Sainz will have his great opportunity in Singapore from pole position and without the Red Bulls

Carlos Sainz, Chili to his friends, is on fire.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 September 2023 Friday 22:23
4 Reads
Sainz will have his great opportunity in Singapore from pole position and without the Red Bulls

Carlos Sainz, Chili to his friends, is on fire. The Ferrari driver from Madrid scored his second consecutive pole position in the Singapore GP - something he had never achieved in F1 -, culminating a Saturday of incontestable dominance, and this Sunday he will enjoy his best opportunity to score a victory, his first. of the course, in the absence of the Red Bull in front: Max Verstappen starts 11th and Checo Pérez, 13th. The threat from bulls is less in a circuit that is adverse to them.

"We have been strong in all the sessions and we have not made any mistakes in Q3, we have done a clean lap that allows me to be on pole. We have a good car on certain tracks and conditions, and these short and fast apexes in Singapore help us. help. But we know our weakness in the race pace, it is our Achilles Heel," the Madrid native admitted his weakness, who is still aware of his great opportunity: "The goal is to win, I am going to give everything like in Monza, I hope Let it be enough. More than ever I want that victory. Here it is more feasible to maintain the position because it is more difficult to overtake," the Ferrari driver longs.

The classification started crooked. A red flag due to a violent crash by Lance Stroll against the wall of the Singapore urban layout caused Q1 to end early. Fernando Alonso's teammate lost control of his car in the last corner and collided head-on with the protection fences.

His Aston Martin was destroyed, with a wheel dismembering from the car, although the Canadian driver was unharmed. He was shocked, but that forced him to suspend the session for half an hour to clean the track and check the safety of the fences.

In this first qualifying session, with one minute left, Tsunoda's Alpha Tauri was dominating – surprisingly – ahead of Checo Pérez, Hülkenberg, Lawson and Magnussen. The grill practically inverted. Sainz, who had dominated two of the three training sessions and part of the initial heat, looked seventh, ahead of Verstappen (9th), Leclerc (10th), and further back, Alonso (13th) and Hamilton (14th). Everyone was back when the accident happened.

With Stroll, Zhou, Sargeant, Piastri and Botas eliminated, the cars returned to the track, with Alonso very strong, eager to make his pass to Q3 resolved. He achieved the best time, replicated by Sainz, who was 58 thousandths away, although Russell surpassed him by 92 thousandths. Verstappen, following the trend of training, found himself in difficulties, tenth, more than half a second behind Russell's Mercedes.

They put on new soft tires to play for a place in the top 10 and the surprise came. The two Red Bulls started early and fell: Verstappen was 11th and Pérez – who suffered a spin – was 13th, both outside of Q3. They were surpassed by usual Cinderellas like Lawson's Alpha Tauri or the Haas. The champion did not explain it. “I don't know what happened,” said the Dutchman.

Since Russia 2018, the two Red Bulls have not experienced this disaster of being left out, both at the same time, of Q3 to compete for pole position.

In the final Q3, Alonso began to set the tone, but Sainz quickly took out the hammer, as in Monza, and took provisional pole with a stratospheric 1m31s170. The one who came closest to him was his teammate Leclerc, at 251 thousandths. Norris remained third, 369 behind, ahead of the two Mercedes, which sent Alonso to sixth place.

In the second attempt at the best lap, the first three came out with the knife between their teeth. Sainz, Norris and Leclerc dropped a tenth in the first set, but the Spaniard from Madrid crushed the second in purple to achieve a superb time that took him to his second pole position in a row. Norris could not overcome him, he was 286 thousandths away, nor was Leclerc, 79, and in the end he put Russell's success in suspense, who came close to 72 thousandths. So the Spaniard from Ferrari, with the fifth pole of the race in F1, will start first, with the Mercedes next to him.

Fernando Alonso finished seventh, on the fourth row, alongside his former teammate Esteban Ocon, and behind Lewis Hamilton.