TIn fact, anyone else can win in Formula 1 besides Max Verstappen. After the Dutchman had five wins in a row, the Mexican Sergio Pérez in the second Red Bull racing car took victory at the Singapore Grand Prix ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz jr. So the title decision is postponed again. Verstappen had already lost his chance of winning in qualifying on Saturday and ended up seventh in a 16th World Championship race marked by chaos and crashes when he overtook Sebastian Vettel. For Mick Schumacher, who finished 13th as penultimate, it was not enough for a letter of recommendation at his first appearance in Singapore.
Such is the mother of all night races, she promises sweet dreams, and suddenly it becomes a nightmare. That can still come for the winner, because of distance errors in safety car phases, he is threatened with two more time penalties after the end of the race, which could still change the result if they are more than the 7.5 seconds that Perez has over the finish line second had. What a mess!
More than an hour late
At about the moment when the Formula 1 convoy should have made its way to the starting grid, the water was almost up to the height of the safety car door. Bernd Mayländer ventured out as a scout after a torrential downpour turned the Marina Bay Street Circuit into a seascape an hour and a half before the race was due to start. But just as quickly as the weather chaos breaks out at the equator, thunderstorms pass just as quickly.
With a little more than an hour delay, the 16th World Championship round finally got rolling. But treacherous puddles still lurked in many curves of the uneven city road, and where the water has run off, the special asphalt still retained the moisture. The audience, who had been waiting for a long time, was kept awake by the exciting question: Who can wet whom here?
Intermediates are the names of the right tires, rubber for mixed conditions and mixed feelings. Sparks and spray sprayed the racing cars the short distance to the first corner, and already Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari had lost the ninth pole position of the season again to a Red Bull racing car. However, not to the title favorite Max Verstappen, but his deputy Sergio Perez.
Because the British team, which has been almost infallible so far this season, made an embarrassing strategic mistake at the end of Saturday’s qualification at their number one. The future champion’s car ran out of fuel to complete the final lap that would have put him in the lead. Instead: grid position eight, and that on a track with similar characteristics to Monte Carlo, so extremely unfriendly to overtaking. The Dutchman explained his fit of rage over the pit radio as follows: “We don’t just want to be good, we want to be perfect.”
The perfect strategy for the first few laps was the same for everyone – it was just a matter of staying on track as Singapore’s concrete barriers are unforgiving. It was critical between Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz in the fight for third place, Silver Arrow and Ferrari touched. And Verstappen also had to do with keeping his chances alive, collided slightly with Kevin Magnussen in the Ferrari and meanwhile slipped back to twelfth place. It was already clear to him that he wouldn’t be able to close the sack yet, but of course the fighting spirit of the superior Formula 1 driver couldn’t accept that.