Ricciardo heading to Malaysia in good spirits

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Daniel Ricciardo is heading to next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix in good spirits despite the saga surrounding his disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix rumbling on in the background of the race.

The Australian driver finished his home race in second place, but was eventually disqualified after the stewards found that Red Bull had exceeded the maximum permitted fuel flow of 100kg/h on the #3 car.

The team protested its innocence and has since appealed, with a hearing set to take place on April 14 that will decide Ricciardo’s fate. However, the unflappable Aussie is still riding high heading to Malaysian next weekend.

“Despite the eventual outcome in Melbourne, I still feel really good about my performance in the race and throughout the weekend,” Ricciardo explained.

“Obviously it would be nice to get the 18 points, but I’m happy that I still stood on the podium and that was a great feeling. I know I did a good job and I can take that with me to the next race in Malaysia.”

One of the biggest challenges posed by the race in Kuala Lumpur is the heat and humidity, and Ricciardo explained in the team’s grand prix preview how it was something he and the other drivers have to prepare themeselves for.

“Until you’ve experienced the heat in the cockpit, it isn’t something you can fully appreciate, no matter what people tell you,” he said. “It’s something you prepare for better as you come back again and again, though it’s still one of the most physically-challenging races.

“If you’re not correctly prepared then the last 20 laps of a grand prix will be difficult and the physicality of the race can hit your concentration in those latter stages.”

The weather at the Malaysian Grand Prix is often impossible to predict. The race is held in monsoon season, meaning that conditions usually range from extreme heat and humidity to heavy downpours – or even both across the course of a single race.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.