Singapore F1 Grand Prix 2019 Qualifying: Charles Leclerc Takes Pole Position

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2019

Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc (top) drives past the Ferrari team as he takes part in the qualifying session for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore on September 21, 2019. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MOHD RASFAN/Getty Images

Charles Leclerc will start the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix from pole position on Sunday after beating Lewis Hamilton to the top spot in qualifying.

The Ferrari starlet was the fastest man in the final qualifying runs, with Hamilton edging Sebastian Vettel for a spot on the front row. Max Verstappen will join Vettel on the second row, while Valtteri Bottas will start fifth.

Here are the full results:

Formula 1 @F1

CLASSIFICATION: QUALIFYING A thrilling Saturday shootout ends with @Charles_Leclerc's third consecutive pole position ๐Ÿ‘ #F1 #SingaporeGP https://t.co/SRf2XLxVJU

Mercedes started their Q1 runs on the medium tyres, while Ferrari opted for a faster compound, and Leclerc set the early benchmark. Red Bull were slightly off the pace, with Verstappen giving up half a second to the leader.

The Silver Arrows came out late in Q1 on soft tyres, and Bottas promptly flashed his pace, setting a new fastest lap. At the back, Kimi Raikkonen got himself into Q2 with a late surge, while Romain Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll missed out.

The talk of the session was Mercedes' pace:

SingaporeGP @F1NightRace

Mercedes steals Ferrari's thunder in the dying moments of Q1, with Bottas setting a 1:37.317. Hamilton goes second, Leclerc now over six tenths adrift of the benchmark. #SingaporeGP #F1NightRace https://t.co/CFCLjRjwkJ

Ferrari came out on top again at the start of Q2, however, with all cars on the soft compound. Leclerc narrowly beat Hamilton and Bottas, while Vettel temporarily went fourth-fastest until Verstappen beat his time.

Things were so close between the top teams that each held the advantage in a sector:

Formula 1 @F1

So who's on the edge of their seat? ๐Ÿ‘€ #F1 #SingaporeGP https://t.co/PdtblNyo32

While the front-runners were keeping things close, Raikkonen made contact with the wall, but the mechanics were able to fix the damage in time.

Vettel finished Q2 in second place after improving on his time, but all of the top contenders safely made it into Q3, setting up a great battle in the shootout.

The German had excellent track position to start the final session and put in a flying lap, going a full second faster than the Mercedes duo. F1 writer Luke Smith thought the position was key:

Luke Smith @LukeSmithF1

Slow outlap hurt the Mercedes it seems. Both Hamilton and Bottas got stuck behind the McLarens. Vettel was leader of the pack, doing his own thing seemed to work #F1 #SingaporeGP

Vettel again came out ahead of Leclerc for the final runs, while Mercedes were the last cars on track. The German had to back out of his lap, opening the door for Leclerc to post the quickest time and take pole. Hamilton split the Ferrari duo, and Verstappen beat Bottas to fourth place.