today."

Perez had only secured two podiums in eight races before, a run that included two retirements. He acknowledged that his form was not as good as it used to be, but he felt some of the criticisms of his performances were unfair.

He said, "This win is really special to me, as I've had some rough patches in the last few races." "Formula One's media makes it seem... much bigger," he said. Perhaps because I'm Mexican, if I don't finish two races in succession (on) the podium then it's my worst season and Red Bull should take me out."

Christian Horner, team principal, called Perez's drive "world class" and said that it would have been an "incredible shame" to lose the victory.

Verstappen's seventh position at the British GP in August was his equal-lowest this year. He also retired in two races.

Verstappen had won five races in the past, but Verstappen needed to win here and finish 22 more points ahead of Leclerc in order to be crowned champion for the second consecutive season. This could happen next weekend at Japan's GP. Honda, a Japanese manufacturer, makes Red Bull's engine.

Perez stated, "I think Max should get it in Japan." "For the team, and for Honda."

Verstappen is currently 104 points ahead Leclerc, and 106 clear Perez. There are 138 points remaining in the five remaining races, which includes a sprint race in Brazil.

Verstappen made an error after the second safety car restart. This was following Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri driver,'s crash on Lap 36. Verstappen locked his tires when he tried to pass Lando Norris' McLaren McLaren. He had to pit again.

Verstappen stated, "It's certainly not where we want it to be, but that already begins from yesterday," referring to a qualifying mistake that saw Verstappen start from eighth, with Leclerc on pole for a season-leading nineth time.

Race start was delayed from 8:05 p.m. (1305 GMT) to 9 p.m. (1305 GMT) local time due to heavy rains. The race was 61 laps long and drivers had to complete it within two hours.

The virtual safety car was deployed three times in difficult conditions. DRS was permitted with just 30 minutes remaining.

Perez started well and jumped past Leclerc, while Verstappen fell several places.

Leclerc stated, "I pushed all of the way, the bad start put us on the back foot. After that it was really difficult race," "A difficult race, good sleep and we will be ready for Japan."

The first safety car was at Lap 8, when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was taken out by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez won the restart cleanly, while Verstappen was seventh behind Fernando Alonso. His record 350th F1 race ended in disappointment when his engine failed on Lap 21. This brought out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires — apart from Mercedes' George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Lewis Hamilton made a rare mistake at Lap 33 when he pushed his Mercedes into the crash barrier. The leading drivers quickly changed their tires in a rush of stops. They did this just before Tsunoda's mistake caused the safety car to be deployed again.

After a disappointing race, Verstappen was able to pass Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin at the finish.

Verstappen stated, "Ofcourse, it's better that eighth, but it isn't what I'm here to do with a car such as that." "It was (extremely) messy."

Norris finished fourth behind Daniel Ricciardo, his teammate in the constructors' title. Verstappen was beaten by Lance Stroll of Aston Martin, Hamilton, and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly to round out the top 10.

After receiving grid penalties for multiple engine-part change violations, Russell started in the pit lane. He finished 14th.


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The Associated Press

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