Martin Brundle analyses the wet and chaotic Singapore Grand Prix weekend
Back on the F1 calendar after a three-year absence, the Marina Bay circuit straightaway dished out curveballs at the teams with wet-dry conditions. Not only that, the track dried out very slowly due to the lack of sunshine to aid the drying. The few areas that had resurfaced or were under a structure would continue to shed water even after the rain had stopped.
Mixed Conditions under the Singapore lights
These mixed conditions made the qualifying and the race an enticing prospect. For the tyres, the conditions were borderline between dry and wet. It was too dry for intermediate tyres but also too wet for dry tyres, especially off the racing line and in the braking zones.
Max Verstappen looked like a sure-shot bet for pole position but because he spent most of the remaining 12 minutes of Q3 on the circuit, he had to abandon both his flying laps at the end so as to save fuel for the mandatory checks.
In the end, Charles Leclerc took the pole position ahead of the Red Bull of Sergio Perez. Lewis Hamilton missed out on his first pole position of 2022 and slotted home in P3. It was an extremely close qualifying with the gap between the top 5 being a mere half a second.
The skies opened up 75 minutes before the race due to which the entire start procedure got delayed.
At the start, Perez got a good getaway off the line and put his Red Bull into the lead going into the first corner. Leclerc spent the rest of the race trying to pass the Mexican but a slow pit stop blunted him from any attack.
Perez, however, was not flawless either, as he was involved in a Safety Car infringement twice. He was lucky to get only a 5-second penalty for one and a reprimand for the other. Other than that, Perez drove a masterful race as he fended off a very determined Leclerc amid multiple VSC & SC periods.
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz ended on the final podium spot, way behind the leaders as he struggled for pace.
Verstappen had a roller coaster of a race as a slow start dropped him down to P12. He recovered some places but locked up massively while pulling off a failed move on Lando Norris for fourth. He battled and passed fellow world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel and finished seventh.
The Mercedes had a horrible race as they left Singapore with just two points from the race. George Russell’s failed gamble on slicks saw him drop down to P14. His teammate Lewis Hamilton didn’t fare any better as he hit his front wing at Turn 7 while chasing Carlos Sainz. He then attempted to overtake Sebastian Vettel on the wet line into Turn 8 where he slid and lost to Verstappen.
Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and fifth respectively as rivals Alpine experienced a double DNF due to power unit issues. This moved McLaren into fourth place in the world championship.
Aston Martin jumped into seventh place in the constructors championship as Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll both bagged points for the team.
The lit streets of Singapore provided us with a thrilling race weekend as the changeable conditions gave us an unpredictable and chaotic race.
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