Martin Brundle on the results of the Singapore Grand Prix

Martin Brundle, a former Formula 1 driver and now a popular commentator on Sky Sports, summed up the main results of the Singapore Grand Prix, where Sergio Perez won a landslide victory.

It was a typical Singaporean race – strange as always, but very interesting nonetheless. And, as always, it was strange to have dinner at two in the morning, go to bed at 6 in the morning, and get ready for work at three in the afternoon. Basically, the weekend program was shifted to the evening, but every day for a few hours we caught the sunshine.

But the main events on all three days of the weekend took place under floodlights, so the track and pit lane looked somehow especially dramatic, and it was nice to return here after three years of forced absence.

Given the geographical and climatic features of these places, it is even surprising that during the previous 12 Singapore Grand Prix, work on the track was rarely accompanied by rain, but this time it was such weather conditions that predetermined the outcome of qualifying and the race.

Since evening sunlight can no longer help dry the asphalt surface, and high humidity negates the fact that the track temperature was approaching 30 degrees, the pavement remained damp for a long time, especially in those areas where it was renewed.

It looks like we were almost always in a situation where it was already too dry for the intermediate tires and still too wet for the slicks, especially outside the racing line and in the braking areas. And those who decided to take a risk and switched to slicks too early had to pay for it.

For an hour of qualifying, the lap time on the intermediate rubber, when the track was still quite wet, from about 1 min. 54 sec. reduced to only 1:49.412 – with such a result, Charles Leclerc took pole when the track was mostly dry.

True, Max Verstappen should have taken pole, but he remained on the track for a significant portion of the 12 minutes that the final session lasts, and this led to the fact that he had to abort the last attempt with two turns before the end of the lap in order to in the tank of the car enough fuel left for the mandatory FIA technical inspection.

Give such an order to the leader of the championship, and he will speak to the team without choosing expressions. Behind the outward calmness and equanimity that Max demonstrates in 2022, his hot temper is still hidden, but in a situation where he is only one step away from a second title, his emotions only speak of how much he feels about losing pole position and eventual victory, despite all the dominance he has achieved with his team.

Pole was won by Charles, although his car was clearly slipping, and he blocked the wheels on all braking, but these mistakes did not cost him as much as his rivals.

Many predicted with certainty that the risk of rain during the Grand Prix was significantly reduced, but 75 minutes before the start, a downpour poured. Singapore has long been accustomed to this kind of precipitation, and drainage systems are everywhere, but still we had to wait until the storm front passed before the start was given with a 65-minute delay.

But one has to wonder why F1 is hauling heavy rain tires around the world when they are never used when there is still water on the track anyway.

As soon as the race started, Sergio Pérez, who started it from the front row, managed to ensure that the drive wheels of his RBR18 kept the track well throughout the acceleration distance, and by the 1st turn he was already in the lead. As it turned out later, this predetermined the fate of victory.

For the next two hours, Sergio piloted with impressive confidence. He managed to find the right approach to the track, where the risk of crashing into a wall is high, in addition, the race was constantly interrupted by the introduction of a virtual safety car mode and the appearance of a real safety car. At the same time, in the mirrors of the Mexican car, Leclerc’s red Ferrari loomed all the time, which was very determined.

Where else are your mental toughness and physical fitness being tested as severely for two hours, and even against the backdrop of constant risk?

Sergio was very lucky that he received only one 5-second penalty for not keeping a distance of 10 car lengths when he was driving behind the safety car. Probably, he was able to convince the stewards, explaining this with cold tires and difficult conditions.
In general, quite a long time passed after the finish, when his victory was confirmed – this achievement would decorate the track record of any Formula 1 driver, because success was obtained as a result of a sharp struggle that required maximum effort.

It so happened that in the previous few races, Sergio was almost invisible, but in the most difficult conditions, he showed himself to be a mature professional who knows how to act calmly and thoughtfully.

And Leclerc once again experienced the bitterness of defeat, although he started from pole position. But a slight slip of the drive wheels, admitted at the start, and then a hitch during the pit stop did not allow him to get ahead of Perez.

Both Ferrari drivers made it to the podium, but Carlos Sainz was as upset as his teammate as he had problems with pace throughout the race. Verstappen did not claim victory this time, as he was stuck in traffic, and during the Grand Prix he had to go through all sorts of adventures.

During training, I followed the events on the track, being in one of the corners, and I saw that although the Mercedes drivers showed good pace, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell had to work harder behind the wheel, in particular, compared to Leclerc and Sainz, whose Ferrari looked pretty stable and confident.

This proved to be true in the race. George started from the pit lane and in the course of the Grand Prix he got into various troubles when he could not avoid contact with rival cars. He was the first to switch to slicks, and this only helped the rest to decide, since everyone saw that he had big problems. In the end, he finished last of the 14 riders who managed to complete the distance, and, of course, was very upset.

Lewis was not much more fortunate; he was driving ninth after he braked too late before Turn 7 and hit the barriers instead of taking advantage of the relegation zone. Then he tried to get ahead of Sebastian Vettel before the 8th turn, although he was driving on the wet part of the track, but only let Verstappen pass ahead.

Max also had problems on braking before the 7th turn, after which he had to recoup all the way, throughout the entire two hours of the race.

Neither of the two Alpine cars could make it to the finish line due to powerplant problems, which allowed Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo to finish 4th and 5th and McLaren to move up to 4th in the Constructors’ Championship. Lando had a great race, although he was, of course, lucky with the safety car – as was his partner.

The Aston Martin drivers finished sixth (Lance Stroll) and eighth (Sebastian Vettel) – a very good result for them and for the team, thanks to which it moved straight to seventh in the Constructors’ Championship.

As always, the Grand Prix had an exciting scenario thanks to the changeable weather, and I admire the drivers who were able to cope with all the difficulties, piloting their extremely fast and powerful cars.

Source: Формула 1 на by

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