3 years later in Singapore, it was once again Charles Leclerc who took pole position. But like it was three years ago, it was someone behind him who won the race. On that occasion it had been Sebastian Vettel, this time, it was Sergio Perez. The race start was delayed by around an hour due to the weather conditions, but the Mexican did not waste any time in getting past Leclerc.
Right at the start, Perez sailed past Leclerc and took the lead. Moreover, he seemed to have the Monegasque’s number for the entirety of the race as well. Despite the numerous safety car restarts, Perez always kept his lead and his cool. But after the restart following Yuki Tsunoda’s retirement, the Red Bull driver was in fact very much under pressure from behind.
But Leclerc just couldn’t make that lunge or a final step towards overtaking him, and after a lock-up, he never recovered and kept falling behind Perez until the end, perhaps a result of the tyre degradation the Ferrari has been suffering from in recent races. But as for ‘Checo’, the weekend could not have gone any better.
Sergio Perez cuts down the gap to Charles Leclerc
Here are two curious statistics: 3 out of Sergio Perez’s 4 wins have been from Charles Leclerc’s pole positions, which is only one less than the number of wins the Monegasque has from his own pole positions. And all 3 of those wins have come on street circuits. One was in Azerbaijan last year, while the other two took place this year in Monaco and now, Singapore.
Self-admittedly, it was his best performance in Formula 1. On the other hand, his teammate, Max Verstappen struggled and made many mistakes, but was able to climb up to P7 (just 1 over his original grid slot) in a performance he would not be very proud of.
As per Formula 1’s official website, the Mexican said of his result: “It was certainly my best performance. I controlled the race, although the [tyre] warm-up was pretty difficult. The last few laps were so intense. I really didn’t feel it so much in the car, but when I got out of it, I felt it. I pushed [and] I gave everything for the win today.”
This win brings him up to 235 points. While that is still over 100 points behind Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez can certainly make the climb up to P2 in the championship, as he is only 2 points behind Leclerc. While the battle for the championship is likely over (unless disaster strikes), there is still much to play for.