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Verstappen proves he is human as storm raged on and off track - What we learned at the Singapore GP
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Verstappen proves he is human as storm raged on and off track - What we learned at the Singapore GP

Verstappen proves he is human as storm raged on and off track - What we learned at the Singapore GP

F1 News

Verstappen proves he is human as storm raged on and off track - What we learned at the Singapore GP

Verstappen proves he is human as storm raged on and off track - What we learned at the Singapore GP

Following a three-year lay-off, F1 returned to Singapore in spectacular fashion as rain under the Marina Bay lights threw up a stunner.

After the race start was delayed by 65 minutes, Sergio Perez jumped Charles Leclerc at the start and never relinquished the lead on the way to his fourth career victory, and his second of the season.

But with Max Verstappen, both Mercedes drivers and indeed most of the field enduring some kind of difficulty during the two-hour race and a political storm brewing off-track, here is a look at what we learned at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Verstappen is human as Perez proves Red Bull worth

All the talk ahead of the weekend was of Verstappen's potential to wrap up a second F1 championship with a sixth consecutive victory.

But that streak was dashed by a multitude of errors from Red Bull and the driver himself across the event. A lack of fuel in qualifying left the Dutchman eighth on the grid, whilst a poor start dropped him to 12th and a major lock-up later in the race meant he could only finish seventh.

Team-mate Perez, meanwhile, put recent troubles to one side to prove exactly why he has been signed to a multi-year contract extension.

This was the type of race that Red Bull was crying out a few years ago, calling on a reliable second driver as Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly before Perez were unable to keep tabs with the frontrunners.

But on a weekend where Ferrari could have taken a one-two into the Japanese Grand Prix, Mexican Perez put in arguably the performance of his career in extremely difficult circumstances to clinch victory.

For Verstappen, his second championship point comes at Suzuka next weekend.

Mercedes blow big opportunity

Mercedes has been unable to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari for victories all season, other than in Hungary and the Netherlands.

On paper, Singapore provided an opportunity, though worries persisted over the bumpy nature of the street track.

Lewis Hamilton was sublime in qualifying to finish third, just half a tenth down on pole-sitter Charles Leclerc.

A poor start, though, allowed Carlos Sainz through in the second Ferrari but with the Spaniard then travelling much slower than Perez and his team-mate out front, it took away Hamilton's hopes of at least a podium.

A mistake and a collision with the barriers then compounded the Briton's woes, whilst another issue when making a move on Sebastian Vettel ensured ninth would be the best he could achieve.

For George Russell, more things went wrong than they did right on a weekend to forget. Technical gremlins, driver mistakes and an over-optimistic strategy gamble meant he left empty-handed, despite being handed a "car capable of winning".

Alonso Alpine fractures emerging

Fernando Alonso shocked the F1 paddock by announcing a switch to Aston Martin from Alpine this summer.

After an engine failure whilst running in the top six at Marina Bay cost him yet more points, the first glimpse of ire was noticeable from Alonso.

The two-time champion slated the team, declaring it "unacceptable" that his "number 14" could suffer from so many issues in a season.

Just five races remain for the partnership that promised so much this season. If failures do not cease, an acrimonious split could be impending.

Delay to race starts must be solved

The delayed start to the race included the pit lane open procedure being pushed back.

This meant that the full grid ceremony was performed, with celebrities and members of the media swarming around the cars ahead of the national anthem.

But in the time taken to get the race underway, the track had become suitably dry for intermediate tyres rather than extreme wets.

There must be a way to speed up the process, whether it is simply allowing the mechanics the 20 minutes they need to prepare the cars on the grid and ditching the grid ceremonies.

It is not the first time the wets have been bypassed by dithering over getting the race underway. With finances so high on F1's agenda, at what point does the compound become a needless expense?

Horner defiant but Red Bull face agonising FIA wait

Off-track, Red Bull has been accused of a material breach of the 2021 budget cap.

The FIA's findings, published through certificates of compliance, will be released on Wednesday, with the process supposedly confidential.

Yet ahead of the race weekend, reports hinted two teams were in breach of the financial regulations last season, with Aston Martin believed to be the other team to have transgressed.

If Red Bull is found to have been in breach, significant ramifications could follow, including changes to last season's championship standings.

It remains to be seen what will happen, with Christian Horner absolutely confident in his belief the team was "significantly" below the cap.

For the FIA, this is a crucial few days. If there has been a breach, which speculation suggests, then the punishments handed out will determine the integrity and longevity of the regulations of which the groundwork was formulated over a vast period of time.

If there hasn't been a breach, then rival teams Mercedes and Ferrari will have a lot to answer for after a series of allegations across the weekend.

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