Finally, we were in for some really intriguing qualifying: after Red Bull’s problems on Friday, there was a real chance that pole position might not go to Max Verstappen, and given the overtaking-free nature of the Marina Bay circuit, this also promised a race. sensational by 2023 standards. But first we had to survive qualifying…
P1: Stroll’s terrifying accident
At the end of the first segment, it seemed that the drivers’ first attempts did not matter: when the drivers came out of the pits for the second time, the track conditions were so much better that even average drivers like Tsunoda and Hulkenberg began to show the best results. fast, ahead of Ferrari and everyone else.
It looked like we were in for a festival of improvement from all the drivers, but Lance Stroll quickly put an end to it. Due to interference from Logan Sargent, the Canadian had a weak first attempt and looked nervous. In any case, in the last corner of the track, Stroll placed his car too wide on the sidewalk and ended up losing control of the car. The Aston crashed into the wall at high speed; Fortunately, Lance managed to keep his hands off the wheel and was not hurt.
Lance Stroll climbs out of a wrecked Aston Martin
Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Of course, Stroll didn’t go any further and the main loser of the segment, because of him, turned out to be Oscar Piastri. The Australian did not have time to complete his lap and finished 17th. Less offensive for the two Alfa Romeo drivers: Bottas and Zhou were left out of the top 15 after their first attempts. Sargent didn’t get any further either. The American managed to complete his lap, but lost six tenths to Albon; Everything is going wrong here too. It turns out that Alex jumped to Q2 precisely thanks to Stroll’s accident; In terms of pure speed, “Williams” advanced no further.
We also noticed that at the end of the segment two situations arose at once, which will still be resolved by the judges. Firstly, Verstappen remained at the pit lane exit for a long time and blocked several competitors, including the Mercedes drivers and Leclerc. Secondly, at the end of the third sector there was a whole group of drivers trying to create space before their fastest lap. It was very dangerous when Tsunoda and Albon ran past them at high speed. Here the stewards will also check how correctly everyone behaved.
P2: not a single bull in the top ten!
Due to Stroll’s accident, the start of the second segment was delayed for about half an hour: it took a long time for the bailiffs to remove the remains of the Aston Martin and clean the asphalt of all kinds of liquids that escaped from the car.
When the session finally resumed, Verstappen decided that an investigation was not enough: the Dutchman did not leave the trajectory in time and interfered with Yuki Tsunoda. However, it soon turned out that this incident was definitely not Saturday’s main event for Red Bull. Who would have thought that none of the “bull” drivers would be in the top 10, and in terms of sheer speed!
Even after the first attempts, Verstappen and Pérez were only tenth and eleventh, but it seemed that this was just a misunderstanding. No such luck: the pilots’ second attempts turned out to be failures. Perez did not complete the lap at all: the Mexican spun and Sergio only showed 13th place. Verstappen slid throughout the lap, still improved a little and was tenth, but at the end of the segment he was finally eliminated by Liam Lawson: the newcomer was seven thousandths ahead of the Dutchman!
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An incredible story and not entirely understood. The Singapore track is probably not suitable for the “bulls”, but perhaps they were also affected by the new FIA directive aimed at combating bending aerodynamic elements. But we will only be able to verify this in the next Suzuka Grand Prix.
In addition to Verstappen and Pérez, Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon (a second miracle did not occur) and Yuki Tsunoda did not advance further. On the second attempt, the Japanese also failed to complete a fast lap and remained in 15th place.
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Q3: Russell almost surprises Ferrari
In an unusual situation without Red Bull drivers, the Ferrari representatives finally took on the role of favorites in qualifying. Furthermore, they were the only ones who saved two new “software” games for the final segment, which only increased their advantage in the first attempts. Sainz was ahead of Leclerc by a quarter of a second and Norris, who was driving the old “software”, by three and a half tenths.
And yet, everything was decided in the final attempts. Sainz improved, despite the problematic second sector, Norris could not compete and lost three tenths. It is true that they say that McLaren’s car received some kind of hole when the Briton went around Stroll’s wrecked car. Perhaps this was what prevented him from jumping even higher.
Leclerc recovered on the last attempt and had the opportunity to overtake his teammate, but in the end he lost to Sainz by 79 thousandths: everything was decided by the third sector in favor of the Spaniard. When it seemed like the fight was over, Russell suddenly intervened. George drove the second fastest sector and yet the Mercedes driver came up a little short. At 72 thousandths: George separated the two Ferrari drivers and will start second!
Lewis Hamilton looked worse than his teammate during qualifying and finished fifth, losing four tenths to George. Kevin Magnussen will start alongside the seven-time champion. The Dane for the first time seemed stronger than Hulkenberg on Saturday: he only managed ninth time with a difference of a couple of tenths. Between the two Haas drivers were Alonso and Ocon, with Lawson completing the top 10.
The most intriguing race of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix will begin on Sunday, September 17 at 15:00 Moscow time.