Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz starts on pole for the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix
Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore - After a spectacular qualifying session on Saturday night, Carlos Sainz of the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team will start on pole after making it through qualifying with a time of 1:30.984 in Q3 of the session.
The qualifying session was wrought with drama and excitement as spectators witnessed the most unpredictable qualifying session of 2023, and perhaps even the most dramatic session in Singapore’s Formula 1 history.
Q1: Lance Stroll’s shunt
The first round of the qualifying heats saw both Alfa Romeo drivers (Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu), Oscar Piastri of the McLaren F1 team, Williams’ Logan Sargeant and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll eliminated from Q2.
In a bid to make it out of the bottom five places, Stroll was caught out on the final corner just before the pit straight and was shunted into the barriers. Thankfully, the Canadian driver was able to climb out of the heavily damaged Aston on his own before being promptly escorted to the medical centre for a checkup. Although he appeared unharmed, Stroll will not be participating in the race.
Q2: Red Bulls out of the top 10
The Singapore street circuit has been refreshed for the 2023 season, with the removal of four additional corners that circle through the floating platform grandstand. Despite that, Max Verstappen was unable to post a quick enough lap to make it to Q1 of the qualifying session.
Despite the flying dutchman’s performance all year, Verstappen will start 11th on the grid on Sunday's race, his second lowest start for the 2023 season after qualifying 15th in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Fans of the sport may remember that the Dutchman qualified 8th in 2022’s Singapore GP. Perhaps the Marina Bay Street Circuit may be the Achilles heel in Red Bull’s indomitable performance all year - which saw Max clinch 10 consecutive wins since the Miami Grand Prix, beating out the former record of 9 wins by Sebastian Vettel in 2013.
The other drivers who were eliminated in Q2 include Alpine’s Pierre Gasly who starts on P12, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in P13 (the man who won the 2022 Singapore GP), Williams’ Alex Albon and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda - who actually ran the quickest lap in Q3.
Q3: Ferrari back on top
Emulating last year’s qualifying session, Ferrari bounces back to claim pole position with Carlos Sainz leading the race on Sunday evening.
Hot on the heels of the Ferrari driver is George Russell of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, who comes in second after qualifying just 0.072s behind. Lining up third on the grid is Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc, who clocked 1:31.063 around the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The other drivers lining up from P4 to P10 are; Lando Norris of McLaren, Sir Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, Kevin Magnussen of Haas, Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin, Esteban Ocon of Alpine, Nico Hulkenberg of Haas and rookie Liam Lawson who replaces Daniel Ricciardo - after the Aussie driver’s wrist injury in the practice sessions leading up to the Dutch Grand Prix.
All the action, all the drama, all the high-octane excitement will unfold as the lights go out and we go racing around the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday.
PHOTOS Singapore GP Pte Ltd. and Jay Tee