Max Verstappen’s title coronation will have to wait at least one more race.
Verstappen finished seventh on Sunday in a weird Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix as his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez won the race. Both Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were far and away the fastest on the track while Verstappen, who started eighth, only got as high as fifth before his chances of a podium disappeared when he overdrove a corner trying to pass Lando Norris and had to pit for new tires.
The race started with the entire field on intermediate tread tires after rain hit the track before the race. The grand prix was delayed an hour so the track could be cleared of standing water and the rain delay combined with a noise curfew meant it bumped up against the two-hour time limit before the completion of the 61 scheduled laps.
Six of the 20 drivers who started the race failed to finish. Both Williams cars had to retire because of incidents and the Alpine cars of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon had engine problems. Guanyu Zhou was the first car out of the race after he was run into the wall by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi and Yuki Tsunoda brought out the third and final safety car of the race when his car went into a wall.
Tsunoda’s crash came as teams were putting slick tires on with the track finally starting to dry out. Perez, who took the lead on the race start, held off Leclerc on slick tires over the race’s final 35 minutes while Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was a distant third and Lando Norris finished fourth.
F1 did announce that Perez would be investigated after the race for not keeping close enough to the pace car ahead of the restart after Tsunoda's wreck. However, he pulled away from Leclerc by more than five seconds over the race's final laps to mitigate any possible five-second time penalty.
Sainz ran third to Perez and Leclerc the entire race but wasn’t close to being in contention for the win. He was a distant third to both drivers before the tire changeover and even seemed to be holding up Lewis Hamilton in fourth.
Hamilton dropped down the running order after he bumped into the barriers while chasing Sainz. Hamilton fell from fourth because he needed a new front wing and ended up ninth after he was unable to get back any of his track position and hit a slick spot while trying to pass Sebastian Vettel for seventh late in the race.