After two long years without one of the most unique Grand Prix on the F1 calendar, the Singapore Grand Prix made one big comeback this year, with all the action we got within two hours. A weather delay, safety cars on track, and a championship on the line—it was a race worth waiting for.
And, as one of the last six races left in the race for the championships, every bit of action mattered a great deal. So, here are the winners and losers from this race weekend.
Winner: Sergio Perez
Let’s start with an obvious one. Sergio Perez was definitely the biggest winner of the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix.
After a delayed race start, Perez wasted no more time. Although the track was still wet from the rain, on his intermediate tires, the Mexican took the lead right from pole-sitter Charles Leclerc into the first turn. Despite race restarts and the threat of an overtake by the trailing Monegasque, Perez retained the lead throughout the rest of the race.
However, the race win was at stake when the race stewards handed him a five-second penalty for trailing too far behind the Safety Car. But, he pushed hard in the final 26 minutes of the race. And it saved him the win. He crossed the line with a seven-second lead from Leclerc.
After the Grand Prix, he regarded it as his best race. “Yeah, it was certainly, I think, my best performance,” he said.
The entire team at Mercedes definitely didn’t have the weekend they were hoping for at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite qualifying third on Saturday, unfortunately, Lewis Hamilton was unable to take advantage of his starting position. Throughout most of the race, the Mercedes driver tried helplessly to take back the place he lost from fourth. But, after running into the barriers on lap 33 and a 13-second pit stop, he finished in ninth.
Meanwhile, George Russell had a subpar day himself too. Starting from the pit lane and losing time on the slicks early after his first pitstop, he finished the race in 14th.
Considering where Russell started, and the fact that he posted the fastest lap of the race, things could have been worse for the Brit. But as the team tries to close the gap to Ferrari in the Constructors Championship, taking only two points is hardly going to be enough.
Unlike Mercedes, McLaren certainly had a good day as a team at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo started the race in sixth and 16th, respectively. Despite the big gap in their starting positions, they both finished the race in the top five.
What proved to be crucial for the McLaren drivers was the late Safety Car that came out after Yuki Tsunoda’s retirement. Prior to Tsunoda’s crash into the barriers, many of the drivers had come into the pits for slicks. But, the McLaren drivers took their time, and it paid off.
Coming into the pits for slicks during the Safety Car release, Norris and Ricciardo came out fourth and sixth, respectively for the race restart. They finished the race fourth and fifth, Ricciardo’s best result all season.
Loser: Charles Leclerc
This may be a hot take. Charles Leclerc did finish second above his main rival, Max Verstappen. But in the grand scheme of things, he lost an opportunity to bring down the big gap.
Though it is unlikely that in five races, the Ferrari driver would be able to overcome a 104-point gap to Verstappen, any driver worth his salt would fight until the end. And if Leclerc is still in this (after all, F1 can prove to be an unpredictable sport), he lost an opportunity at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Starting from pole and with the Red Bull championship leader starting all the way in eighth, it was the opportunity Charles needed to maximize points gained. But, unable to keep the lead, and unable to chase Sergio Perez ahead of him, it just didn’t happen.
With five races to go, and the championship now available to the Dutch, will Leclerc be able to overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge?
Despite Leclerc, unable to take the potential of seven additional points, Ferrari had a good evening at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Ferrari has faced many challenges this season, many of them internal. With their often questionable race strategies and several pitstop mishaps standing in the way of their pace, they definitely could have seen a closer fight with Red Bull throughout the year.
But, as they were able to maintain their positions within the top three throughout the entire race and to get a double-podium, they certainly milked all the points they could this weekend.
Loser: Max Verstappen
Perhaps the biggest loser of the race was Max Verstappen. At the first opportunity to close out the World Championship, as luck would have it, the championship leader had to work harder than expected at the Singapore Grand Prix.
After being forced to abort his final qualifying lap on Saturday to avoid running out of fuel, he had to start the race from eighth. And when the five lights went out, an anti-stall caused him to fall to 12th in the first lap.
Throughout the race, Verstappen continued chasing driver after driver, making up places he had lost. But after trying to overtake Lando Norris in lap 40, he had a big lock-up that cost him several places. He again had to make up for the loss, and in the end, finished in seventh.
Not a bad finish, considering all he had to endure. And though it was unlikely that he would have won the championship in Singapore, knowing Max’s tenacity, we’re sure he was going for the big win anyway.
With only five races left on the calendar, and Verstappen’s championship considered an inevitability, what excitement will we get out of the Japanese Grand Prix next week?