Sergio Pérez claimed his second victory of the season at Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix, and was quick to hit out at the media for making a “big thing” out of his questionable form prior to the challenging race.
Coming into the first Singapore GP since 2019, the Mexican driver was on a bad run of form, having claimed just two podiums from the previous eight races, despite being in the strongest car on the grid.
It led to many outlets to question whether Pérez was the right person for the Austrian side, given how ruthless they’ve been previously with the likes of Daniil Kvyat, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.
All three were dropped by the Milton Keynes-based side for underperforming, which provided the evidence as to why it was feasible to wonder whether Red Bull would consider a similar move with the 32-year-old.
Following on from his fourth career victory, Pérez was quick to hit out at the media for questioning whether Red Bull were right to “bring me here”, whilst going to explain how “special” it was to win the most demanding race on the 2022 calendar.
“It means a lot to me,” Perez said to Formula1.com after the race.
“Every win is special but I’m the type of guy that is always working under the radar and not making big noises out there.
“I knew I was going through a bit of a bad patch. There’s been two races I haven’t been on the podium, but obviously the media makes a big thing, probably because I’m Mexican, and they start to make all these comparisons, [like] the biggest mistake Red Bull has made to bring me here.
“So I’m super-happy to get this victory under my belt, and with such a strong performance out there today.”
Pérez made an excellent start from second and was ahead of polesitter Charles Leclerc by the time they reached Turn One, an overtake that proved pivotal to the outcome of the race.
Whilst Leclerc closed up on the Red Bull driver at times, he was never within the correct distance to risk an overtake, mainly due to Pérez managing the gap well.
He was investigated after the race, though, after it was deemed that he twice dropped too far behind the Safety Car whilst it was still setting the pace.
Pérez was guilty of dropping beyond 10 car lengths behind the Safety Car, which resulted in the Mexican being awarded a reprimand for the first occasion, and then a five-second time penalty and two penalty points for the second.
The awarded penalty meant that it was crucial in the end that the driver was told to speed up, as he crossed the line seven seconds ahead of Leclerc.
It meant he actually won the race by just over two seconds from the Ferrari driver, leaving the Mexican potentially feeling like some luck was on his side whilst the stewards made their decision.
The third-placed driver in the Drivers’ Championship blamed the two incidents on “miscommunication” with the Safety Car driver, who he believed varied his pace too much.
“I think there was a bit of miscommunication with Bernd [Maylander, Safety Car driver] because he was going really slow in the places where I could keep up with him, but then he was going really fast in places where I couldn’t keep up with him,” Perez explained.
“Because basically, we were driving through the wet with slick tyres and losing all the temperature, made it really difficult.”
The win leaves Pérez just two points behind Leclerc in the championship, with the duo in a battle for second in the Drivers’ Championship.