Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc now has a hattrick of pole positions after backing up his performances in Belgium and Italy with a spectacular lap in Singapore Saturday at a track where Ferrari had expected to struggle.
Very quickly people are running out of superlatives to describe the mesmerizing performances of the 21-year-old Leclerc. Showing raw talent early in the season with an error or two along the way, Leclerc has now all but cemented himself as the number one driver on the team and his pole lap around the Marina Bay circuit only escalated his standing further.
“Wow! I’m extremely happy about today,” said Leclerc. “I mean, if you look at the lap, it was a good lap, a very good lap, but there were some moments where I thought I had lost the car but I took back and at the end, finishing the lap, we are on pole position.
“I would like to thank the team so much for what they have done. We came here knowing that it would be a difficult track for us, but the team has done an amazing job to bring the package we needed, and I’m extremely happy to be on pole for tomorrow.
“We brought some new bits which worked properly, which was good to see. It’s not always the case, but it was this weekend. I had a very tough Friday. Yesterday was not my day and I didn’t feel comfortable in the car, but I worked quite hard and today it paid off.”
In the history of F1 only two drivers have managed to secure three consecutive wins after taking that initial trip to the top step of the podium. Both Mika Häkkinen and Damon Hill continued on to become World Champions in their careers, and it is easy to see why so many see it as only a matter of time before Leclerc has his crowning season. With eight of the last eleven Singapore Grand Prix winners coming from pole position, many will now see this as his race to lose.
Third on the grid was Sebastian Vettel in the second of the two Ferrari cars. Having set the fastest time in the initial Q3 exchanges, Vettel was the first to start his second attempt and having the ideal track position the 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 pole sitter looked as though he was destined for pole number five in Singapore.
He secured provisional pole at first, but as has been the case recently, a series of mistakes during his flyer lap caused him to miss out; in fact, such was the poor quality of his lap the German opted to pit rather than cross the line to register the time.
“Obviously, not really (satisfied) with Q3,” said Vettel. “The final attempt should have been better, but overall the car was making sense, I was feeling good, and I was able to improve run by run.
“Maybe I peaked to early. The track was probably a bit faster at the end, but as I said, I had a tiny wobble so there was no point finishing the lap because I was already quite a bit behind. It puts us in a good position for tomorrow though.”
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and the second Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas complete the top five starters.
Source: Autoweek Image: LAT Images