Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc claimed pole position for 2022 Singapore Grand Prix following a dramatic Qualifying session.
Having endured a tricky Friday Practice, Leclerc bounced back to top a wet FP3 and was able to continue that momentum through into Qualifying, as he clinched a second pole position around Singapore – having done so on F1’s last visit in 2019.
A dramatic finish to Q3 however saw the top three separated by just 0.054 seconds as track evolution in damp conditions played a huge part across Saturday’s action.
Now, here is a full roundup of all the action across FP3 and Qualifying.
Torrential rainfall throughout the afternoon and into the opening minutes of the session forced stewards to keep the pit exit closed, as a safety percaution despite starting the FP3 clock on the hour which meant that no drivers were allowed out onto the circuit.
The pit exit eventually opened after 30 minutes with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly first out on track on full wet tyres, as he set the initial benchmark time of 2m 09.894 which was only bettered by McLaren’s Lando Norris who went 0.252 seconds quicker.
Humid temperatures however meant that the track surface dried quickly enough for a switch to intermediate tyres, with Verstappen setting the pace with 2m 03.373 as he initially battled Gasly who had pitted for intermediates for the fastest lap.
Verstappen’s pace eventually saw him lower his benchmark to 1m 58.308 in the penultimate minute, although he was beaten to the top of the timesheet by Leclerc, who posted 1m 57.782 to top the session as everyone finished on intermediates.
Sainz was third fastest ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez who rounded out the top five ahead of; Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel, George Russell and Daniel Ricciardo.
|1||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1m 57.782|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 0.526|
|3||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 1.066|
|4||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.647|
|5||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 1.744|
|6||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 2.591|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 3.129|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 3.225|
|9||George Russell||Mercedes||+ 3.228|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 3.254|
|11||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 3.307|
|12||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 3.438|
|13||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 3.463|
|14||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 3.720|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 3.897|
|16||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 4.009|
|17||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 4.125|
|18||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+ 4.284|
|19||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 4.817|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 5.728|
Russell and Lewis Hamilton were first out on track as everyone opted to run the opening part of Qualifying on intermediate tyres, due to standing dampness on the track circuit from earlier rainfall.
Russell proceeded to set the initial benchmark time of 1m 57.099 but was displaced by Hamilton before he went fastest on his next lap, only to be displaced by Leclerc who posted 1m 55.054 to go top.
Verstappen meanwhile abandoned his first flier after making a mistake but responded on his next lap with 1m 54.395 to go top, only for Leclerc to strike back with 1m 54.222 to go top.
Down in the elimination zone once everyone had set at least one competitive lap time, the bottom five compromised of; Nicholas Latifi, Valtteri Bottas, Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher.
Nobody eventually gambled on the slick tyres as Verstappen topped Q1 with 1m 53.057, whilst only Magnussen and Schumacher survived elimination, as Bottas qualified 16th ahead of; Ricciardo, Ocon, Albon and Latifi.
Ocon reported via team radio that he “had no brakes” on his final Q1 lap which explained his shock elimination, after looking strong throughout Practice.
Despite a short gap between end of Q1 and start of Q2, nobody was yet brave enough to switch to slick tyres as everyone quickly ventured back out on intermediates once the pit light went green.
Norris set the initial Q2 benchmark time of 1m 53.995 but was quickly displaced by Leclerc who went top with 1m 52.343, ahead of Verstappen, Perez and Hamilton.
Once everyone completed their opening Q2 fliers come the halfway mark of this Q2 session, the elimination zone compromised of; Schumacher, Magnussen, Russell, Tsunoda and Zhou.
Zhou then went 13th fastest in the 10th minute whilst Aston Martin opted to gamble on slick tyres for Stroll and Vettel for their final runs with Zhou soon following suit, whereas other teams stuck with intermediate tyres.
Once the checkered flag fell, those who gambled on slick saw their risk backfire as Stroll qualified 12th whilst Vettel and Zhou could only manage to finish 14th and 15th fastest, consequently eliminating the trio alongside Russell and Schumacher who qualified 11th and 13th respectively.
Tsunoda and Magnussen were the only drivers prepared to stick with intermediates for their opening Q3 fliers, as everyone else gambled on soft slick tyres for their first runs in the final part of Qualifying.
Verstappen set the first benchmark time of 1m 56.940 but was bettered by Tsunoda on the intermediate tyres, whilst Hamilton surprised with a 1m 53.082 to go top in the sixth minute.
Hamilton then found 2.063s on his next flier to lower his provisional pole time to 1m 51.019 ahead of Verstappen, Perez, Leclerc, Sainz, Alonso, Norris, Magnussen, Tsunoda and Gasly with four minutes left.
Alonso briefly went top with 1m 50.737 with a minute left but Leclerc displaced him with 1m 49.412 to clinch pole by 0.022s from Perez as Hamilton eventually settled for third ahead of Sainz, Alonso, Norris, Gasly, Verstappen, Magnussen and Tsunoda.
Verstappen abandoned his final lap due to fuel concerns from Red Bull because all drivers are required to submit a fuel sample at end of Qualifying, which left the Dutchman furious over team radio.
|1||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1m 49.412|
|2||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.022|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.054|
|4||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.171|
|5||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 0.554|
|6||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.172|
|7||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 1.799|
|8||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+ 1.983|
|9||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+ 2.161|
|10||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 2.571|
|11||George Russell||Mercedes||1m 54.012|
|12||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.199|
|13||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 0.358|
|14||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 0.368|
|15||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.506|
|16||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||1m 56.083|
|17||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 0.143|
|18||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 0.254|
|19||Alex Albon||Williams||+ 0.902|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.449|