Red Bull’s Max Verstappen entered the week of the Singapore Grand Prix needing a win and a little help to secure his second successive Formula 1 world title.
Now he’s going to have to make up a bit of ground during the race for it to remain a possibility.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who sits second overall behind Verstappen, secured pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix thanks to a blistering lap of 1:49.412 during the third and final qualifying stage for the event. Leclerc enters the Singapore Grand Prix with 219 points on the year, 116 points behind Verstappen.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez wants to start second at the Singapore Grand Prix. Pérez enters the race weekend third in the F1 standings with 210 points, 125 points behind his Red Bull teammate.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton qualified in third place, after running strong during all three qualifying phases.
Verstappen and Hamilton posted the two fastest laps during first qualifying, with Verstappen posting a best lap of 1m53.057s with Hamilton close behind with a lap of 1m53.161s. The five drivers eliminated after the first stage were Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, Apline’s Esteban Ocon and Williams’ Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi.
The second part of qualifying is where Leclerc made his move. After finishing third in the opening segment, the Ferrari driver climbed to the top of the table with a fastest lap of 1m52.343s, followed by Hamilton, Verstappen and Perez. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso completed the top five after the second segment.
Drivers eliminated after second qualifying included Aston Martin Aramco’s Sebastian Vettle and Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate George Russel, who placed 11th, just .006 seconds off 10th:
As the third part of qualifying began, eight of the final ten cars had moved to slicks, with only Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda remaining with the intermediate tires. Early in stage three, it looked like Hamilton would secure pole as he posted a lap of 1:51.019 with just over three minutes to go in third qualifying:
But then Leclerc clocked his dizzying sub-1:50 lap, moving into the lead:
When it was over, just 0.054 seconds separated the three men who will lead the field at the Singapore Grand Prix:
As for Verstappen, he will start in eighth position after making the decision to pit during third qualifying, which means he will have some ground to make up during the Singapore Grand Prix if he wants to leave the event with his second. Consecutive F1. World title. After the race, it was confirmed that Verstappen needed to pit due to fuel problems:
Red Bull confirmed that it was a lack of fuel that forced Verstappen to box. If he had completed the lap, going back to the pits could have left the car without enough for a fuel sample. #F1 #GPSingapore
— Chris Medland (@ChrisMedlandF1) October 1, 2022
Magnussen and Tsunoda, who stayed with the inters, placed ninth and tenth respectively.
Here are the full results:
The Singapore Grand Prix is scheduled for Sunday, with pre-race coverage starting on ESPN2/ESPN Deportes and Watch ESPN at 6:30 am ET. The race will begin at 7:55 am ET.