Charles Leclerc snatched pole position with a mighty final lap in the final part of qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix.
His Scuderia Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel was on provisional pole following the opening runs in the final part of qualifying but it was Leclerc who found time at the end to snatch pole.
Lewis Hamilton will start alongside the Ferrari on the front row of the grid after he just pipped Vettel to second with Max Verstappen in fourth.
The second Mercedes AMG Motorsport of Valtteri Bottas was fifth ahead of the other Red Bull Racing of Alexander Albon.
Carlos Sainz Jr. secured the best of the rest with seventh ahead of the two Renault F1 Team cars of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg and his McLaren F1 Team-mate Lando Norris who rounded out the top ten.
The second part of qualifying claimed Sergio Pérez who qualified eleventh but has a five place grid penalty due to a gearbox change following his crash in Free Practice 3. Antonio Giovinazzi was twelfth fastest with Alfa Romeo Racing team-mate Kimi Räikkönen in fourteenth. Sandwiched between the Alfa’s is the Scuderia Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly while Kevin Magnussen in the Haas F1 Team was fifteenth. The bottom five in the first qualifying session were Daniil Kvyat, Lance Stroll, Romain Grosjean, George Russell and Robert Kubica.
Kubica was the first driver to head out for qualifying in what may be his final Singapore qualifying following the announcement earlier in the week that he is leaving Williams Racing. Sainz reported a lack of power but the issue seemed to disappear as the Spaniard got straight into setting a flying lap. After the first runs in Q1 it was the Ferrari of Leclerc who set the early pace. In the bottom five after everyone’s first runs were both Williams, Haas and the Alfa Romeo of Räikkönen. The top three of Leclerc, Vettel and Verstappen didn’t bother going out but both Mercedes did and went to the top of the timing sheets while everyone went out aiming to avoid an early exit. The unlucky five that went out following a frantic end to the session were Kvyat, Stroll, Grosjean and the two Williams of Russell and Kubica.
Räikkönen had a big clip of the wall in the second part of qualifying while at the top of the order, Leclerc was just ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen as Q3 was already shaping up to be fascinating. The battle to make Q3 in the midfield was just as exciting as with four minutes to go of the session, everyone went back out on track to try find that extra bit of time to secure themselves a place in the top ten but none of the midfield could find time apart from Pérez but he could only put himself up to eleventh fastest and he was joined in the bottom five by Giovinazzi, Gasly, Räikkönen and Magnussen.
The top ten shootout involved only five teams with both Ferrari’s, Mercedes, Red Bull, Renault and McLaren’s making it through. Vettel was the first to set a lap and set the benchmark high with neither Mercedes getting within a second of the German. Leclerc went second with Verstappen slipping in between the Ferrari’s and Mercedes cars. The final runs commenced with Vettel the first driver to start his final lap but decided to abort it after a couple of mistakes. Verstappen couldn’t beat him but Leclerc snatched pole from his team-mate while Hamilton pipped Vettel to second. Bottas moved back ahead of Albon while Sainz beat the two Renault’s and his team-mate in he battle for seventh as the grid looks set up for a cracking race tomorrow.
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