Carlos Sainz delivered a perfect performance to outpace the entire field from the second free practice session onwards, going on to paint the night red after qualifying at the Marina Bay circuit, taking his second consecutive pole of the season, the fifth of his Formula 1 career. And just like in Monza, his team-mate Charles Leclerc will start right behind him from third on the grid, having set a time less than a tenth slower, beaten into second place by just seven thousandths of a second by George Russell. This is the Scuderia’s 246th pole, the seventh from the 14 races run in Singapore.
From Q1 to Q3. Carlos and Charles did a good job in Q1 and Q2, running the Soft tyre to make it comfortably through to the top ten shoot-out. The SF-23 behaved well, allowing the drivers to push it to its limit, doing a perfect job to the extent that the Scuderia was the only team to have two sets of new Softs for the final phase. On his first run in Q3, Sainz did a 1’31”170 and Leclerc was just behind him at the top of the time sheet. On the second set of Softs, Carlos got everything out of the car and was the only driver to get under the 1’31” barrier to secure pole in 1’30”984. Charles also did a great lap, improving considerably to post a 1’31”063 to secure third place.
Long race. The grid order opens up interesting scenarios for tomorrow, but no assumptions can be made about the race result. There are no fewer than 62 laps to tackle on this always tricky track between the Marina Bay barriers. The team will now look at all the options, keeping in mind that Russell could go for a different tyre strategy. There are plenty of points up for grabs and the Scuderia is looking to bring home as many as possible.
Carlos Sainz #55
It feels great to get pole position here on the streets of Singapore! Yesterday we already saw we were competitive and I think we’ve done a good job building up to qualifying. Q3 was super tight but we managed to pull off good clean laps and grab that P1! The race won’t be easy due to the degradation but it is key to stay focused today and prepare well for tomorrow. The team has been working flat out and we deserve a good result. We’ll definitely go for it!