Sergio Perez was pleased to silence any doubters against him in the media after taking victory in the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver’s fourth career F1 victory came with a consummate drive that saw him lead from lights out to chequered flag around Marina Bay, overtaking pole-sitter Charles Leclerc before Turn 1 and not looking back from there.
He held the Ferrari driver at arm’s length for most of the race and with an inquiry hanging over him for multiple Safety Car infringements, opened up a seven-second gap to Leclerc before the end of the race.
It was a gap he needed too, with a lengthy investigation by the stewards resulting in a reprimand and a five-second penalty for the 32-year-old after dropping too far behind the Safety Car on multiple occasions – but he was able to keep his victory as a result.
He said he knew he had gone into the weekend out of form, having taken one podium finish in the previous six races when team-mate Max Verstappen had won five in a row, but was pleased with how he had responded to recent criticism.
“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.”
Having spoken before the stewards came to their verdict, he remained confident of his chances of holding on to victory in Singapore after there had been doubts surrounding the result.
But he felt there had been confusion on track with the way the Safety Car laps had unfolded, with efforts being made to bunch up the field before the race restart.
🚨 BREAKING: Sergio Perez keeps victory in Singapore after being given a reprimand and a five-second penalty for his two Safety Car infringements in the race.#SingaporeGP 🇸🇬 #F1 pic.twitter.com/vnTxcI9dOL
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) October 2, 2022
“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.”