Pirelli’s Mario Isola: “This was an exciting qualifying session from start to finish”

by Paul Hensby

Mario Isola said Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix was an exciting affair from start to finish, and it ended up with a superb flying lap from Charles Leclerc to grab pole position.

Leclerc will start from the front of the grid for the third consecutive race weekend having taken pole position in both the Belgian and Italian Grand Prix, and the Scuderia Ferrari driver will be bidding to make it a hat trick of victories on Sunday, having also won those two events.

All ten drivers to make it through to the top ten shootout will start on the soft compound, such is the pace difference between it and the medium compound, meaning it was almost impossible for anyone to gamble on making it through to Q3 on that medium tyre.

“A bit like the actual grand prix, this was an exciting qualifying session from start to finish,” said Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Motorsport.  “In the end, with considerably more than a second between the medium and the soft, everyone chose to get through Q2 on the soft tyre, so the top 10 will all start the race on this compound tomorrow.

“When it came down to the final Q3 runs, getting the timing right was crucial, with Leclerc maximising the window of opportunity and delivering an incredible lap.”

Isola says that history would dictate that starting on the soft compound tyre for Sunday’s race would put drivers on the optimal strategy, but he also knows that anything could and does happen around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, with every one of the previous eleven events being affected by the safety car at least once.

“In theory, starting on the soft tyre forms the beginning of the optimal race strategy tomorrow, but in practice we’ve seen in the past that absolutely anything can happen in Singapore,” he said.  “So it’s definitely a very tough race where drivers can do well even starting further down the grid order.”

Driver’s Tyre Sets Available for the Race

Credit: Pirelli Motorsport

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