2019 Singapore Airlines Formula 1 Qualifying Showdown.

By: Myanna Wedes.

The night time lights are on and the drivers were eager to get in to the car for Q1. The heat was still there, humidity and barely any wind. Lights went green. Charles Leclerc was straight to the top of the times in Q1 to cement his power, precision and pace. Following was Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Vettel, Alex Albon and Lando Norris. It was those who have been consistent across the weekend making it known. Ferrari and Mercedes were going head to head lap after lap showing one another their cards of dominance. One minute it as Leclerc and Vettel then it was Bottas and Hamilton.

Those who were eliminated after Q1 included: Daniil Kvyat, Lance Stroll, Romain Grosjean, George Russell and Robert Kubica. There were a combination of things that led to those exiting qualifying: lack of speed and performance, kissing the wall with the tyres and running wide. If you were ROKiT Williams Racing, imagine how you would be feeling when it is consistent rear of the grid placing! Something has to change in order for the team who has so much history to improve.

As we moved to Q2, the silver arrows were first out on the track. Sparks flying and a gap between the two. It was clear the two teammates meant business knowing the unexpected pace of Ferrari and Red Bull Racing because who knows what cards each team has up their sleeves to play in such a dynamic race. With ten minutes to go in this particular session, Leclerc was laying down the gauntlet with a 1.36.930 and extremely close within the top four on the grid. Speaking of close, Raikkonen hit the wall and was straight on to the radio as it occurred. Definitely not an ideal situation. With the marks left by Raikkonen, Leclerc stayed on top with Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas and Vettel looking at him with a target on his back. That ultimate bullseye opportunity.

Those who were eliminated after Q2 included: Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez, Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovanazzi.

As the lights went green for Q3, the mind games were in full swing. Immediately as they exited the pit lane, Vettel was being held up by the McLaren team and Hamilton made mention of the traffic. Track position and strategy meant: Hammer Time had to be engaged at the perfect moment. At this challenging circuit, laser focus is required otherwise that fast lap you have always wanted to achieve goes out the window. Vettel put in a 1.36.437 to ahead early in to the session though Leclerc and Verstappen were closely following behind. Alex Albon, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg battled it out for the remaining spots trying to avoid making mistakes so that the start tomorrow is easier rather than harder in to turns one and two.

The most pole positions in Singapore is Hamilton and Vettel – four each. What a nice head to head contest under the lights in Singapore though Vettel hit the wall during his lap leaving damage to the DHL branded wall and also the inside section of his rim. Hamilton suffered with the front end and Bottas slid out as he hit the ripple strip with too much corner speed. The strategy with three minutes to go was when to exit the pit lane for a lap! Vettel was at the front, followed by Verstappen, Leclerc, Bottas and Hamilton. Things changed rapidly with Vettel not going faster and Leclerc pushing to the absolute limit. He wanted it!! Three in a row and the fifth pole position for the young Monaco driver. It was a beautiful lap and Hamilton tried to chase though just did not have the pace. Vettel went wide and he will have to stomach another performance by Leclerc that was sensational. He even lost control three times in to the lap. Hamilton found it interesting to see a Ferrari ahead of him and was curious about where they gained in pace. No doubt, we could see a Monza repeat with Leclerc and Hamilton in to the first corner. Mentally speaking, Leclerc recovered with absolute dedication after a mixed day of emotions on Friday. When the lights go out tomorrow, he will want to win again and with a smile!

POSNODRIVERCARQ1Q2Q3LAPS
116Charles LeclercFERRARI1:38.0141:36.6501:36.21718
244Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:37.5651:36.9331:36.40819
35Sebastian VettelFERRARI1:38.3741:36.7201:36.43716
433Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:38.5401:37.0891:36.81315
577Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:37.3171:37.1421:37.14618
623Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA1:39.1061:37.8651:37.41116
755Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT1:38.8821:37.9821:37.81819
83Daniel RicciardoRENAULT1:39.3621:38.3991:38.09518
927Nico HulkenbergRENAULT1:39.0011:38.5801:38.26418
104Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT1:38.6061:37.5721:38.32919
1111Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:39.9091:38.62014
1299Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:39.2721:38.69714
1310Pierre GaslySCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA1:39.0851:38.69912
147Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:39.4541:38.85814
1520Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:39.9421:39.65014
1626Daniil KvyatSCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA1:39.9577
1718Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:39.9798
188Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI1:40.2778
1963George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:40.8677
2088Robert KubicaWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:41.1866
Credit: Batchelor / XPB Images. Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF90 celebrates his pole position in qualifying parc ferme. 21.09.2019. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Qualifying Day.