Sergio Perez romped to a brilliant second victory of the season as he overtook pole sitter Charles Leclerc to win the Singapore Grand Prix.
It was a fabulous drive from the Mexican, who proved he can be relied upon when Max Verstappen has the rare off day.
Heading into the weekend, all the talk was on whether the stars would align for Verstappen to win his second consecutive world title, where he needed a series of unlikely events to fall in his favour to wrap it up at this early stage.
However, the Dutchman had to settle for seventh after a series of mistakes cost him.
Meanwhile, it was a day to forget for Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton finishing ninth while George Russell ended up outside of the points in 14th.
But what did we learn from the Singapore Grand Prix and Formula One’s return to the Marina Bay circuit for the first time since 2019?
Sportsmail has a look at six key issues.
What a win for Sergio Perez in what was easily one of his best performances in Formula One. The 32-year-old conquered the Marina Bay circuit and appears to enjoy the tight confines of the street circuits thrown at him.
It was his second win of the season – and fourth of his career – with his previous victory this year coming at the Monaco Grand Prix back in May.
He also came close to securing another place atop the podium at the Jeddah Grand Prix back in March – another street circuit – but had to settle for fourth.
In 2021, his only win of the campaign came after round the streets of Baku in Azerbaijan – can you see the pattern here?
While his wins at Monaco and Baku had quite a touch of fortune about them, Sunday’s race was masterful from start to finish.
Having qualified on the front row, Perez overtook pole sitter Leclerc going into the first corner and didn’t look back, finishing 7.6 seconds ahead of the Ferrari driver.
While he season has slightly tailed off, Perez has proven that he is a more than reliable back-up to Verstappen and is turning into a street-circuit specialist.
It won’t be long before Max Verstappen is inevitably crowned as world champion for a second time (barring a tremendous collapse from now until the end of the season) but he will have to wait another week before getting his opportunity to do so.
Ahead of Sunday’s race, Verstappen needed to outscore Leclerc by 22 points, team-mate Perez by 13 and six points ahead of George Russell to win the second-earliest title in F1 history.
It wasn’t to be, though, after the 25-year-old had an evening to forget in the South East Asian city state.
Having qualified eighth on the grid after a fuel issue the previous day, Verstappen ended back in 12th during the opening lap and then became a little too ambitious in recovering as he tried to overtake Lando Norris on cold tyres and brakes, which sent him into the run off while destroying the rubber in the process.
That saw Verstappen pit to replace the tyres, leaving him at the back of the grid and all the work to do to get back into the points.
And like the world champion that he is, he showed grit and determination to finish seventh.
Verstappen has completely dominated the season so far and looks almost certain to retain his title but he’ll be happy move on from this performance promptly.
From one world champion in Verstappen to a man who has won it seven times – this was also a race for Lewis Hamilton to forget, too.
The Briton started third, slipped down to fourth off the line, and then twice fell off the racing line and finished ninth.
On the first of those occasions, half-way through the race, he smashed into the wall after carrying too much speed as he battled with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for third.
He broke the advertising hoarding, reversed out, fell down a place and limped to the pits, getting his front wing replaced – which is lucky considering many drivers haven’t been so fortunate to return to their garage after a shunt like that.
‘I’m so sorry about that guys. I f***ed it up big time,’ said Hamilton over the radio.
Hamilton then faltered again in the final few laps as he looked to pass Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, but missed the corner and let Verstappen through.
Hamilton would finish ninth, just inside the points, and George Russell five places behind him on what was a woeful night for the reigning constructors’ champions.
While Mercedes won’t have much home to write about, the same can’t be said for Aston Martin.
Lance Stroll’s near-faultless drive saw him finish in sixth – a place ahead of Verstappen – while Vettel made Hamilton and the Dutchman really work in the final throes of the race.
It was Vettel’s excellent defensive work that baited Hamilton into making a desperate lunge, making him lose the place to Verstappen in the process and he only lost his place to the Red Bull star on the final lap, making sure Stroll has finished in the top six.
Vettel and Stroll’s combined 12-point haul from this one race saw Aston Martin leapfrog Haas and AlphaTauri into the seventh in the constructors standings from ninth, which could be crucial come the end of he season.
Without a race seat for the 2023 season as it stands, Daniel Ricciardo showed with this display that he still has plenty to offer in Formula One.
The Australian finished fifth after starting 16th on the grid, just behind team-mate Lando Norris as the McLaren team picked up a rare double top five finish.
While six drivers were unable to finish the race, nothing should take away from Ricciardo’s drive.
He was consistent in his performance and finally looked like he had some pace in a car he’s struggled to find any for large parts of the campaign.
After the race he acknowledged that he benefited greatly from the timing of the safety car.
‘Obviously that’s let’s say good fortune but I think through our maturity we created some of that ourselves and then top five, somehow, someway,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘Saudi 2021 was the last time I had a top five, a year ago. Pretty sad I know.’
‘I’m still keen to be part of F1 and of course, “Plan A” would be to be on the grid,’ Ricciardo added.
‘So nothing’s changed but I don’t want to just jump at the first kind of seat available. I know the landscape probably changes as well at the end of next year, with contracts and whatever, so I don’t want to say remaining patient, but remaining open.’
For Alpine to collect just 10 points in their last three races should be ringing some alarm bells back at the factory.
After what has been a fine start to the season where they have consistently picked up points in nearly every race, Alpine seem to have taken their foot off the gas.
Singapore saw Alpine suffer their first double retirement of the season, three weeks on from scoring no points in Italy after Esteban Ocon finished a place outside the points while Fernando Alonso was forced to retire despite starting sixth on the grid.
It was much of the same in Singapore, with Ocon stopping on lap 27 because of a power unit issue while Alonso had to cut his race short six laps earlier, citing there was a problem with the engine.
What makes it even more heartbreaking for the Spaniard was that it was his 350th grand prix start – from which he started fifth – but it was one he couldn’t finish.
The result has seen Alpine slip in the constructors down to fifth and they’ll need to sort these engine issues quickly if they are to get back on track.