Formula 1

By Vlad Roman,
General Manager Smart Games

With the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the European stages of the 2022 season ended.

For the last weekend of September, Formula 1 moved to Singapore on the Marina Bay street circuit, a relatively new circuit that since 2008 has offered us night races where the safety car has never been missing.

The first race organized in 2008 was the first grand prix in the history of Formula 1 held at night, the circuit lighting installation being specially designed to highlight all the peculiarities and shape of the track. That year Ferrari took pole position with Felipe Massa and the fastest lap in the race thanks to Kimi Räikkönen, but the race was won by Fernando Alonso, at the time driving a Renault car.

Today, Marina Bay is a street circuit with a length of 5,063 kilometers that is covered in 61 laps, has 23 corners and the direction of travel is counter-clockwise, there are 3 DRS areas where the rear flaps of the single-seaters can be enabled to make overtaking easier. The beauty of the city, the modern architecture, the positioning, the infrastructure but also the time zone are perfect reasons to organize this grand prize in night conditions.

Friday’s practice sessions were conducted in dry conditions but not without incident, Lance Stroll driving his Aston Martin into the barriers at Turn 5 which brought the session to a halt for 20 minutes. The first session had Lewis, Max and Charles as protagonists in the first three positions and in the second Ferrari categorically prevailed. On Saturday, the practice session was shortened due to the atmospheric conditions that messed up qualifying a bit, the track being wet, the blue and green tires were used for Q1 and Q2. In the final phase of qualifying, the slick tires were run, the short time and the cold track caused the teams not to make pit stops to change tires, Charles Leclerc put his Ferrari in pole position, followed by Sergio Perez with Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes. In the last “stint” Max was on a very fast lap with a good chance of beating Leclerc’s time, but he had to abandon because he didn’t have enough gas and so he ended up in 8th place.

Sunday!… race day, it’s raining – the start is delayed by an hour, everyone has intermediate tires, Leclerc is in pole position but unfortunately only until the first corner when he’s overtaken by Perez, Max also has a bad start and loses fast 5 positions.

The safety car enters the circuit on lap 9 after the accident between Latifi and Zhou, so that on lap 20 there will be another virtual safety car due to Alonso’s abandonment.

The track is drying hard but Mercedes decide to switch Russell’s intermediates to hard slicks, it’s a test to determine when he can switch to mediums on podium contender Hamilton, Russell struggled on the slicks until the lap 35 as the track gets drier and the Briton’s lap time improves considerably.

Yuki skids, hits the barrier at the edge of the circuit and the safety car comes in for the second time, all the drivers go to the pits to change the rain tires to the dry ones, during the neutralization Perez “plays” with Leclerc’s nerves but forgets to he maintains his distance from the Safety-Car which incurs a possible penalty of 5 seconds.

One hour and 34 minutes have already passed since the start of the race, it is clear that the 61 laps of the circuit cannot be finished in time, so the stopwatch is displayed indicating the end of the race. With 26 minutes left in the race, with DRS on Max’s recovery race begins and Leclerc’s attack on Perez for 1st place. McLaren and Aston Martin manage to stay in the top eight, Perez holding off Leclerc’s overtaking attempts , and Max does what he knows best – overtakes, recovers positions.

There are still 14 cars in the race, the last being George Russell, who was the first to change wet tires for slicks, Mercedes strategists do not want to let the point for the fastest lap of the circuit go into the treasury of Ferrari with whom they are fighting for 2nd place in the championship so they call Russell to the pits and put soft tires on him.

R Final result – Perez remains 1st even after the 5 second penalty, Ferrari – small double 2nd and 3rd. McLaren and Aston Martin also score points with both drivers, Max 7th, Hamilton 9th, Gasly from Alphatauri 2nd 10 and the point for “fastest lap” – George Russell.

At Constructors – Red Bull accumulates another 31 points, Ferrari 33 points, McLaren – 22, Aston Martin – 12, Mercedes – 3 and Alphatauri one point.

The next race is also in Asia, October 7-9 at Suzuka – Japan, where the winner of the 2022 season will most likely be determined in the person of Max Verstappen.

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