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In one of the most shocking qualifying sessions of the year, Carlos Sainz Jr. scored pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Friday struggles were magnified on Saturday, with both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez out in Q2. The reigning two-time champion will start down in 11th.
F1 Singapore GP qualifying: Who will be on pole?
Carlos Sainz Jr. will start the Singapore GP from pole position. The Spaniard scored his second consecutive pole position, and the fifth of his F1 career, with a 1:30.984s. George Russell denied a front row sweep for Ferrari, setting a 1:31.156s to pip Charles Leclerc from second place by 0.007s. In what’s been a miserable weekend for Red Bull, both drivers were eliminated in Q2. Max Verstappen will line up in 11th, and Sergio Perez in 13th.
Q1: Tsunoda tops red-flagged session as Stroll crashes hard
With the track quickly improving, the real action in Q1 would only really begin towards the end of the session. As the track rubbered down, all drivers went out again for one final run. The ones that did get across the line went significantly faster than the previous benchmark, which had been set by Sainz. Yuki Tsunoda was the first to dip below the 32s barrier all weekend, setting a 1:31.991s.
Just as the bulk of the field still made their way around the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Lance Stroll, who had run last all session, came all crossed up through turn 18. Trying to correct the slide, the Canadian had a tank slapper and went hard into the wall on turn 19. He walked away shaken, but unharmed.
Oscar Piastri, who was a few corners behind Stroll, had to brake in avoidance and lost his would-be fast lap. As a result, the Australian found himself down in 18th, and out in Q1. Joining him were Alfa Romeo duo Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, along with Logan Sargeant and Stroll.
Q2: Sainz leads, both Red Bulls out
Qualifying resumed after 33 minutes of stoppage. Verstappen was the first driver out on track. But it was Russell who led the way at the end of the first set of runs, with both Red Bulls lingering towards the bottom of the top 10.
Perez found himself down in 11th, with his teammate being the last driver above the cutoff. The Mexican spun during his final attempt, losing out on the chance to improve and sealing another early qualifying elimination – his seventh in 15 races. Verstappen failed to improve in his final attempt as well, finding himself at the mercy of the remaining drivers.
Lawson came through to bump the reigning two-time champion by a mere 0.007s, securing his maiden Q3 appearance in only his third Grand Prix weekend. Haas pair Magnussen and Hulkenberg also managed to advance, showing that their Q1 pace was no illusion.
Q3: Sainz scores second consecutive pole
Sainz once again went top in his first run, setting the fastes time of the weekend with a 1:31.170s. Leclerc was 0.251s down on his teammate’s time.
The Spaniard driver was the first driver out for the second attempt, and managed to improve even further. Sainz set a 1:30.984s, which went unbeaten. Leclerc was just 0.079s down on his teammate, briefly securing an all-Ferrari front row. But with a late flyer, Russell managed to slot his Mercedes between the pair, finishing just 0.072s down on Sainz’s pole.
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