'Incredibly Messy' Singapore GP: Verstappen Title Celebrations on Hold

'Incredibly Messy' Singapore GP: Verstappen Title Celebrations on Hold
Max Verstappen, Red Bull. — Photo by CristianoBarni

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen has called his 2022 Singaporean Grand Prix as “incredibly messy” after finishing seventh on Sunday.

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez triumphed, despite a five-second penalty being imposed after the race for a safety car violation, from Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

The Dutchman had come into the Grand Prix knowing that he could clinch the 2022 title but it was a frustrating weekend for him. Verstappen was told by Red Bull to abort his final lap in qualifying due to a lack of fuel, forced to start from eighth on a track where it’s typically tough to overtake.

He worked his way up the points, before bottoming out when trying to overtake Lando Norris for fourth, forcing him back to last due to having to pit after a safety car had bunched up the cars.

Yet Verstappen pushed hard enough to claim a handful of points with his seventh-place finish, including overtaking former world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in the final two laps.

“Of course, it’s better than eighth, but it’s not what I’m here for, not with a car like that and not with what we showed in practice Incredibly messy,” Verstappen said.

“It’s not where we want to be, but that already starts from yesterday. You put yourself in a spot like that, it can either work brilliantly (and) you can drive back to the front, or it’s just very frustrating like we had.”

Hamilton ended up ninth yet was near a podium finish for long parts of the race, but crashed on Lap 33, seeing him fall back before recovering. Yet he made another mistake on the penultimate lap trying to overtake Vettel, allowing Verstappen by.

“It’s a pretty flat, pretty poor day a pretty rubbish day to be honest,” Hamilton said.

“I was hoping for that (podium) and that was what I was working towards but that went all out the fricking window when I locked up. So, my apologies to the team but we live and we learn, and Ill recover.”

The triumph for Perez was the fourth of his F1 career and one which many labeled his best drive yet.

“It was certainly my best performance,” the Mexican said. “I controlled the race. The last few laps were so intense.”

McLaren were the other big winners of the day, claiming 22 points with Norris coming fourth and Daniel Ricciardo coming in fifth, while rivals Alpine retired both drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.

Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Championship with 341 points ahead of Leclerc on 237 and Perez on 235.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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