Sergio Perez keeps Singapore GP win despite penalty for safety car violation

Race winner Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on October 02, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore - Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
Race winner Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on October 02, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore - Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
  • Pérez wins dramatic race ahead of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz

  • Hamilton crashes into barriers but continues to ninth with six retirements in total

  • Verstappen drops back to last but fights back twice to finish seventh

What a crazy few days. Red Bull arrived in Singapore hoping to wrap up a second successive drivers’ title for Max Verstappen. Not only did they not achieve that objective, with Verstappen only able to finish seventh in a rain-affected, incident-filled race eventually won by his teammate Sergio Perez, they head to Japan this weekend sweating ever-so-slightly over his first.

After a long, torturous auditing process, the FIA, Formula One’s governing body, is on Wednesday due to hand out ‘certificates of compliance’ to those teams who passed the budget cap of $145million introduced last year.

The rumour that ripped through the Singapore paddock last weekend like the monsoon rain that delayed Sunday’s race start by over an hour, was that Red Bull were one of two teams to have breached the cap. Christian Horner remained defiant. Red Bull’s team principal tried to switch the focus to Perez’s win, which was finally confirmed at 2am local time, nearly three hours after the race had ended, due to a stewards’ investigation. And he repeated his threat to Mercedes, first made on Saturday, that they should retract any suggestion that his team had breached the cap or else face the consequences. “Absolutely,” Horner insisted when asked whether legal action remained a possibility. “We will consider all of our options. It was totally unacceptable to make a completely unfounded allegation. What is the source of this information?”

The truth is, though, it is going to be a nervous few days. If Red Bull are deemed to be in breach the narrative heading to Japan is very swiftly going to move on from what Verstappen needs to do to claim his second world title, to whether his first is now on the line. No one - not even Mercedes in their wildest dreams - seriously expects him to be stripped of it. But stranger things have happened. Who knows what an independent panel might decide? Particularly if the breach is material and/or there are any aggravating factors.

One thing is certain: it was a decidedly average birthday weekend for Verstappen. The Dutchman turned 25 on Friday and entered the weekend hoping for the sixth successive victory that might have yielded the title with five rounds to go. Instead, he saw his qualifying on Saturday ruined by a fuelling error which left him starting seventh, then his race ruined by a poor start which dropped him to 11th. Verstappen fought back but then locked up trying to pass McLaren’s Lando Norris, flat-spotting his tyre in the process. “It was just a very frustrating weekend,” he concluded. “We have five races left and a big lead, but I want to have good weekends every time. This one was really terrible. It started with Saturday’s big f--- up. I take zero delight in today. I will have other birthday weekends.”

Verstappen - AFP
Verstappen - AFP

Verstappen was not the only driver to suffer a frustrating weekend. Mercedes were hoping to compete for a first win of the season in Singapore but ended up having a shocker. Lewis Hamilton, starting third, had a poor start then pranged his car, smashing up his front wing. As he tried to fight back towards the finish he overcooked a corner attempting to overtake Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel for eighth, allowing Verstappen in turn to pass him. Hamilton ended up finishing ninth, describing it as “a pretty rubbish day”. “It all went out the fricking window when I locked up so my apologies to the team,” he added.

That was nothing. George Russell, who began the race from the pitlane, ended up being lapped twice after a gamble on an early switch to slick tyres backfired because the track was still too wet from the downpour.

Russell compounded that error by colliding with Mick Schumacher, suffering a puncture which dropped him to the back. He finished out of the points in 14th.

It was a crazy race all told. Initially pushed back by over an hour due to a torrential downpour,  it involved no fewer than five safety cars - a combination of real ones and virtual ones - and was eventually timed out after three hours.

In the heat and humidity, Perez proved the coolest customer. The Mexican took the lead from Ferrari’s pole-sitter Charles Leclerc right at the start, and managed to keep calm through the mayhem.

With just a few minutes remaining, second-placed Leclerc, still within a couple of seconds of Perez, was told by Ferrari to try to stay within five seconds of the Mexican in case he should cop a five-second penalty for two counts of dropping too far behind the safety car. As it happens, that is exactly what Perez got, stewards eventually awarding him a five-second penalty and a reprimand at 1am. But since Perez had managed to carve out a 7.5sec lead by the finish, his victory was safe. Horner declared it the “best performance” of Perez’s career and his driver was inclined to agree. McLaren also had a superb day, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo playing a canny game in amongst all the safety cars to finish fourth and fifth respectively.

So the title race rolls on to Suzuka this weekend where Verstappen will need to gain eight points on Leclerc and nine on Perez to clinch his second title. The big question, though, is whether his first will be back in play by then.

Singapore Grand Prix, as it happened

05:11 PM

We are still waiting to hear back from Sergio Perez's meeting with the stewards

He was only due to appear there 10 minutes ago, though, and you would expect it wouldn't be a quick in and out. These things often take a long time, though...

I will leave it there for now, though, but we will keep you posted on any potential race-changing penalty.

Thanks for joining me and stay tuned for more from us in the next day or two.

05:03 PM

In a very difficult season, this was a great result for Daniel Ricciardo

His best finish of the season and only his fifth top 10.

McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Sunday, Oct.2, 2022 - AP
McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Sunday, Oct.2, 2022 - AP

04:58 PM

Here's what Perez had to say after the race

It was my best performance, I controlled the race. The last few laps were so intense. I didn't feel it that much in the car but when i got out I felt it.... I gave everything for the win today. I have no idea what went on, they just told me that I was under investigation and to increase the gap and that is what we did. I think it's nicer for Max to get it [the title] in Japan.

04:56 PM

Hamilton reacts to a difficult day

Difficult to overtake, that lock up in turn seven. When those things happen your heart sinks a little bit. I tried to get past Seb [Vettel] but it was wet on the inside. Wasn't the greatest day but I am looking forward to tomorrow. My apologies to the team, but we live and we learn. I will recover.

04:48 PM

Verstappen speaks to Sky Sports

It's better than eighth but it's not what I'm here for. What we showed in practice, it's just incredibly messy.

04:46 PM

More from Horner

This team is a phenomenal team, it's the best team in the pit lane. We're incredibly proud of everything that's being achieved. This year could well be our best year in Formula One. Five to go and everything to play for [it would mean a lot] to bring these two championships home.

As a team it's just a fantastic performance. The Red Bull spirit and performance... we are a maverick team, we push the boundaries... but we're a team of racers.

04:42 PM

Christian Horner speaks to Sky Sports F1 on Perez's win

He settled himself into the race, he looked after those intermediate tyres. He was just always in control, super cool. He just couldn't shake off Charles. They were throwing everything at it. Checo - one wobble from Charles gave him that second break... super proud of him today. That's world-class. That's right up there. That's for sure his best victory and under massive pressure. Just super, super proud of him. He's done a wonderful job.

He describes it as a "tough" weekend for Verstappen.

04:33 PM

Perez will see the stewards at 4.55pm BST

For that SC infringement of not keeping within 10 car-lengths. Vettel did similar earlier in the year at the Canadian Grand Prix but was not punished, so mitigating factors can be taken into account. It is not black and white.

04:29 PM

Updated constructor standings

Six wins in a row for Red Bull now. It was a good chance for Ferrari today. Could Leclerc have done it had he kept the lead at the start? Probably. The top two were incredibly evenly matched in pace all day and miles ahead of anyone else.

04:26 PM

Updated driver standings - Top 10

Leclerc closes the gap to just 102 points, but Sergio Perez is only two points behind him now in the battle for second. Can probably discount Russell in that fight now?

04:23 PM

Carlos Sainz reacts to a distant but creditable third

I never really got into a rhythm in the wet and then I couldn't challenge with the top two guys. I had to settle for P3 and the good thing was I didn't do any mistakes. Good result for the team in the constructors' championship. It's crazy how long it takes here to dry. We keep doing laps and you keep looking at the track and the dry line doesn't appear in some places.

04:17 PM

Perez ended up finishing 7.595s ahead of Leclerc

So if he does get a five-second penalty for the SC infringement then he's fine. If it's 10 seconds then he's not.

Ferrari think he might get two five-second penalties for dropping more than 10 car lengths behind the SC.

George Russell gets the fastest lap, but doesn't get the bonus point because he finished 14th and last on the road.

04:14 PM

Singapore Grand Prix - Classification

  1. PER

  2. LEC

  3. SAI

  4. NOR

  5. RIC

  6. STR

  7. VER

  8. VET

  9. HAM

  10. GAS

  11. BOT

  12. MAG

  13. MSC

  14. RUS

OUT: TSU, OCO, ALB, ALO, LAT, ZHO

Verstappen did get Vettel on the last lap for seventh, making up one place on his starting position.

04:13 PM

SERGIO PEREZ WINS THE SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX

His fourth race win and an impeccable one, really. Just missed out on pole position and barely put a foot wrong in Sakhir. Street circuit master. Wins for Red Bull in Singapore, Monaco and Baku (in 2021).

Max Verstappen has to wait to confirm his championship. A problematic weekend for him overall.

04:10 PM

FINAL LAP - Perez leads Leclerc by 6.4s

Smashed it, really. A couple of lock ups but this has been a very long afternoon that has required an extreme amount of concentration and poise.

Perez laps Russell for a second time...

04:09 PM

1 min to go - Hamilton drops behind Verstappen!

He was trying a move on Vettel but locked up, ran wide and let Verstappen through. Couldn't really slow it down on the damp line, there.

Vettel now leads Verstappen behind in eighth with Hamilton ninth.

04:08 PM

2 mins to go - Perez stretches his lead to 4.3s

Of course, who don't really know what the SC infringement is yet and the penalty - if any - may be more than five seconds. And he may not even get a penalty... it's a bit rubbish that it will be decided and announced after the race, podium celebrations and interviews etc. But there you go, that's F1.

04:06 PM

3 mins remain - Top 10

  1. PER

  2. LEC

  3. SAI

  4. NOR

  5. RIC

  6. STR

  7. VET

  8. HAM

  9. VET

  10. GAS

Good day for McLaren in their fight with Alpine (who have had two DNFs). Decent day for Aston Martin, too.

04:06 PM

5 mins remain - Perez leads Leclerc by 3.4s

It could get tasty between Verstappen and Hamilton shortly. Hamilton has now caught Vettel ahead of him. This is where the action is on track at the very end.

Perez might get that five-second buffer at this rate...

04:04 PM

7 mins remain - Verstappen right on the back of Hamilton... for eighth

Vettel is only 1.5s further up the road. Will probably be a struggle for Perez to reach the five-second buffer he might need. Leclerc has been told what Perez is up to, so they are both lapping quickly.

Russell came into the pits a couple of laps ago to switch to soft tyres. He can't get the fastest lap point unless he's in the top 10 so that's a bit odd. Not sure stopping Ferrari or Red Bull getting it really matters...

04:02 PM

8 mins remain - Perez with another fastest lap

Leclerc has had a few small moments in recent laps. The gap is three seconds.

04:00 PM

11 mins remain - Perez extends his lead to 2.5s

Horner says he doesn't understand why Perez has been called in front of the stewards. Verstappen now closing up on Hamilton for eighth. Verstappen on soft tyres, Hamilton on older mediums.

Perez has been told by his race engineer that he is under investigation for a SC infringement. They probably want him to build a potentially penalty-busting gap, probably. He sets the new fastest lap of the race to go three seconds ahead of Leclerc.

03:57 PM

13 mins remain - Verstappen gets Bottas for 10th

And then Gasly in short order for 9th. Needless to say he will not be winning the championship today if things stay as they are.

Meanwhile, and incredibly unsatisfactorily, Sergio Perez's SC potential infringement will be investigated after the race. 

03:56 PM

14 mins remain - Top 10 and gaps

  1. PER

  2. LEC +1.7

  3. SAI +12.1

  4. NOR +14.8

  5. RIC +33.2

  6. STR +38.8

  7. VET +41.5

  8. HAM +42.5

  9. GAS +47.6

  10. BOT +48.8

Verstappen is within a second of Bottas for the final point of the race...

03:55 PM

15 mins remain - Perez leads Leclerc by 1.4s

Perez sets the fastest lap of the day which gives him a bit more breathing room.

"Schumacher defending like it's the race of his life, crikey..." is what Russell says on the radio. I don't blame him, his F1 future depends on it.

No word on that SC infringement from Perez.

03:53 PM

17 mins remain - Perez leads Leclerc by 1.5s

A few mistakes from Leclerc and he loses the best part of a second. That could cost him but there is still plenty of time left.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico leads Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Sunday, Oct.2, 2022 - AP
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico leads Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Sunday, Oct.2, 2022 - AP

03:51 PM

20 mins remain - Perez locks up again!

The gap is just 0.3s as they cross the line to start lap 48. The gap to Sainz is now 10 seconds. Norris is 1.6s behind the Spaniard and Daniel Ricciardo 15 behind his team-mate. The two Aston Martins follow behind with Hamilton in eighth.

03:49 PM

21 mins remain - It's a big lock up from Perez into turn 14

Leclerc can't take advantage there, but he might be able to later...

Here's the top 10:

  1. PER

  2. LEC

  3. SAI

  4. NOR

  5. RIC

  6. STR

  7. VET

  8. HAM

  9. GAS

  10. BOT

The gap under a second almost at all points. Leclerc can't really get close enough to try a move, though.

03:47 PM

22 mins remain - Leclerc closer than ever at turn seven...

No further investigation necessary for the Russell/Schumacher incident.

Perez clinging on for dear life here.

03:46 PM

24 mins remain - It's a drivability issue for Perez

The Mexican leads Leclerc by just 0.5s. DRS isn't a guaranteed overtake on this track as it is on some others.

Mexican Formula One driver Sergio Perez of Red Bull Racing (L) and Monaco's Formula One driver Charles Leclerc of Scuderia Ferrari (R) in action during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, 02 October 2022 - TOM WHITE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock 
Mexican Formula One driver Sergio Perez of Red Bull Racing (L) and Monaco's Formula One driver Charles Leclerc of Scuderia Ferrari (R) in action during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, 02 October 2022 - TOM WHITE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Verstappen sets the fastest lap, but he's down in 12th, 44 seconds off leader Perez.

Leclerc locks up into turn 14 and loses a bit of time on exit.

03:43 PM

26 mins remain - Leclerc the fastest man on the track

Perez has a problem, he says. And DRS has been enabled. 

Perez and Leclerc again by far the two fastest men on the track.

Can Perez hang on? I don't think so...

03:41 PM

28 mins remain - Leclerc harrying Perez for the lead

Mick Schumacher has come into the pits with a problem and comes back out... probably another puncture after that Russell incident.

03:40 PM

30 mins remain - Top 10 and gaps

  1. PER

  2. LEC +0.751

  3. SAI +5.308

  4. NOR +7.208

  5. RIC +9.343

  6. STR +13.533

  7. VET +15.845

  8. HAM +16.908

  9. GAS +19.571

  10. BOT +23.850

03:39 PM

32 mins remain - Perez noted for a SC infringement

Verstappen will be coming out right at the back of the pack...

What's this now? Russell is going slowly and has a right rear puncture.  This is a race of high attrition and it has come to life recently after a slow start...

No idea what happened to Russell yet. It was a collision at turn one with Schumacher. Strange to see a puncture like that, it appeared to be tyre on tyre. Russell was up the inside.

03:37 PM

RACE RESTARTS!

Everyone on the medium slicks apart from Ricciardo and Bottas, who are on the soft slicks.

Max Verstappen is flying at the start! But he locks up massively deep into turn seven and goes straight on. He spin turns and rejoins in eighth... ahead of Hamilton.  His tyres will surely be flat spotted. Yes.

"I need to pit," he says. He was trying a move on Ricciardo. He had the move done pretty much, going up the inside, but just couldn't stop the car into the corner.

03:35 PM

Watch: Tsunoda's race-ending incident

The SC period is ending... the pack has bunched up as far as Vettel, really. Hamilton and a few others will probably end up joining that by the time the race restarts.

Just under 35 mins of racing to go, presuming there are no other major incidents.

Verstappen is worried about a tear off in the rear right brake duct. He asks his team to check the temperature.

03:33 PM

37 mins remain - Perez leads leclerc, Sainz and Norris

Christian Horner on Sky Sports says DRS should be activated.

03:32 PM

Lap 38 of 61 - Safety Car still out

The pack is closing up. Currently it goes back as far as Verstappen, with Ricciardo and Stroll about to join the end of the snake. The barriers are currently being repaired.

There are 24 laps left including this one but we will not get them all in.  There are only 38 minutes left to run, which would be the two-hour race period. 

03:29 PM

Watch: Hamilton goes into the barriers

03:28 PM

Lap 37 of 61 - Perez did retain the lead and with seven seconds in his pocket

So that worked out well for the Mexican. McLaren bring Lando Norris in and surely Ricciardo will follow. Norris comes out in fourth but behind Sainz. Norris on slick mediums, Ricciardo on slick soft tyres.

Here's the top 10 under the SC:

  1. PER

  2. LEC

  3. SAI

  4. NOR

  5. VER

  6. RIC

  7. STR

  8. VET

  9. HAM

  10. GAS

03:25 PM

Lap 36 of 61 - Tsunoda in the barriers at turn 10!

He's gone in quite deep there...

Should they red flag this? They might need to repair the barrier here.

It's a full SC which works out very well for those who haven't stopped yet. I think. That's Norris and Ricciardo. 

03:24 PM

Lap 35 of 61 - Perez now leads Sainz

I wonder how well this is going to work out for Leclerc...

It was a slow stop because he went beyond his marks.

Medium tyres out for Perez in the Red Bull garage. Can he rejoin in the lead? Sainz also comes in. Perez should be able to hang onto the lead now.

Norris stays out... in comes Verstappen.

03:22 PM

Lap 34 of 61 - AlphaTauri put Gasly onto the slicks

Russell is now setting the fastest sector times. Hamilton's front-wing end plate is very loose and is sparking on the ground. Verstappen isn't happy with it.

Hamilton just locked up, went straight on and couldn't get down the escape road in time and went into the barriers.

The time is definitely right for slicks now. I don't know why another backmarker didn't try this sooner...

Russell sets the fastest lap of the race. 

Leclerc comes in but it's a slow stop.

03:20 PM

HAMILTON IN THE WALL!

He goes straight on at turn seven! He's probably damaged his front wing quite badly...?

He reverses back onto the track and rejoins between Norris and Verstappen! His front wing doesn't look too bad... considering, but he will surely need to change it.

03:18 PM

Lap 33 of 61 - Perez leads Leclerc by 2.9s

Leclerc took 1.2s out of him the last time around... interesting. We have just reached half distance... this has been a loooong race already. Needs a bit of something to spice it up, for certain.

Verstappen gets onto the back of Norris in the final sector. It's still very wet off-line. Russell's last lap was only 2.2s off Perez's time.

If I was Tsunoda or Bottas I would be coming in for slicks in the next couple of laps.

03:16 PM

Lap 32 of 61 - Russell is still out there on the mediums

He has now been lapped. Not really working out for him this weekend, is it? The switch to the mediums was far too early.

Mercedes' British driver George Russell leaves the pit lane after a stop during the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on October 2, 2022. - AFP
Mercedes' British driver George Russell leaves the pit lane after a stop during the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on October 2, 2022. - AFP

03:15 PM

Lap 31 of 61 - Top 10 and gaps as VSC ends

  1. PER

  2. LEC +4.5

  3. SAI +20.3

  4. HAM +21.8

  5. NOR +34.5

  6. VER +34.9

  7. GAS +44.2

  8. VET +45.7

  9. STR +51.3

  10. RIC +58.8

03:14 PM

Lap 30 of 61 - The order under the VSC hasn't changed

Hamilton on the radio: "He just brake tested me."

Not sure about that. Hamilton was on the inside.

VSC ending... Verstappen loses time under the VSC, trying to anticipate the period ending but he is in danger of going over his delta time so has to back out and locks up.

"It was very dangerous," Verstappen says.

03:11 PM

Lap 29 of 61 - Albon came into the pits...

...but had to retire.

VSC still ongoing but will be ending soon, I think. Hamilton is on Sainz's rear wing. Sainz struggling at the moment under racing conditions.

03:10 PM

Lap 28 of 61 - Ocon has now pulled to the side of the road

That brings out yellow flags. It's at turn 13. There's a lot of smoke but is that because he's stopped or is it the cause of the issue?Yeah, looks like it's coming out of the engine cover.

He is slowly, very slowly, trying to reverse. He confirms it's a failure so I assume he is trying to get it back towards the barriers and to make it easier for the marshals to move it from harm's way.

It's another VSC... and out come the mechanics in the pit lane. Perez and Leclerc both go through. Ferrari mechanics have some intermediate tyres on. I don't think that is the right call at this time. I don't think we're too far off slicks but it's not quite now. Sainz also goes around.

03:06 PM

Lap 27 of 61 - Perez leads Leclerc by 4.3s

The VSC has ended as they remove Albon's front wing from the barriers. Verstappen sets about harrying Norris for fifth.

Here's the top 10: 

  1. PER

  2. LEC

  3. SAI

  4. HAM

  5. NOR

  6. VER

  7. GAS

  8. VET

  9. STR

  10. RIC

03:04 PM

Lap 26 of 61 - Albon in the wall!

He's gone into the barriers, nose-first, dislodging his barriers. He reverses out but his front wing stays there. Will this be another VSC as they need to get that front wing back.... Or full SC?

VSC deployed. 

Slick tyre watchers: Russell's first sector was within a second of Perez's.

03:02 PM

Lap 25 of 61 - Russell's sector times looking a bit better now

Much better in sector one, only 1.3s the gap in S1 and two seconds in S2. I wonder if Vettel or Stroll might try something in the next two or three laps. They are both in the points, so maybe not.  Schumacher, Magnussen, Albon to go to the softs?

03:00 PM

Lap 24 of 61 - Verstappen with the new fastest lap

Leclerc takes about 0.8s out of Perez that time around as the tyres come up to temperature.

Russell, on the mediums, is around 2.5s slower than the leaders in sector one and four seconds in sector two.

Perez then takes the FL point off his team-mate, provisionally.

02:58 PM

Lap 23 of 61 - VSC ends

Russell on the radio: "No grip," he says. He could well be coming back in to change to intermediates.

Perez leads Leclerc by 2.9s. Sainz leads Hamilton by just 0.8s.

Verstappen in sixth and now free of Alonso, who is out, sets the fastest first sector of the race.

Russell stays out. Let's see how much time he is going to lose... or not?

02:55 PM

Lap 22 of 61 - VSC period

In comes Russell... will he go onto slicks? Let's see. He wasn't making any progress. It is slicks. Mediums...

Okay, let's keep an eye on this. He nearly loses the rear end and goes into the barriers on the exit of the pits.... but keeps it going. Verstappen is told of this and calls him brave.

02:54 PM

Lap 21 of 61 - Third race distance reached

Unfortunately it has not been a remotely eventful race.

Fernando Alonso has stopped somewhere off the track... it's an engine issue, he says. That could well be another full Safety Car. Or at least a VSC.

It is a VSC. 

Pit stops will be taken here, for certain. Will anyone dive onto the slicks? It would be bold.

02:53 PM

Lap 20 of 61 - Perez with a new fastest lap

A 1:58.519, or around six tenths faster than Perez and 1.5s faster than Sainz. Hamilton keeping Sainz honest but not really hassling him as such.

02:51 PM

Lap 19 of 61 - Can Verstappen finally get Alonso?

No genuine chances yet for an overtake. Perez is finding good pace and moves two two seconds ahead of Leclerc. Sainz is lapping a full second down from the leaders, if not a bit more.

Verstappen complains of a "massive lag on the upshift".

Perez now 2.5s ahead at the end of the lap...

02:47 PM

Lap 18 of 61 - Perez leads Leclerc by 1.5s

Leclerc holds the fastest lap point currently with a new fastest lap, a 1:58.983.

Red Bull Racing's Mexican driver Sergio Perez drives ahead of Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc during the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on October 2, 2022 - AFP 
Red Bull Racing's Mexican driver Sergio Perez drives ahead of Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc during the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on October 2, 2022 - AFP

Sainz says it's not far from slicks. Verstappen says it's too wet for slicks.

02:45 PM

Lap 17 of 71 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. PER

  2. LEC +1.596

  3. SAI +9.232

  4. HAM +10.514

  5. NOR +15.973

  6. ALO +18.764

  7. VER +19.391

  8. GAS +26.549

  9. VET +28.058

  10. TSU +31.556

02:44 PM

Lap 16 of 61 - Hamilton now within a second of Sainz

Hamilton's pace isn't really that much better, though. But the gap to the front two has grown significantly. It's now seven seconds between Sainz in third and Leclerc in second. George Russell still in 16th as he tries to battle through the field.

02:42 PM

Lap 15 of 61 - Perez leads Leclerc by 1.8s

Not much else to report throughout the field, sadly. A bit of a waiting game. Verstappen still hasn't passed Alonso.

02:41 PM

Lap 14 of 61 - Perez leads Leclerc by 1.6s

Hamilton closing in on Sainz now, nearly within one second of the Spaniard. Norris a further 4.3s further back. A fair bit of field spread...

By far from an interesting race so far, you have to say. Shame.

02:38 PM

Lap 13 of 61 - Verstappen now on the back of Alonso

Verstappen at least a full second quicker than the Spaniard at the moment. The crucial part of this race will be managing the intermediate tyres when the tread runs down and they get warm and also switching to slicks. Wouldn't say we're anywhere close to that yet.

02:36 PM

Lap 12 of 61 - Top 10 and gaps

  1. PER

  2. LEC +1.015

  3. SAI +4.092

  4. HAM +5.365

  5. NOR +8.679

  6. ALO +10.267

  7. VER +10.863

  8. GAS +15.190

  9. VET +15.861

  10. TSU +17.429

02:34 PM

Lap 11 of 61 - Verstappen gets Gasly at turn 13

Up the inside at the hairpin and nicely done. Stewards looking at the incident between Verstappen and Magnussen as well as the Latifi and Zhou incident. I imagine that will be a grid drop for Latifi for the next race.

Perez leads Leclerc by 1.1s. 

02:33 PM

RACE RESTARTS

Hamilton gets a reasonable restart but he's not close enough to even think about challenging Sainz. The order stays very much as it was, though Verstappen is getting a bit fighty and gets ahead of Vettel! He's now in eighth. Back where he started.

02:31 PM

Lap 10 of 61 - SC ending

Here's how we ended up with a safety car in the first place.

Perez bunches the pack up again for the restart. Can he hold onto the lead? He has Leclerc, Sainz and Hamilton behind him.

02:29 PM

Watch: Verstappen's slow start drops him back

02:28 PM

Lap 9 of 61 - Full Safety Car

Latifi comes into the pit lane and retires. That was 100 per cent his fault. He said on the radio he picked up a puncture and he wasn't sure why. Or that at least he didn't see Zhou.

Here's the top 15, then:

  1. PER

  2. LEC

  3. SAI

  4. HAM

  5. NOR

  6. ALO

  7. GAS

  8. VET

  9. VER

  10. TSU

  11. STR

  12. RIC

  13. MSC

  14. OCO

  15. BOT

Russell and Bottas had an incident before the SC. Russell went up the inside of Bottas but clipped the Finn and went straight on. A bit clumsy but nothing too horrific.

02:26 PM

Lap 8 of 61 - Will this be a full SC or a VSC?

It was an incident between Zhou and Latifi. Zhou was on the outside, Latifi moved over and squeezed him into the wall. Latifi has a rear left puncture, caused by that. Zhou's front right was broken in the incident and he had no other option but to retire.

FULL SAFETY CAR CALLED. 

This will bunch the pack up again. It's too early for anyone to think about switching to slicks so I don't think anyone is going to benefit from a SC at this stage.

02:24 PM

Lap 7 of 61 - Perez leads Leclerc by 1.5s

Sainz, 6.2s behind his team-mate is picking up his pace. Verstappen still struggling to clear Vettel. Magnussen has a black and orange flag for the damage on his front wing. He will probably have to come into change it, then.

Yellow flags... Zhou has stopped at turn five. Latifi has a puncture. Russell looks to have had an issue somewhere, too, but continues around. 

02:22 PM

Lap 6 of 61 - Verstappen closing up on Vettel now for eighth

The crossover time for dry tyres in race conditions would probably be about 1:54, I think. Leclerc currently has the fastest lap. Remember, no DRS in wet conditions.

Hamilton sets the fastest first sector of the race. Mercedes always struggle to get hear into their tyres... have they done what they usually do and they're now coming to life? His second sector is half-decent...

Norris says the track isn't drying that quickly.

02:18 PM

Lap 5 of 61 - Perez leads Leclerc by 1.251s

Sans is a further five seconds back with Hamilton another two back. Max Verstappen now in ninth but 21.7s behind his team-mate and leader Sergio Perez.

02:17 PM

Lap 4 of 61 - Hamilton: "I told you about these tyres," he says

Did he want the full wets?

British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes-AMG Petronas drives through the pit lane during the qualifying session of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, 01 October 2022 - MOHD RASFAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock 
British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes-AMG Petronas drives through the pit lane during the qualifying session of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, 01 October 2022 - MOHD RASFAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

02:14 PM

Lap 3 of 61 - Top 10

  1. PER

  2. LEC

  3. SAI

  4. HAM

  5. NOR

  6. ALO

  7. GAS

  8. VET

  9. TSU

  10. VER

02:13 PM

Lap 2 of 61 - Verstappen on the radio

"Magnussen has an end plate loose," he says. That's happened quite a few times this season. Verstappen is now ahead of the Dane and in 11th. He then dives up the inside of Stroll and moves up into the top 10.

02:12 PM

THE 2022 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX IS GO!

It's a great start by Perez who takes the lead on the inside lien into the first corner!

Hamilton is side-by-side with Sainz into turn one but runs wide and Sainz gets third place!

Hamilton now has Norris on his rear, hassling him. Verstappen has dropped back four places into 12th... there's a car at the back who spins backwards into an escape road... it's Albon.

Verstappen really battling in the midfield here, briefly dropping down to 13th behind even Ricciardo.

Perez leads Leclerc at the end of the lap by a second. 

02:09 PM

You can clearly see a lot of puddles and damp patches on the track

Leclerc leads the field around to the grid...

02:07 PM

The formation lap is go

Everyone away cleanly in the damp.

02:03 PM

Starting tyre types

No surprise: everyone is on intermediates.

02:03 PM

This has been a lengthy delay

But we should be able to get either the two hours of racing in or the 61 laps. Probably more likely to be the former. And we have a three-hour window in which to do it.

This could be interesting... Verstappen starts eighth. Leclerc on pole ahead of Perez, Hamilton, Sainz and Alonso.

02:00 PM

Just about five minutes to go...

Predictions? Would love to see Hamilton or Alonso compete. One thing will be crucial: timing the switch from intermediates to slicks. Another is likely to be, but is less controllable: the timing of pitting under the Safety Car.

01:59 PM

Telegraph Sport's Tom Cary has been having a look around the pit lane

Grid pretty dry but mechanics still sweeping standing water outside Russell's garage.

A mechanic sweeps the damp from outside George Russell's garage
A mechanic sweeps the damp from outside George Russell's garage

01:56 PM

We've had a few Safety Cars on the opening lap here in recent races

It would be quite a result if everyone emerged through the first couple of laps unscathed here. This probably gives George Russell a better hope of getting a decent finish today from the pit lane. He will have been able to adjust his set-up to gear it (a little) more to the wet conditions, though.

Mercedes driver George Russell of Britain sits in his car during the third practice session at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 - AP
Mercedes driver George Russell of Britain sits in his car during the third practice session at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 - AP

01:52 PM

Lando Norris speaks to Sky Sports F1

It's similar-ish to yesterday, probably a little bit wetter than when we started quali. We're going to be getting into the slick tyre phase at some point. The timing is very important. I wouldn't have  minded just a dry boring race but this gives us still an opportunity to go even further forward.  Difficult with visibility at the beginning with the spray. Slick tyres on a wet track isn't nice but it's part of racing.

01:46 PM

Fernando Alonso speaks to Martin Brundle on Sky Sports

We've been through this kind of starts and stress, looking at 2017 it was half of the race wet and then we switched to dry tyres. I think it's going to be the same today. [It's] an opportunity, for sure.

01:41 PM

Perez says it's still too wet for the intermediates

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico steers his car during the qualifying session at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 - AP
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez of Mexico steers his car during the qualifying session at the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix, at the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 - AP

Hmmm.

01:35 PM

Verstappen switches from the wets to the inters...

... on his exploratory laps, but locks up at the end of the first DRS zone and goes straight on. Maybe not quite ready for intermediates. But in another 30 minutes, it probably is.

Plus, if you do start on the wets, it is only going to get drier and fast, and you will be compromised strategically.

We will be told whether this will be a standing start or behind the safety car at 2pm BST. Should be a standing start, in these conditions.

01:29 PM

The last time we had a damp start in Singapore...

This happened...

Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H collide at the start during the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2017 in Singapore - Getty Images AsiaPac 
Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H collide at the start during the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2017 in Singapore - Getty Images AsiaPac

Verstappen, Raikkonen and Vettel all out on the first lap. That was pretty much the nail in the coffin of Vettel's championship hopes.

01:27 PM

The pit lane is open!

Everyone at the end is on the full wets, and no surprise for that. Wait, everyone but Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas, who are on the intermediates. Is that risky? A little... but it could be the race starting tyre.

Let's see if anyone bins it on their preparation laps...

This has already been one hell of a build-up. Let's hope that the race lives up to the wait.

01:24 PM

A bit of clarification on the three-hour window's start time from the FIA

That is moved with the moving of the scheduled start time, so that will begin at 2.05pm. So from 2.05pm BST the race must end no later than 5.05pm, with a limit of two hours of actual racing within that. So, if it's wet it'll still be doubtful we will get the full 61 laps. But we should get two hours, even with a significant stoppage.

01:21 PM

Right, then

Here's the final starting grid for today:

2. PER 1. LEC
4. SAI 3. HAM
6. NOR 5. ALO
8. VER 7. GAS
10. TSU 9. MAG
12. MSC 11. STR
14. ZHO 13. VET
16. RIC 15. BOT
18. ALB 17. OCO
                 19. LAT
PIT LANE: RUS

01:19 PM

Ted Kravitz on Sky Sports

Reckons it could be an intermediate start. Things are drying out quite nicely, he says. Okay, that's promising. It would be a shame if it was a short first stint and then onto slicks, but as we saw yesterday the track didn't really dry out that much during an hour of qualifying.

01:10 PM

Current qualifying head-to-head results

01:04 PM

The dry-up operation begins

Track workers sweep water from the track after heavy rain before the start of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on October 2, 2022 - AFP
Track workers sweep water from the track after heavy rain before the start of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on October 2, 2022 - AFP

This, at least, leaves an hour or so for the track to dry out with assistance and with the SC (and maybe the medical car?) going around the track. And, I guess, it does maximise the chance of us getting a decent amount of racing laps in... as opposed to trying to start earlier and then trundling around behind the Safety Car for 15 laps, with the two-hour clock ticking down. I don't know. It's not an easy decision one way or another but I think this seems sensible?

12:58 PM

Formation lap at 2.05pm BST

Pit lane will open at 1.25pm.

So a delay of an hour and five minutes. Whether the three-hour clock starts ticking at 1pm BST I am not quite sure. Either way, we are not getting the full 61 laps.

12:56 PM

Our Senior Sports Correspondent Tom Cary is there on the ground and has this to report

I was halfway between the support series paddock and the F1 paddock when that downpour began, having gone over there to speak to Jamie Chadwick following her crash in the W Series race this afternoon. I sheltered beneath an awning for half an hour but eventually decided to make a run for it. My clothes are now completely drenched and my feet squelching in my shoes. In hindsight, brown suede was a poor choice today.

Squelch.

12:52 PM

This is what the Safety Car leaving the pit lane left looked like

Looks like the rain has now stopped.

Marshals are on track at various points trying to get rid of standing water with their brooms. I would imagine the next update might be something more significant.

12:46 PM

The next update

Is in 10 minutes.

12:44 PM

Looks like the rain has eased if not exactly stopped

Fingers crossed for it to stop soon and that we can get the action going. Talk of shortening the starting and grid procedure which would be sensible. But whether they are allowed to do that within the rules is another matter.

Looks like the Safety Car is going out on track for an exploratory run.

An awful amount of standing water at the moment. I wouldn't be confident of a start within the next 45 minutes. Or even an hour.

12:38 PM

FIA update

The next update will be in around 12 minutes. Remember, there is a regulation two-hour limit of actual racing time (including under the SC, but not a red flag) and a three-hour window from the start of the race until it must finish, including everything.

It seems the FIA want to avoid a Monaco 2022 or Spa 2021 scenario, and wisely. With the rain looking like it will stop and clear in the next 10-15 minutes, delaying now is the best thing. That way, when they do get going, there is a greater chance of getting everything done in that three-hour window.

Yet the problem will be the standing water and clearing it so the conditions are good enough for racing. The best way to do that is get 20 cars out behind the safety car and create a dry line. But that takes time. And when they do get racing, avoiding any stoppages and red flags. Even in dry conditions, this would have been a push for a two-hour race. In wet conditions it is even less likely.

Ahhhhh....

12:34 PM

Why George Russell believes he is ready to win the world title

George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes looks on from the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on October 02, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore - Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes looks on from the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on October 02, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore - Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Tom Cary sat down with the Mercedes driver recently for an exclusive interview where he talks Roger Federer, his title hopes, and battling against Lewis Hamilton. Read the full interview here. 

12:32 PM

Current constructor standings

What might that look like if any or several teams were docked points due to a budget cap infringement? Who knows?

12:25 PM

Weather update...

Yes, it is still raining fairly solidly. Even if it stopped now I believe there would be a significant delay.

12:23 PM

What are the potential penalties for breaching 2021's budget cap?

For a minor breach, or an overspend of less than five per cent:

  • Deduction of drivers' and constructors' championship points

  • Suspension from one or more stages of a competition

  • Limitations of ability to conduct aerodynamic or other testing

  • Reduction of the cost cap

For a major breach, or an overspend of more than five per cent

All of the above, plus:

  • Suspension from an entire competition

  • Exclusion from the championship

There is a lot of scope, as you can see. In some ways the argument is more of a moral and "fairness" than a procedural one.

12:20 PM

There has been a fair amount of chat this weekend over potential budget cap breaches

Here's yesterday's story from Tom Cary:

Formula One’s budget cap row escalated on Saturday with Red Bull threatening legal action against Mercedes unless their rivals withdrew “hugely defamatory” remarks made on Friday appearing to suggest Red Bull might have breached last year’s budget cap.

Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, was incensed after his opposite number at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, claimed on Friday that Red Bull’s 2021 accounts had been “investigated for weeks and months”. The Austrian called on motorsport’s world governing body, the FIA, to come down hard on any team found guilty of breaching last year’s $145million [£114m] cap.

Read the full piece here.  

12:12 PM

How can Verstappen win the championship this weekend?

12:09 PM

Sounds like there could be a delay of at least 20 minutes

But that is at least... it is still raining heavily. A long way to go yet but wonder if this could be a repeat of Monaco earlier this year...

Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 leads Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari F1-75 during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2022 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. - Getty Images Europe 
Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 leads Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari F1-75 during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2022 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. - Getty Images Europe

12:06 PM

The young man in this car is starting his 350th Grand Prix today

Formula One driver rookie driver Fernando Alonso of Spain looks at the timing screen during the first practice session in Melbourne, Australia, Friday Mar. 2, 2001. The Australian Grand Prix will be raced on Sunday Mar. 4. - TELEMMGLPICT000001162080_1
Formula One driver rookie driver Fernando Alonso of Spain looks at the timing screen during the first practice session in Melbourne, Australia, Friday Mar. 2, 2001. The Australian Grand Prix will be raced on Sunday Mar. 4. - TELEMMGLPICT000001162080_1

There have been some high points along the way...

Fernando Alonso of Spain and Renault celebrates on the podium after the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Interlagos Circuit on October 22, 2006 in Sao Paulo, Brazi - Getty Images Sport 
Fernando Alonso of Spain and Renault celebrates on the podium after the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Interlagos Circuit on October 22, 2006 in Sao Paulo, Brazi - Getty Images Sport

...including two world championships and 30-odd race wins.

And he's still delivering the goods into his 40s.

Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of the Alpine F1 Team in action during the qualifying session of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, 01 October 2022 - TOM WHITE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock 
Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of the Alpine F1 Team in action during the qualifying session of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, 01 October 2022 - TOM WHITE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

He will start fifth in today's race. Whenever it starts.

12:01 PM

Current championship standings - Top 10

Max Verstappen has the opportunity to win the championship today. A bit more on that in a few minutes.

11:57 AM

The rain is really heavy now...

If this continues for another 30-40 minutes I would be surprised if they would start on time. Even if it stops now, we saw yesterday that it didn't dry that quickly, even with the cars on track...

11:52 AM

The rain comes...

With an hour and 10 minutes until lights out, it gets a bit wet...

11:48 AM

Lewis Hamilton says it's going to be "a tough day"

Can he win this race from where he is? Yes. Will take a few things to go his way, though.

11:39 AM

Max Verstappen's reaction to the qualifying mess-up was pretty extreme yesterday

That was his initial reaction, but it didn't really calm down too much after in the media pen, saying it was unacceptable.

11:37 AM

Current weather in Singapore

Dry, ultimately. A few clouds about but there are some darker clouds around. Still the possibility of some showers, though.

Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks on from the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on October 02, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. -  Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari looks on from the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on October 02, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. - Mark Thompson/Getty Images

11:32 AM

Times after qualifying

  1. Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1min 49.412secs

  2. Sergio Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1:49.434

  3. Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:49.466

  4. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Spa) Ferrari 1:49.583

  5. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1:49.966

  6. Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:50.584

  7. Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:51.211

  8. Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:51.395

  9. Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:51.573

  10. Yuki Tsunoda (Jpn) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:51.983

  11. George Russell (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:54.012

  12. Lance Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:54.211

  13. Mick Schumacher (Ger) Haas F1 1:54.370

  14. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin 1:54.380

  15. Guanyu Zhou (Chn) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:55.518

  16. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:56.083

  17. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1:56.226

  18. Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:56.337

  19. Alexander Albon (Tha) Williams 1:56.985

  20. Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 1:57.532

11:25 AM

George Russell will start from the pit lane for today's race

Here's the latest from Mercedes.

George will take a new PU for today’s race after a newly discovered reliability issue was found. He will now start from the pit lane.

Mercedes' British driver George Russell drives during the qualifying session ahead of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on October 1, 2022 - AFP
Mercedes' British driver George Russell drives during the qualifying session ahead of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on October 1, 2022 - AFP

Where would a good finish for him be? Top eight wouldn't be too bad. Though, with the chance of a safety car quite high, he could do more. A good chance for Hamilton to close the gap in the championship on his team-mate, though, which currently stands at 35 points.

11:10 AM

Good morning F1 fans

Welcome again to our coverage for today's SIngapore Grand Prix from the Marina Bay Circuit. It is traditionally one of the most gruelling races for Formula One drivers. It's a long, technical and tricky street circuit with the longest lap time of the year as well as the longest race of the year by time. Indeed, it falls just within the two-hour limit – 2019's edition took 1 hour, 58 minutes and 33 seconds. There is a fair chance that this 2022's race, the first since then, will be a timed race rather than the scheduled 61 laps, especially with the constant and likely threat of a safety car or red flag.

This is the first weekend in the season that the drivers' championship can be won, with Max Verstappen 116 points ahead of Charles Leclerc and 125 ahead of Sergio Perez. Even before the weekend the eventualities that would have led to the Dutchman securing his second title seemed unlikely, but after qualifying they are even more remote.

Leclerc and Perez will start on the front row together whilst Verstappen starts down in eighth after a mix-up with his team on his final run in a damp qualifying session. Despite his enormous championship lead, Verstappen was clearly furious with how this happened at the time and expressed his extreme annoyance even once he had time to climb out of his car and cool down.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on October 01, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore - Getty Images AsiaPac 
Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on October 01, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore - Getty Images AsiaPac

"On the final lap they told me to box and I think I realised what was going to happen. It shouldn't happen. When you don't plan to do those six laps... you track that throughout the session that you are not going to make it. We should have seen that earlier," he told Sky Sports.  "Not happy at all at the moment. It's never acceptable. Of course you learn from it but this is really bad. It shouldn't happen."

Given the form he is in in this Red Bull – and that aforementioned chance of a safety car – I wouldn't rule out his winning, but he did not express much optimism on Saturday night. Still, he has won the last five races and, quite frankly, it would be good to see someone else win.

What chance of a Lewis Hamilton win? He didn't quite have the pace in qualifying but was less than a tenth away from both Leclerc and Perez and will start third. The Mercedes has generally been better in race trim, though, so that should bode well. His team principal Toto Wolff said there's a chance, but they need to move forward not back at the start otherwise it starts to become very difficult.

The race begins at 1pm BST and we will be here for all the build-up, live updates and reaction. There's also the threat of rain, though that has receded since yesterday. But in these tropical areas you just never know.