Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is not too concerned by his less than gratifying Singapore Grand Prix weekend, as he still has plenty of opportunities to get his second title wrapped up.
The Dutchman came into the race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit 116 points ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, and it was under the lights that he would have his first opportunity to crown himself a double world champion.
A win with the fastest lap would cap off a wonderful season, as long as Leclerc finished eighth or lower, and Perez failed to finish on the podium.
However, the reigning champion did not top any of the tricky practice sessions, and just as he started to gain momentum in qualifying, that was ruined too.
He suffered fuel issues at the end of qualifying, forcing him to start the race in eighth, and when anti-stall kicked in off the start, he fell back further.
The Red Bull driver made his way back up the order, and was running in fifth behind Lando Norris ahead of a Safety Car restart, but as he endeavoured to take the position off the Briton at Turn Seven, he locked up.
That sent Verstappen sailing off the track, and the subsequent flat spot on his tyres necessitated a pit stop, from which he would eventually recover to seventh to take six championship points.
Perez won the race in the other Red Bull car ahead of polesitter Leclerc, keeping both of them, just about, in the title race heading into the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend.
The Monegasque must beat avoid being beaten by eight points by Verstappen in Suzuka to stay in the hunt, while Perez needs to ensure he is not outscored by six points by his team-mate.
All in all, it was a weekend to forget for the 25-year-old.
“It all started yesterday (Saturday), of course,” said Verstappen.
“When you start in that position, you either manage to go forward or it’s going to be frustrating.
“Seventh place is better than eighth place, but for what we showed in training, it was absolute crap and I’m not here for that.
“It’s better to just forget about this race and move on to Japan.”
A win with the fastest lap guarantees Verstappen the crown in Suzuka, so he is not going to lose any sleep over the events of Singapore.
“It seemed like everything was against me, which is frustrating as I want to perform well every weekend. This one was terrible but it doesn’t matter much,” he added.
“We have a big lead and there are still five races to come.”
Verstappen’s lead over Leclerc stands at 104 points heading into the final five rounds of the 2022 season.