SINGAPORE: Charles Leclerc took pole position on Saturday (Oct 1) for the Singapore Grand Prix, but Formula 1 world championship leader Max Verstappen was left fuming after finishing only eighth fastest in damp conditions.
Leclerc clocked 1 minute 49.412 seconds in his Ferrari to top the timesheets 0.022 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton third.
Verstappen, who can mathematically retain his world title this weekend, had looked set to challenge Leclerc’s time on his final flying lap before being told to abandon and return to the pits by his Red Bull engineer.
The Dutchman had set the fastest first sector, then let fly an expletive-peppered tirade over team radio after being instructed to abort.
Only the top-10 shootout for pole took place on slick tyres on the night Marina Bay circuit.
Most of qualifying took place on intermediate tyres with the track still too damp to risk slicks, with the unforgiving concrete walls of the city centre track an ever-present danger for any loss of control.
“In Q3 we didn’t really know what to do,” said Leclerc, about whether to switch to slicks.
“We went for the soft at the very last minute – and it paid off.
“I mean, it was really, really tricky.”