The Monegasque Charles Leclerc, from Ferrari, set the best time (1min49s412) in qualifying and will start first in the Singapore GP tomorrow. Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez was second, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton third. Max Verstappen, who could be champion as early as tomorrow, will only start in eighth, after a bad lap in Q3.
The Dutchman left the track annoyed with Red Bull, who called him to the pits before he completed the final lap. He could be champion as early as this Sunday, provided he wins the race and there is a combination of bad results from Leclerc and Pérez.
According to reporter Julianne Cerasoli, the reason for Verstappen’s irritation was an alleged error that Red Bull had made in calculating the fuel for the last lap. The pilot explained that he was called to the pits because he ran out of fuel in the final part of training. “It’s extremely stupid,” he snapped.
Training at the Singapore street circuit, which took place after heavy rain in the Asian country, was marked by the change in track humidity, which led the drivers and teams to change their tire strategy throughout the event. Verstappen took a risk in qualifying and aborted his penultimate lap to try everything at the last possible moment, when the track was drier and in better condition. He just didn’t count on the team calling ahead of time.
Red Bull confirmed that it called the driver because, if he completed the lap, he would run out of fuel for the sample that needs to be delivered to the race organization, which would lead to a penalty.
The Singapore GP is scheduled for 10 am (Brasília) tomorrow.
See the Singapore GP starting grid
With parts of the track still very wet, the drivers had difficulty controlling the car, which came to a skid in areas of greater humidity. Intermediate tires were fundamental for the stability and control of the car. Leclerc and Verstappen were in the fight for the best time of the first part of the practice, but Hamilton managed to put himself between the two and finish in second position. In the back, there was a tough fight to advance to Q2. Bottas, Ricciardo, Ocon, Albon and Latif were eliminated.
In the second part of the training, the track started to dry out, and the pilots were faced with the dilemma of choosing tires. They started with intermediate tires, more suitable for the wet stretches, but considered switching to slicks (soft) after the first attempt. In contact with the team via radio, Leclerc stated that, as some stretches were still very wet, the change would be too risky.
The Aston Martins opted for slicks, but lost track grip: Stroll skidded on a wet stretch, and Vettel lost control of the steering. Both were eliminated. Russell (by six thousandths), Mick Schumacher and Zhou also left. “It was too early for the [pneus] dry,” said Vettel. Leclerc, Hamilton and Verstappen set the fastest times in Q2.
Already on slick tires across the grid, Hamilton spent most of Q3 on the fastest lap. But Pérez managed to overtake him, and soon afterward Leclerc jumped ahead. In the end, Verstappen tried to reach the top, but ended up giving up in the end, being called by Red Bull to the pits and being only eighth.
See scenarios in which Verstappen is champion
Winning the race and setting the fastest lap: in this case, the Dutchman goes to 361 points and lifts the trophy IF Leclerc is down from 8th place (a maximum of 223 points) AND Pérez was down from 4th place (a maximum of 222 points).
After that, even with Verstappen’s retirement (and the Monegasque or Mexican victory) in all the remaining races, the Red Bull star would claim the title by the number of victories.
Winning the race and not setting the best lap: in this case, the current F1 champion reaches 360 points and gets the bi IF Leclerc to go down from 9th place (even with the Monegasque doing the fastest lap) AND Pérez didn’t make the podium or was at most 4th with the fastest lap.
Without winning the race: regardless of the other results, the decision is left for the race of Japanscheduled for another Sunday (9).
See how the top 5 of Formula 1 is doing:
- Max Verstappen: 335 points (11 wins)
- Charles Leclerc: 219 points (3 wins)
- Sergio Perez: 210 points (1 win)
- George Russell: 203 points (0 win)
- Carlos Sainz: 187 points (1 win)