PEREZ WINS A TRICKY SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
Singapore returns to the Formula One calendar for the first time since 2019 and what a race we were given starting out with an hour long delay due to heavy rain - and when the race got underway the track was tricky to master as shown by the fact that only 14 drivers managed to finish the race.
The front two of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull) got away well from as Perez leads into turn one and Max Verstappen (Red Bull) dropped down from eighth at the start and is down into 14th after going into anti-stall as the lights went out.
By the second lap Verstappen was up into the top ten after simple overtakes on Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin).
The first retirement came just seven laps in as Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) stops at turn five and Nicholas Latifi (Williams) has a puncture to his rear right tyre. All this caused by contact between the two drivers and Zhou is forced to retire.
This incident causes a full Safety Car (lap 8/61) and keeps the 100% record of a Safety Car at every running of the Singapore Grand Prix. Latifi is retired from the race.
On lap 11 the Safety is in and the racing gets back to full speed. Perez keeps the lead of the race to Leclerc with Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) in third and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) in fourth. As Verstappen passes Sebastian Vettel for eighth.
By lap 21 the track is clearly drying and teams are preparing the slick tyres. And it was Mercedes who were the first ones to go on to the dry tyres. As on the very next lap Fernando Alonso (Alpine) is out after losing power going down the straight after the Anderson Bridge and the VSC is deployed. Russell comes in for medium tyres but is last in 17th.
On lap 23 the VSC finishes and the drivers get back to full speed.
We then had the third retirement of this race as Alex Albon (Williams) goes into the wall and loses his front wing but is able to keep going, but eventually by the time Albon pits the team decide to retire the car. And the VSC ends.
The lap after Albon pits to retire (lap 28/61) Esteban Ocon (Alpine) goes off the track and with a smoking car after his engine went pop. Thats now both Alpine cars out and both Williams cars out of this race.
This meant on lap 29 yet another VSC (Virtual Safety Car) is deployed. Ending the very next lap and the racing gets back to full speed once again in this race.
With just over half of the race now completed on lap 33 Hamilton goes straight on and into the wall and rejoins back ahead of Verstappen. Damaging his front wing in the process.
On lap 34/61 Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) pits for slicks which shows the track is now dry enough to get rid of the intermediate tyres. Other teams will have taken notice of this. The very next lap Hamilton pits to fix his damaged front wing.
On lap 36/61 Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) goes into the barrier and is out of this race, the Safety Car is deployed once again.
Between lap 33 and 36 the pit stop window 'opens' and drivers begin to change the inters for the medium tyres.
As the lap counter ticks over to time remaining and with just 34 minutes left the Safety Car comes in and Perez gets away well once again and stays ahead of Leclerc with all the drivers staying out of trouble before Verstappen has a massive lock up going in for a move and goes straight on and spins round to rejoin this race and is back into eighth but is forced to pit again after flat spotting his front tyres.
The Champion elect does this with 32 minutes left and drops to last in fourteenth. As Russell is going slowly with a puncture which will put Verstappen into 13th. But he shows his talent by ultimatley finishing the race in eighth.
The next race is the Japanese Grand Prix.
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