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Best of Times, Worst of Times: Singapore Grand Prix

Now that’s entertainment: F1’s slippery night race in Singapore last weekend didn’t disappoint

J.J. Gavillet
October 07 2022
(F1.com)

It was the best of times – it was the worst of times, for Red Bull Racing’s experience during this past weekend’s Grand Prix in Singapore. A race inundated with error, rain, six car retirements, and a time penalty threatening the race leader long after the race was over, it was a dramatic installment in this year’s exciting race series.

(GETTY IMAGES)

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing has had a competitive lead as the overall points leader in this year’s season, with the only threat being the issues in his own car – this race being no exception. Amidst an otherwise beautiful qualifying lap that could secure him a top spot, Verstappen was forced to abort the lap due to the lower quantity of fuel – an error that placed him 8th on the grid before the race even got started.

Verstappen struggled throughout the race, experiencing both mechanical and driver control errors that had him taking home 7th place, results he later shared with reporters brought him “zero” enjoyment in the overall race. Why is it this race might burn so much for the Dutchman? With a strong enough result, it could have decided and secured his overall title in the driver’s championship – but instead of was met with his worse performance of the season, a result hard to swallow for the man who’s usually fastest on track.

(F1.com)

Of course, for the team principal, this would usually be a race hard to swallow – but instead it also provided him one of the greatest performances of the year overall by none other than second driver Sergio Perez. Perez qualified P2 behind Ferrari’s leading man, Charles Leclerc, but after a series of delays to await the rainfall to dry, the race started with the Mexican driver quickly overtaking the Monacan to own P1 – a position he held defensively for the remainder the race.

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(F1.com)

Despite a flurry of safety car deployments and a compromised track due to the weather, Perez led the pack in mastery – and when his radio rang from his team giving word there’s a chance he could face a five-second time penalty due to a safety car infringement, he took the challenge to further increase his lead in hopes of securing his P1 standing should that ruling come down.

“It's without doubt the best drive of his career,” Horner shared. “As I say, that is right up there – (that’s) for sure his best victory, surpassing his Monaco victory; under massive pressure he’s going out, he’s delivered. Just super, super proud of him, he’s done a good job.”

(F1.com)

While Red Bull Racing was the team to highlight after last weekend’s race, strong performances came out of Ferrari from Charles Leclerc pushing to take back his pole position with his teammate Carlos Sainz coming in third – satisfactory results towards their team’s overall points. After the race, Leclerc shared words comparing the two teams: “There are things that we can analyze from this race because Red Bull seems to be very, very good after six/seven laps, and we are very, very good in the first six/seven laps - we'll look into that.”

Another driver falling short of performance hopes this past weekend was none other than seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton, who held high hopes of a strong performance after landing P3 in qualifying, suffered from the result of errors in the race. Sainz found an overtaking opportunity and Hamilton in frustration trying to get his standing back locked up, resulting in a crash into a barrier on lap 33.

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(F1.com)

“I knew it was all over from then, but these things happen. I'm not going to punish myself for a mistake…the problems that we have with this car are magnified in the rain when it's wet, and it's a very, very hard car to drive in the rain” Hamilton shared, fierce in his mental strength in approaching this continuously challenging season with grace and hope.

A perspective he shares with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who’s been vocal in support of the Brit this entire season and confident in his ability to overcome the adversity he’s had – further noted by recent talks of extending Hamilton’s contract with the team.

“I have no doubt that whatever we agree on a contract extension, which is going to happen, that we both are always going to discuss, very openly, what the future holds.”

A sentiment all racing fans of F1 can rejoice in hearing as we can all look forward to seeing what the seven-time world champion has to offer in future seasons.​

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