Carlos Sainz claims pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz claims pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz claimed the pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Circuit after a qualifying session full of surprises and unexpected outcomes.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz fulfilled his declared intention from practice by securing the pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix after what turned out to be an exciting conclusion to an eventful qualifying session at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Sainz and Charles Leclerc appeared to have secured a Ferrari 1-2 front row lock-out until George Russell took P2 for Mercedes, which may have even secured pole if it weren’t for an oversteer during the final moments of qualifying.

However, the biggest surprise of the evening was when Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez failed to make the cut at the end of Q2. Additionally, the first qualifying round had to be stopped following Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll horrific incident.

Yuki Tsunoda tops as Lance Stroll crashes in Q1

The possibility for a surprise polesitter to seize control of qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix was high as the championship-leading Red Bull Racing team was a little off the pace throughout practice.

Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, and Sergio Pérez were all within a tenth of a second off the fastest lap after the drivers finished their initial push laps, with Mercedes’ George Russell  in second place with a time of 1:32.478.

Liam Lawson, Alex Albon, both Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, and Lance Stroll found themselves in the elimination zone. Lawson was filling in for Daniel Ricciardo for the third race weekend following his injury.

Inching closer to Russell’s time on his second lap, Norris was just 0.0005 seconds away from claiming the fastest time. Russell lost the lead to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen shortly after, with just under seven minutes remaining after posting a time of 1:32.398.

The lead was soon handed over to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, who delivered a lap time of 1:32.339 in a session that saw frequent lead changes among the leading drivers. There was a lot of traffic because every single car was out on the track making a last-ditch effort.

Yuki Tsunoda and Kevin Magnussen unexpectedly overturned their drop zone spots to place first and second, respectively as the target time was 1:31.991. There didn’t seem to be anyone on the grid who was secure, and everyone was working extremely hard to perform better as the times tumbled.

Stroll experienced a severe crash as he was about to finish his final lap, triggering the red flag and concluded the session. Stroll’s AMR23 was severely damaged and will require extensive repair, but he managed to exit the car without injury.

A hectic Q1 that ended early resulted in the elimination of Valtteri Bottas, Oscar Piastri, Sargeant, Zhou Guanyu, and Stroll.

Shock double elimination for Red Bull in Q2

Cleaning up after Stroll’s crash forced the start of Q2 to be postponed, and race control discovered many other Q1 impeded incidents that will be looked upon after the session.

With seven minutes left, all the drivers apart from Tsunoda had finished their first laps, and Russell had once again topped with a time of 1:31.743, followed by Fernando Alonso and Sainz.

Pérez, Nico Hülkenberg, Lawson, Albon, and Tsunoda, who wasn’t able to finish his lap due to Verstappen’s intrusion, rounded out the bottom five.

The stewards took note of the impeding incident involving Verstappen and Tsuonda, and they confirmed that they would also look into it after qualifying.

Pérez’s spin with less than a minute remaining resulted in a temporary yellow flag and spoiled his last lap. His Red Bull teammate Verstappen was struggling as well; he noted that he was sliding frequently during the lap. His last performance had him in ninth place, just barely above elimination.

Verstappen was eliminated from Q2 after Lawson left the bottom five. This resulted in the first Q2 elimination for both Red Bulls this season. Tsunoda, Albon, and Pierre Gasly got eliminated as well.

With a time of 1:31.439, Sainz concluded the session in the lead as Russell, Alonso, Magnussen, and Norris completed the top five.

Sainz charges Ferrari to secure pole position in Q3

The remaining twelve minutes of qualifying in Singapore were very exciting as a lot of drivers were battling for the top spot. After the first laps were completed, Sainz led the Scuderia Ferrari one-two with a time of 1:31.170. Norris was in third place, ahead of the two Mercedes drivers.

Sixth place went to Alonso, who was followed by Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg, marking a strong finish for the American squad. Lawson and Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10, with the Scuderia AlphaTauri driver making his first-ever Formula 1 Q3 appearance.

Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton decided to remain in their garages for slightly longer while they waited for traffic to clear up for the track to reconfigure as the drivers started their final out laps in the closing moments of the qualifying session.

This was a hazardous approach given the high likelihood that yellow or red flags may ultimately take drivers off guard in Singapore.

Sainz was the first to cross the finish line as he improved on his previous best performance to hold onto the provisional pole position with a time of 1:30.984.

Leclerc and Norris came in second and third respectively as they were unable to match his time. Russell finished in second place, just 0.056 seconds behind Sainz.

Sainz was successful in securing a second straight pole position by maintaining his advantage. Russell, who battled with him for fastest at qualifying, will be starting Sunday’s race beside him.

Leclerc and Norris will start from the second row, followed by Hamilton, Magnussen, Alonso, and Ocon, who consistently stayed within the time limit.

Hülkenberg and Lawson rounded out the top ten following one of the most dramatic qualifying sessions in 2023.


1Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m32.339s1m31.439s1m30.984s
2George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m32.331s1m31.743s1m31.056s
3Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m33.406s1m32.012s1m31.063s
4Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m33.483s1m31.951s1m31.270s
5Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m32.651s1m32.019s1m31.485s
6Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m32.242s1m31.892s1m31.575s
7Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m32.584s1m31.835s1m31.615s
8Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m33.369s1m32.089s1m31.673s
9Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m32.100s1m31.994s1m31.808s
10Liam LawsonNZLScuderia AlphaTauri1m32.215s1m32.166s1m32.268s
11Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m33.398s1m32.173s 
12Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m33.452s1m32.274s 
13Sergio PerezMEXOracle Bull Racing1m32.099s1m32.310s 
14Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m32.668s1m33.719s 
15Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri 1m31.991sNo Time Set 
16Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m32.809s  
17Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m32.902s  
18Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing1m33.252s  
19Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m33.258s  
20Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m33.397s

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