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