Leclerc scores hat-trick of pole

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc achieved his third consecutive Formula 1 pole position after edging out Lewis Hamilton by 0.191 seconds.

With the Scuderia’s aerodynamic upgrades giving it a significant boost in performance around a street circuit that even the team expected would not suit it, Sebastian Vettel set the pace on the first runs in Q3.

But Vettel’s second attempt was messy, resulting in him aborting to the pits, leaving the way for Leclerc to claim pole.

After the lap, Leclerc claimed over the radio that he lost control three times on the lap in what was a superb attacking performance.

Vettel’s final-run struggles allowed Hamilton to secure second position on his final lap, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ending up fourth and almost four tenths behind Vettel.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Mercedes ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon, with neither driver able to threaten their teammates.

McLaren led the way in the midfield battle, with Carlos Sainz taking seventh place ahead of the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth for Renault, 0.065 seconds quicker than the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez jumped up to P11 at the end of Q2, but missed out on beating Hulkenberg to a Q3 spot by four hundredths of a second.

Perez has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change thanks to damage sustained in a practice crash, meaning he is currently set to start P16.

Behind him, Antonio Giovinazzi and Pierre Gasly both failed to improve on their second runs and ended up P12 and P13 respectively but both well within a tenth of Perez’s time.

Gasly reported over the radio that he was struggling with the rear after completing his final lap, during which he grazed the wall.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen was P14 after setting his best time on his second Q2 run, having slapped the wall with both left-hand-side wheels on his first attempt.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was slowest of those in Q2, lapping eight tenths behind Raikkonen.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was the quickest of those eliminated in Q1 in P16 having failed to improve on his time set during the first runs.

He was up after the first sector, but lost time thereafter meaning he was unable to recover from Perez bumping him into the drop-zone – although he was only 0.015 seconds slower than Magnussen, who did make it through Q1.

Lance Stroll was P17 after only finding 0.209 seconds on his second run in the Racing Point after several light brushes of the wall, which was enough to put him three-tenths clear of Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

George Russell had to abort his final attempt after running wide at the exit of Turn 7, although his first-run time was good enough to put him P19 ahead of Williams team-mate Robert Kubica by three tenths.

So congratulations to Charles Leclerc in achieving a hat-trick of pole positions. The Ferrari driver is on a winning form with this qualifying result and it will be fascinating if he can score another victory at Marina Bay.

Kudos to Ferrari in upstaging the Mercedes and Red Bull by going quickest in qualifying. The Scuderia admitted that this street circuit won’t suit the SF90 as it requires downforce but the red car of Leclerc surprised everyone with this pole position. Bring on the race!

Singapore Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:36.217
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.408
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:36.437
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:36.813
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:37.146
6 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:37.411
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:37.818
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:38.095
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:38.264
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:38.329
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:38.620
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:38.697
13 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1:38.699
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:38.858
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:39.650
16 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1:39.957
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:39.979
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:40.277
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:40.867
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1:41.186

4 thoughts to “Leclerc scores hat-trick of pole”

  1. Singapore Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    Charles Leclerc is on quite the roll at the moment. Having won in Belgium and Italy, the Monegasque driver secured a sparkling pole position under the lights in Singapore on Saturday It was the fifth pole position of his career and his third in a row, made all the more special by the fact that it came at a track where Ferrari had predicted they would struggle ahead of the weekend.

    Leclerc set a scintillating 1m 36.217s around the Marina Bay Street Circuit to beat Lewis Hamilton’s time by 0.191s – meaning the 21-year-old now leads the Mercedes man for most poles this year.

    Sebastian Vettel went fastest on the first round of runs in Q3, but had to settle for third on the grid in the second Ferrari, 0.220s off his team mate’s time after aborting his final effort. He was ahead of the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, with Red Bull’s threat in qualifying failing to materialise, as the Dutchman wound up over half a second off Leclerc.

    Verstappen was then ahead of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and the second Red Bull of Alex Albon, the Thai driver hooking up a decent last lap to end up 0.407s clear of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz in seventh.

    Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg wound up P8 and P9, while Lando Norris rounded out the top 10 in the second McLaren – Ricciardo securing the qualifying head-to-head at Renault in the process.

    Q1 – Bottas fastest as Kvyat, Stroll and Grosjean drop out

    A late set of laps for Bottas and Hamilton gave Mercedes an early one-two as the running got underway at Marina Bay, with Leclerc and Vettel third and fourth, with Verstappen fifth.

    There were contrasting fortunes at Toro Rosso, Haas and Racing Point, meanwhile, with Daniil Kvyat, Romain Grosjean and Lance Stroll all dropping out as their team mates continued on – Stroll continuing his run of never making out of Q1 here, while Grosjean brushed the wall on his final effort.

    Pierre Gasly would have been particularly pleased with his effort, however, as he set a lap time good enough for ninth place… 0.021s ahead of Alex Albon, driving the Red Bull that Gasly campaigned in the first half of the year before his demotion to Toro Rosso…

    Bringing up the rear, meanwhile, were the Williams pairing of George Russell and Robert Kubica, the Polish driver having announced at the start of the weekend that he’d be leaving the team at the end of the year.

    Knocked out: Kvyat, Stroll, Grosjean, Russell, Kubica

    Q2 – Leclerc heads Ferrari one-two as Norris impresses

    Lando Norris was one of the stars of the second segment of qualifying, the McLaren driver winding up P6, one place ahead of Albon’s Red Bull and less than a second off the fastest time, on his first ever qualifying outing in Singapore.

    That fastest time was set, in Q2, by FP3 leader Charles Leclerc, who ended up 0.070s ahead of team mate Vettel, the Ferraris over two-tenths clear of the Mercedes of Hamilton. That meant that both the Ferraris, along with a pair of Mercedes, a pair of Red Bulls, a pair of McLarens and a pair of Renaults, made it through to the final top 10 shoot-out.

    Falling out of Q2 were Sergio Perez, Antonio Giovinazzi, Pierre Gasly, Kimi Raikkonen and Kevin Magnussen – Raikkonen missing the chance to secure the qualifying head-to-head against Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo, with the Finn suffering a big wall-tap on one of his laps.

    Knocked out: Perez, Giovinazzi, Gasly, Raikkonen, Magnussen

    Q3 – Leclerc denies Hamilton and Vettel with wild lap

    “We are well aware that Singapore will present new challenges and a layout in which our car is not as strong as at other circuits.” So said Ferrari Team Principal ahead of the race weekend in the Lion City. But it seems that that may have been some extremely false modesty, as both Ferraris looked to be the cars to beat in Q3, their updated floor and front wing package appearing to work a treat around the 23-turn track.

    Initially, though, it was Vettel who looked to be the man on form, as he lapped in a 1m 36.437s on his first flying lap, 0.354s clear of Leclerc in P2. As they wound up for the final runs, however, the onboard cameras showed Vettel failing improve on his second effort, with the German eventually pulling into the pits and leaving his rivals to duke it out and see if they could best him.

    Unfortunately for him, however, they could, Leclerc enjoying a wild ride around the Marina Bay Street Circuit before eventually setting a stunning 1m 36.217s, to claim pole number five of his career.

    Hamilton also put in a mega final lap however, matching Leclerc in the last two sectors to end up 0.191s off, while Vettel’s first effort was impressive, too, when you consider that he only ended up 0.220s adrift in third.

    There’ll be some head-scratching at Red Bull, however, as Max Verstappen, super-confident after a strong Friday, couldn’t do better than fourth – his lowest starting position here since 2016 – while Bottas looked scrappy in the final segment of qualifying as he ended up over nine-tenths off the pace, ahead of Albon.

    McLaren were as strong as predicted, with Sainz getting the job done for the team in P7, over two-tenths ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, while Nico Hulkenberg qualified in the top 10 here for the fourth time in as many years, as rookie Lando Norris was 10th on his Singapore qualifying debut.

  2. After scoring his third consecutive pole position, Charles Leclerc admitted he nearly crashed three times during “crazy” lap. has the news story.

    Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc says he saw himself in the wall “two or three times” during his “crazy” pole lap in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying.

    Leclerc secured his third pole position in a row, and fifth of the season, as Ferrari shocked pre-event favourites Mercedes and Red Bull at the Marina Bay circuit.

    Sebastian Vettel was on provisional pole after the first run in the final part of qualifying but Leclerc overhauled his teammate at the end, and now has the most poles of any driver this season.

    Leclerc said: “It was quite a crazy lap. The first one I compromised it, I started it too close to Lewis.

    “That compromised the second sector, and then I had quite a bit of pressure to perform on the last lap.

    “I gave it all. There were quite a bit of mistakes, I lost the car quite a few times and I saw myself in the wall at least twice, or three times in the lap.

    “But it felt amazing. The car was great. Friday was a very difficult day for me and to come here in qualifying and do pole position feels absolutely amazing.”

    Leclerc said he could not really explain how he kept control of the car in those moments, as “it becomes instinctive”.

    He described slides at Turn 3 and Turn 11 as “quite big” moments.

    “I was actually quite surprised I didn’t lose so much time,” said Leclerc, who qualified on pole by 0.191s.

    “Everything after that went smooth, I was just giving it my all. It was quite intense in the car but I am very happy.”

    Vettel eventually slipped to third behind Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton after aborting his final run in Q3.

    He said he had already lost “a little bit” in the first sector of the lap and eventually realised improving his time was a forlorn effort.

    “[I was] playing catch up and trying to take more and more risks throughout the lap which didn’t pay off and the last lap didn’t come together,” said Vettel.

    “Overall it is a good result for us putting the car first and third for the team is great.

    “It was not a track where we expected to be so strong. I’m happy with that, but not happy with the very end of Q3.

    “The car was good today and pole was in the grasp but let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

  3. World champion Lewis Hamilton commented that his Mercedes team were caught off guard by Ferrari’s “big step” in terms of performance. has the full details.

    Lewis Hamilton does not know where Ferrari’s “big step” has come from and has admitted the pace of Mercedes’ Formula 1 rival in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying was unexpected.

    Charles Leclerc claimed his third pole position in a row as Ferrari surprised pre-event favourites Mercedes and Red Bull in qualifying, though Hamilton was able to split the two Ferraris in second.

    Ferrari has brought a significant upgrade to this race, including a revised nose, cape and floor, which appears to have provided the aerodynamic gains needed for the team to be more competitive on high-downforce tracks like the Singapore street circuit.

    Asked by how ominous it was for Ferrari to have added more aerodynamic performance to its strong straightline speed, Hamilton said: “I don’t know where they have picked up their pace for a street circuit like this.

    “Earlier on in the year they were not as close. They’ve obviously done a great job.

    “I don’t really know where we’re losing it, the first sector is a bit of a loss to us, part of it is a straight line but they are able to match us in the middle and the last sector.

    “Overall, clearly a big step for then. We’ll just keep pushing. We’ve not had an upgrade for a while so maybe when that comes that will help us a little bit.”

    Last year, Hamilton won from pole position after defeating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen in qualifying.

    This time, his late lap to secure second place bumped Verstappen to fourth, behind the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

    Hamilton said that Mercedes knew Red Bull would be competitive again in Singapore but admitted Ferrari had produced a surprise given its previous form at high-downforce venues has “not been so strong”.

    “All of a sudden they’ve brought an upgrade here and it seems to have worked,” he said.

    “Of course we were not expecting to have such a strong performance from them and have such a deficit to them, but they’ve done a great job.

    “I was grateful I was able to split them, only just. We were lacking pace today.

    “It was definitely a struggle to be up there, but I like how close it was between us all. Hopefully that puts us in a good stead for good fights.”

    Poleman Leclerc hailed the work Ferrari has done with its upgraded after expressing his own surprise at the pace he had.

    Leclerc had trailed Mercedes’ and Red Bull’s lead cars significantly on Friday practice, while Vettel had also been quite a way off.

    “[I am] very surprised because even though we knew there was a bit more to come yesterday we did not expect to challenge neither Mercedes or Red Bull,” said Leclerc.

    “It’s quite a big surprise for the whole team, but it just proves how good of a job they’ve done back at the factory and today it’s also thanks to them we’re on pole.”

  4. McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris says “brain fade” on his final run in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying resulted in an “awful” lap that left him 10th on the grid.

    Norris had been seventh after the opening runs in the final stage of qualifying at the Marina Bay track – and had finished sixth in both Q1 and Q2 – before he was shuffled down the order by Renault pair Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg.

    The 19-year-old said that a compromised warm-up lap ahead of his final run cost him confidence and he then went on to make a mistake at the Turn 13 hairpin.

    “It was a good feeling I had – Q1 went well, Q2 went very well, I did a really nice lap,” Norris told Sky F1. “I was happy, confident – we didn’t change anything in the car, really.

    “[But] I went out for my final run and I didn’t quite get the warm-up I wanted to do with these tyres and I was maybe a bit close to the car ahead.

    “I just didn’t have the confidence because of these two factors to push and be on the limit as much as I was in Q2.

    “Then I had some brain fade in the middle [sector] – wrong gears and so on. So it just went very wrong and I lost time trying to make up for it – because I’m an idiot. And I just lost out even more.

    “It was going very well – I think I can be happy with Q1 and Q2. But the one that counts I’m not very happy with. It was just silly mistakes, basically.

    “Until halfway around the lap I was pretty even with my Q2 lap and then I made one mistake – quite a big mistake, which I’ve probably never made ever before.”

    When asked what he had done wrong, Norris explained that he “just did the wrong gear in the hairpin”.

    “Just didn’t downshift as many gears as I should have done,” he continued. “So I lost the rear and had a bad exit [and] wheelspin.

    “I just tried to make up for it, [but] I had a bit too much temperature in the rears and then it was just a spiralling effect all the way to the end.

    “As much as it was an awful lap – my lap in Q2 was nice [and] the confidence is there to know that I can do it.

    “So I’m very happy with that, but I just didn’t do it when I wanted to do it.”


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