Sergio Perez has taken his second win of the 2022 Formula 1 season with a dominant performance on a damp track at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Mexican crossed the line ahead of pole-sitter Charles Leclerc, with Carlos Sainz completing the podium.
The race had to be delayed after a deluge soaked the Marina Bay Circuit just before the race start procedure was due to begin.
As the rain stopped, the track remained damp as proceedings got underway, with the entire field starting the race on intermediate tyres.
Perez took the lead off the grid after making a better start than Leclerc, but his teammate headed backwards as a sluggish start saw Max Verstappen lose five places at the start.
Sainz and Lewis Hamilton made contact at turn two as the Ferrari moved up to third, while Alex Albon dropped to the back of the field after spinning on the opening lap.
After his poor start, Verstappen started to make his way back up the field, but found himself in traffic when he was unable to pass Sebastian Vettel.
Guanyu Zhou was the first driver out of the race when he was looking for a way past Nicholas Latifi, with the Canadian squeezing Zhou’s Alfa Romeo into the wall, also leaving his Williams with too much damage to continue.
There was a near miss between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell when Russell, who start the race in the pitlane after an engine change, looked for a way up the inside of the Finn, but locked up and ran long, with Bottas having to take avoiding action to prevent a crash.
The safety car came out while the marshals cleared Zhou’s car from the track, bunching the field up, which allowed Verstappen to quickly move ahead of Vettel and Pierre Gasly on the restart, climbing to seventh.
Fernando Alonos fought hard to keep the reigning champion behind, but his efforts were halted when his Alpine lost power, bringing him to a halt and resulting in a virtual safety car.
Meanwhile, Yuki Tsunoda ran wide, just keeping his AlphaTauri out of the barrier, but the moment cost him a few places, dropping him outside the points.
During the VSC period, Russell became the first driver to try switching to a slick tyre, but the Mercedes driver soon came over the radio to say there was no grip and couldn’t make progress from the back of the field.
There were further VSC periods when Albon ran wide, embedding his front wing in the barrier, and a couple of laps later when Esteban Ocon suffered a failure, leaving his Alpine stricken on track.
Hamilton’s hopes of a podium were dealt a blow when he locked up, clattering into the barrier and damaging his front wing. He rejoined the track just in front of Verstappen with his front wing wobbling, but he managed to continue until his pitstop a couple of laps later.
After his struggles on the slick tyre, Russell started to set fastest lap times, triggering a wave of activity in the pitlane. Gasly was the first of the rest of the field to come in for slicks, with Leclerc the earlier of the front-runners, but it was a slow pitstop from the Ferrari crew.
Hamilton changed his front wing before Sainz and the Red Bull cars also stopped, but McLaren were the only team to keep both of their cars out on inters.
But, McLaren’s wait paid off when Tsunoda clattered into the barriers again, this time burying his AlphaTauri in the TechPro, bringin out the safety car, and allowing Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo to make a cheap pitstop. The majority of the field went onto medium tyres, but Bottas and Ricciardo tried the softs.
Verstappen tried to get past Norris on the restart to move up to fourth, but he carried too much speed and had to run long, locking up and destroying his tyres.
There was further tyre drama for Russell when he banged wheels with Mick Schumacher, picking up a puncture, as well as leaving the the Haas with a puncture.
The safety car periods meant it wasn’t possible to get the full race distance completed in the two-hour window, with the race being measured on time instead. With just under half an hour remaining, DRS was enabled for the first time as Leclerc began to close in on Perez.
The Ferrari couldn’t quite find a way past, but Perez finished the race under investigation for a safety car infringement, so could face a post-race penalty.
Meanwhile, Verstappen climbed back up into the points, and was battling with Hamilton and Vettel for seventh place. Hamilton’s hopes of finishing at the front of the trio came undone though when he tried to move ahead of Vettel, but ran wide and lost the spot to Verstappen.
Running at the back of the field for much of the race, Russell made a final pitstop late on to make an attempt at the fastest lap. Although he finished outside the top 10, so doesn’t get a bonus point for setting the fastest lap, he did take the fastest time away from Perez, taking the bonus point away from the Red Bull driver, who sits just ahead of Russell in the drivers’ championship.
1 Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
4. Lando Norris (McLaren)
5. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
6. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
7. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
8. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
9. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
10. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
11. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
12. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
13. Mick Schumacher (Haas)
14. George Russell (Mercedes)
Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
Alex Albon (Williams)
Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)