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Carlos Sainz scored his 5th F1 pole position of his career during the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying session today. It was the second consecutive pole for the Ferrari driver and he will start from P1 for the first time on the Singapore Street circuit. It was the 246st pole for Scuderia Ferrari.
In a dramatic Q1 session for the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix, Lance Stroll's massive crash brought out the red flag and led to a delay in the start of Q2, as barriers needed repair and debris cleared. The Aston Martin driver astonishingly climbed out of his car unaided after hitting the wall head-on, following a miscalculation where he carried excessive speed into the final corner. Fans and teams heaved a sigh of relief when it was confirmed that Stroll was okay, though he will undergo further checks.
Max Verstappen faced a challenging session, grappling with his Red Bull. The Dutch driver seemed discontent with his car, locking up repeatedly at one corner, and ended Q1 in ninth position. His session might further be compromised, as FIA stewards announced an investigation regarding Verstappen potentially impeding in the pit lane.
This Q1 session, marked by tight gaps and intense competition, witnessed significant reshuffles in positions. With barely half a tenth between the top three and a mere four tenths separating the top ten, every lap time counted. Sargeant and Stroll had a notable incident which drew the attention of the stewards, while Mercedes' strategy to use used tyres raised eyebrows.
Several drivers, unfortunately, couldn't complete their final flying laps due to Stroll's crash. Piastri's hopes were dashed, while Albon found fortune in P15, having already completed his lap. Mercedes' strategy paid off, as both their drivers advanced. Sadly, Bottas, Piastri, Sargeant, Zhou, and Stroll found themselves eliminated after Q1.
The session also saw some notable performances. Tsunoda, much to everyone's surprise, managed to climb to the top. Meanwhile, the track's evolution predicted to bring up to six tenths of improvement, adding another layer to the strategies at play.
Q2: Qualifying Drama as Red Bulls Falter
Q2 of the 2023 Singapore F1 GP saw some unexpected results, with several surprises and notable eliminations. The Marina Bay Street Circuit is known for its unpredictability, and this session proved no different.
From the outset, Red Bull Racing seemed to be having an off-day. Max Verstappen, normally a front runner in the series, was plagued by multiple issues. An incident at Turn 4 with Yuki Tsunoda resulted in an investigation for impeding, and it was reported that he also might have had an unsafe release, which nearly caused a crash with Carlos Sainz. These weren't his only concerns, as grip issues seemed to haunt the Dutchman throughout the session. Cameras captured Verstappen's car sliding around the circuit, reflecting a lack of traction that is critical for the tight turns of Singapore.
Sergio Perez, Verstappen's teammate, didn't fare any better. A spin in the final minutes of the session brought out yellow flags in the first sector, impacting Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris. This might also explain Leclerc's sudden lift during his lap, potentially explaining his P9 placement.
With the yellow flags out, and both Red Bulls struggling, some drivers found themselves capitalizing on the situation. Fernando Alonso decided to abort and pit, presumably feeling confident about his time. This decision seemed to be validated, with both Alpine cars finding themselves in the top 10.
As the session progressed, George Russell and Alonso showed their pace. With just minutes remaining, Russell managed to edge out the competition, closely followed by Alonso. To add to the suspense, with less than three tenths separating the top five, it was clear that even the slightest error could dramatically shake up the order.
But the real story of Q2 was the fall of the Red Bulls. Despite Verstappen's best efforts, he found himself knocked out of qualifying by Liam Lawson. This meant that both Red Bull cars - Verstappen and Perez - were eliminated in Q2, a significant upset considering their usual performance.
Eliminated in Q2: Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Sergio Perez, Alexander Albon, and Yuki Tsunoda.
In the midst of all this chaos, others like Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg managed to secure their spots, proving that in Formula 1, anything can happen, especially under the lights in Singapore.
Q3: Sainz Secures Pole in Thrilling Singapore GP Qualifying
In a heart-stopping conclusion to the 2023 Singapore F1 Grand Prix qualifying, Carlos Sainz snatched pole position, narrowly fending off his rivals. The Ferrari driver set a lap time of 1m 30.984s, edging out his teammate Charles Leclerc and Mercedes' George Russell.
The Final Moments
The tale of Q3 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit was one of slim margins and unexpected dramas. By the end, only a scant 0.079s separated Sainz in pole position from Leclerc in third, and Russell was just 0.007s ahead of Leclerc. This trifling gap, especially at a long circuit like Singapore's, is a testament to the intense competition among the teams.
Lando Norris will accompany Leclerc on the second row, while Lewis Hamilton, the 7-time World Champion, found himself settling for fifth. Kevin Magnussen's performance was notable, impressively landing a position right behind Hamilton.
Ferrari Dominates While Red Bull Struggles
Ferrari undoubtedly took center stage, with Sainz and Leclerc securing the P1 and P3 spots respectively. Leclerc, while satisfied with the team's overall performance, expressed some regrets, stating, "I ***** it up." This sentiment underscores just how tight the competition was, where even minor missteps could cost valuable positions.
On the other side of the spectrum, Red Bull Racing faced an unexpected slump. Their drivers will start from the unfamiliar P11 and P13 spots, setting the stage for an intriguing race as they battle their way through the grid.
The Remaining Top Ten
Fernando Alonso secured seventh, with Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, and Liam Lawson finishing eighth, ninth, and tenth respectively. Lawson's performance stands out, a commendable effort to secure a spot within the top ten.
The Race Awaits
Given the unexpected twists and tight competition seen in the qualifying rounds, tomorrow's race promises high tension and excitement. As Leclerc noted, the physical challenge of the race will undoubtedly play a role, adding another layer to the intense competition.
1:49.412 min was the pole position time back in 2022 and was set by Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari on the old track layout.
Qualifying Times 2023 Singapore GP
|7||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin||1:32.584||1:31.835||1:31.615||17|
|11||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:32.398||1:32.173||14|
|13||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||1:32.099||1:32.310||13|
|15||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||1:31.991||no time||10|
|16||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||1:32.809||9|
|19||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||1:33.258||9|
|20||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1:33.397||8|
✅ Don't forget to check out our 2023 Singapore F1 Grand Prix preview info.
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