Charles Leclerc will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole position after edging out Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton in a sensational conclusion to a wet-dry qualifying session at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Following a rain-hit final practice, conditions improved significantly during the build-up to qualifying and, while intermediates featured in Q1 and Q2, slicks were used across the board for the fastest laps of the decisive Q3 phase.
When it came to the pole position shootout, it was Leclerc who emerged on top amid a flurry of late gains as drivers pushed the limits amid ever-improving grip levels. His 1m 49.412s put him just 0.022s clear of Perez and 0.054s ahead of Hamilton.
Max Verstappen had to abandon a final lap that could have put him in the mix as he was called into the pits by his Red Bull team – leading to a sweary radio message as the reigning world champion took a lowly eighth place.
FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX 2022 – Qualifying results
|1 Charles LECLERC Ferrari
|2 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing
|3 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes
|4 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari
|5 Fernando ALONSO Alpine
Carlos Sainz was fourth in the other Ferrari, while Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, McLaren’s Lando Norris and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly all capitalised on Verstappen’s drama to take positions five to seven. Behind Verstappen, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and the other AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10.
A shock Q2 development saw George Russell drop out in 11th as he struggled to match the pace of team mate Hamilton. Aston Martin pair Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel sandwiched the second Haas of Mick Schumacher in 12th and 14th respectively, with Zhou Guanyu 15th.
Valtteri Bottas fell at the first qualifying hurdle after a late Schumacher improvement demoted him, while Daniel Ricciardo suffered his third Q1 exit in seven weekends, taking 17th. Esteban Ocon had a painful run to 18th – ahead of only Williams pair Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi – after encountering brake issues.