Ricciardo records best result for 2022 in rainy Singapore
Monday 03 October, 2022
Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth in the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix. (Photo: McLaren Media)
With heavy rain forcing a delay to proceedings, there was plenty of drama expected throughout the race, and with multiple safety and virtual safety car interventions, the shortened 59-lap affair certainly delivered as six cars failed to finish.
After what was an extremely disappointing qualifying session where he was knocked out in Q1, Ricciardo would have been relishing the rain in the hopes of gaining positions at a circuit notorious for a lack of overtaking.
Having started towards the back of the field in P17, Ricciardo was gifted a position early when George Russell started from the pit lane, before a strong start saw him make up ground early.
Ricciardo’s opening stint proved bullish as he made plenty of headway and charged through the field to move into the points by lap 23 before being elevated to fifth as a result of the pitstop period.
McLaren’s strategy to keep the West Australian on intermediate tyres paid big dividends as the race’s second safety car period allowed Ricciardo to have a cheap pit stop where only Max Verstappen passed him.
Coming out of his stop in sixth, it didn’t take long for him to get back into fifth as Verstappen’s frustrating weekend continued when he locked up not long after the restart.
Ricciardo remained comfortably in fifth for the rest of the race as McLaren teammate Lando Norris reached the chequered flag 32 seconds ahead in fourth, while Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll was almost seven seconds behind in sixth before bringing the deficit back to three seconds by the end.
The top five finish was Ricciardo’s first since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last year and just his fifth finish inside the points for this season.
At the front of the field, it was a thrilling battle between Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc with the former crossing the line in first.
After snatching the lead from Leclerc off the line, Perez slowly built on his lead to a comfortable two seconds before the safety car period brought them back together.
The duo were within a second of each other shortly after the restart and the leader was forced to defend his position before gaining momentum and breaking away.
The race took another twist late with Perez put under investigation by the FIA stewards due to a potential safety car infringement – with a potential five-second post-race penalty on the cards.
Perez pushed hard in the final laps and was able to finish seven seconds ahead of Leclerc to keep his position, while Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz rounded out the podium a further seven seconds behind.
Perez’s victory sees him close the gap on Leclerc for second with just two points separating the two at the end of the event.
It’s back-to-back weekends for the Formula 1 World Championship with the return of the Japanese Grand Prix to take place at Suzuka International Racing Course on Sunday 9 October.