Leclerc lights up Singapore with majestic pole position

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuitsg

Man on form Charles Leclerc has taken another pole position by going fastest in qualifying under the Singaporean track lights. Lewis Hamilton ended up in second place, while Vettel, who appeared to be on his way to pole is set to start from third.

With traffic usually a problem during qualifying at Singapore, most drivers were out early to get on with it. Of them, only the Mercedes drivers opted for the medium tyres, with everybody else going for the softs.

As Bottas and Hamilton were on their way to go third and fourth, Carlos Sainz complained of a lack of power on his out lap. His problem seemed to have been resolved quickly, as he just went on for a quick lap, posting a time just a tenth down on the Mercedes pair, and a tenth up on Vettel.

Charles Leclerc, on the other hand, didn't mess about and posted a 1:38.014 to go fastest on his first attempt, half a second better than Verstappen's effort. Vettel, just like Leclerc, went on for a cool down and another flying lap, which he used to improve to second, halfway in between Leclerc and Vettel.

Bottas and Hamilton later progressed to the top of the timing sheet in Q1. As both drivers changed to softs, Bottas ended up 0.25s faster than Hamilton, and 7 tenths quicker than what Leclerc managed.

As they returned to the pits, flying laps from those at risk of elimination followed. Magnussen made sure to go through with a good third sector. He contrasted Grosjean as the latter scrubbed the wall on his final lap, ending up just 18th, ahead only of both Williams.

Q2 was started by Mercedes sending its drivers out on track, this time immediately on the softs. Rivals soon followed, and purple sectors were seen all over the timing sheet.

Of the top guys, it was again Leclerc who put his stamp, going 0.131s quicker than Lewis Hamilton, and 0.159s quicker than Verstappen. Bottas ended up fourth fastest at 2 tenths, and Vettel followed another 2 tenths further down.

Albon, along with both McLarens and Renaults were the others in the top 10 after the first outings.

Literally all drivers went out for another attempt in Q2, and from the main contenders, only Vettel improved, progressing into second. All others didn't make any progress in the ranking, meaning all Renault powered cars went through, along with the three big teams.

Q3 turned out to be the same for Ferrari, with Vettel pulling an impressive lap to take provisional pole in 1:36.437. Charles Leclerc ended up second at 3 tenths, just like Verstappen who was third.

Crucially, Hamilton and Bottas both ended up a second down on Vettel's blistering lap, with Albon in 6th already 1.5s down.

As the lot went out for another and final attempt to take pole, Vettel went ahead, followed by Hulkenberg and Verstappen. Leclerc and both Mercedes opted to wait a little longer, half a minute down the road.

Vettel didn't improve and opted to dive into the pits again. Verstappen did improve but failed to gain a place, something that Leclerc did manage once again by topping his team mate by 2 tenths.

Hamilton also improved dramatically and got himself onto the front row of the starting grid by going second fastest, 0.191s slower than Hamilton, but still ahead of Vettel, who will likely be left in disappointment once again.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarQ1Q2Q3Laps
116Charles LeclercFerrari1:38.0141:36.6501:36.21717
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:37.5651:36.9331:36.40818
35Sebastian VettelFerrari1:38.3741:36.7201:36.43716
433Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda1:38.5401:37.0891:36.81315
577Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:37.3171:37.1421:37.14618
623Alexander AlbonRed Bull Racing Honda1:39.1061:37.8651:37.41116
755Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault1:38.8821:37.9821:37.81819
83Daniel RicciardoRenault1:39.3621:38.3991:38.09518
927Nico HulkenbergRenault1:39.0011:38.5801:38.26418
104Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault1:38.6061:37.5721:38.32919
1111Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:39.9091:38.620-14
1299Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:39.2721:38.697-14
1310Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:39.0851:38.699-12
147Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:39.4541:38.858-14
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:39.9421:39.650-14
1626Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:39.957--7
1718Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:39.979--8
188Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:40.277--8
1963George RussellWilliams Mercedes1:40.867--7
2088Robert KubicaWilliams Mercedes1:41.186--6

Note - Perez drops five grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change.