Charles Leclerc snatches pole with last gasp flyer in qualifying

Marina Bay, Singapore

Singapore Grand Prix – Charles Leclerc has taken a dramatic last second pole position after producing a stunning final flying lap in qualifying.

Click here for the complete results from Qualifying – 2019 Singapore Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc will start Sunday’s race in Singapore from pole position. The Ferrari driver produced a stunning final flying lap in Q3 to snatch pole position away from an already great lap from his teammate Sebastian Vettel.

After the first runs in the final part of qualifying, Vettel had put in a 1:36.437 to go over three tenths clear of Leclerc and a full second clear of the two Mercedes drivers. This meant that the other drivers faced a daunting task to start the final runs, but Vettel himself wasn’t able to improve on his own time. A few small errors over his lap meant he was down through the first two sectors and he aborted his final flying lap as a result.

Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton, coming behind Vettel, both did manage to improve on their final flying laps. Leclerc crossed the line with a 1:36.217 to snatch pole by two tenths of a second from Vettel before Lewis Hamilton slotted himself in between the two Ferraris to mean a Leclerc/Hamilton front row.

Vettel will thus start from P3, with Max Verstappen taking P4 for Red Bull with a time just over half a second from the front. Valtteri Bottas had a relatively subdued qualifying as he will start from P5, while Alex Albon put in a time 0.6 down on his teammate Verstappen’s best time to take P6.

Carlos Sainz will start from P7 for McLaren, having finished best of the rest once again. Daniel Ricciardo got the better of his teammate Nico Hulkenberg to take P8 for Renault, with the German driver right behind in P9. Lando Norris seemed to lose some pace coming into Q3, and could only finish P10 having been P6 in Q2. The McLaren driver’s best qualifying time was just over two seconds down on Leclerc’s pole lap.

Sergio Perez qualified in P11, having just missed out on making it through Q2. The Racing Point driver will take a five place grid penalty, however, after a gearbox change following a wall strike in FP3. Antonio Giovinazzi led the Alfa Romeo challenge by claiming P12, and Pierre Gasly was P13 for Toro Rosso.

Kimi Raikkonen qualified P14 for Alfa Romeo, having made contact with the wall on a flying lap in Q2. The Finn ended up being 0.2 seconds slower than his teammate. Kevin Magnussen was P15 for Haas and the slowest driver in Q2.

Knocked out in the very first part of qualifying were Daniil Kvyat for Toro Rosso in P16, Lance Stroll for Racing Point in P17 and Romain Grosjean P18 for Haas. The last row will be made up by the usual suspects – the Williams drivers of George Russell and Robert Kubica.

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Thomas Maher

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