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Live: F1 Singapore GP commentary and updates - Qualifying

The Singapore Grand Prix returns to the Formula 1 calendar after three years away.

Live: F1 Singapore GP commentary and updates - Qualifying

F1's first ever night race back in 2008, Singapore's Marina Bay circuit blends a challenging layout with hot, tropical conditions to work the drivers hard throughout the 61-lap race.

Sebastian Vettel won last time out in 2019, beating Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc to claim his final victory for the Scuderia - and his most recent win in F1.

Max Verstappen could theoretically win the F1 title this weekend if results go his way, but the Dutchman has admitted that it would be "unrealistic" to wrap it up before Japan. Carlos Sainz topped Friday practice for Ferrari held in dry and hot conditions.

By: Haydn Cobb, Stephen Lickorish, Megan White

Summary

Summary:
  • Leclerc grabs Singapore GP pole ahead of Perez
  • Verstappen qualifies eighth after he mysteriously pits when on course for pole in bizarre end to the session
  • Hamilton takes third, just 0.054s slower than Leclerc
  • Out in Q2: Russell, Stroll, Schumacher, Vettel, Zhou
  • Out in Q1: Bottas, Ricciardo, Ocon, Albon, Latifi
Leaderboard
  1. Leclerc, Ferrari
  2. Perez, Red Bull
  3. Hamilton, Mercedes
  4. Sainz, Ferrari
  5. Alonso, Alpine
  6. Norris, McLaren
  7. Gasly, AlphaTauri
  8. Verstappen, Red Bull
  9. Magnussen, Haas
  10. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
Status: Stopped
It's time to find out the hows and whys of qualifying, so we'll wrap up this live coverage for today. Tomorrow's Singapore GP starts at 1pm BST so make a note of that because you won't want to miss it. Until then, go well!
Three different teams in the top three, Verstappen in eighth set to fight back with his nearest title rival Leclerc on pole. That qualifying drama sets up the race tomorrow pretty well, no?
Here's the full report on an enthralling Singapore GP qualifying: 

https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/f1-singapore-gp-leclerc-takes-pole-as-verstappen-finishes-eighth/10377607/
 
The question that needs answering is why Red Bull ordered Verstappen to pit before finishing his final Q3 lap. It looks like he was about to run out of fuel, which would have DQ'd him from qualifying entirely and meant a back of the grid drop.
 
This will be Hamilton's first top-three start of the season, which given his qualifying record across his career is a big surprise.
Leclerc on his Singapore GP pole: "It has been a very, very tricky qualifying. We went for softs at the very last minute. I did a mistake on my last lap so I didn't think I'd get pole."
"What the f***? What the f***? What is this about?" Verstappen demands from his team after being told to pit. The reply is he'll be told about it out of the car - so the watching world cannot listen in.
Leclerc takes pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix! Perez will join him on the front row, with Hamilton in third.
Verstappen gives up on his final lap and pits! He will start from eighth place, but he was told to pit while on his final lap! What happened there?
Hamilton goes third, 0.054s off Leclerc, who has provisional pole unless Verstappen can deny him.
Perez gets himself up to second, ahead of Sainz and Norris, with times changing all the time!
Verstappen, tiptoeing around the final sector, looks set to take pole but backs out of the lap to give himself one more flying lap.
Alonso goes provisional pole with a 1m50.737s! But again he's beaten by Leclerc with a 1m49.412s!
Into the closing stages of qualifying and Hamilton remains on provisional pole from both Red Bulls and both Ferraris. Tsunoda makes the belated switch to softs, as Magnussen also on softs goes eighth.
Verstappen comes inches away from throwing it into the wall but somehow keeps it on the road to go second, 0.376s off Hamilton's provisional pole time.
Gasly runs off track which ruins his lap and brings out a brief period of yellow flags.
Alonso goes quickest, until Leclerc beats him and then Hamilton beats them both with a 1m51.019s!
Verstappen's second effort puts him second, but he's still 1.2s off Hamilton's leading lap.
Hamilton puts it on provisional pole, on the softs, with a 1m53.082s. That puts him two seconds faster than nearest rival Tsunoda who is on the inters.
Verstappen's first effort on the softs is four seconds slower than his Q2 times on the inters. Is it too early?
The track looks dry through the first two sectors but it is the final part of the lap which isn't giving up its moisture. This will be a real test for the drivers.
Eight out of 10 drivers are on softs, only Tsunoda and Magnussen are not taking the dry tyres for their first Q3 runs.
Well, Leclerc will be on the softs, but he's delayed by having inters initially on his car. Oddly, Sainz was already equipped with the softs and is on his merry way.
Q3 time - and Verstappen and Leclerc are on the slicks from the start.
"Sorry about that I really struggled. Exactly the same issue as in practice," Russell reports over team radio. That Mercedes just cannot get temperature into the tyres, a story of its season.
The soft tyre switch was exciting but ultimately ill-advised as Stroll, Vettel and Zhou all drop out in that session. But with conditions improving slowly, will any of the Q3 contenders make the same gamble?
Vettel, on his final flying lap, locked up down the back straight and ran off track. Out in Q2: P11 Russell, P12 Stroll, P13 Schumacher, P14 Vettel, P15 Zhou.
...Russell is out in Q2! He gets beaten by Magnussen by 0.006s and will start the Singapore GP in 11th place.
Schumacher can't repeat his Q1 escape act and he drops out. Lap times changing all the time and Russell has been pushed down to 11th...
Last chance time in Q2 and those on softs are struggling. Tsunoda goes from 15th to sixth to give him a great chance to make Q3.
At the top Hamilton goes second quickest, 0.348s off Leclerc. They both look safely into Q3.
On his soft tyres Stroll has spun on his out-lap. He avoids the walls but that gamble might have backfired. Still only him, Vettel and Zhou who have made the switch to softs.
Russell, still in the Q2 drop zone, is on fresh inters and needs a clean lap. He puts in a 1m54.012s to go seventh fastest.
Ah, or not, as Leclerc is actually given new inters despite having asked for dry tyres. Nevertheless, Aston Martin is going for it, putting both Stroll and Vettel on the soft tyres.
"Can we box for slicks?" Leclerc asks. He gets the green light from his Ferrari team. This could be fun.
After a messy first lap Sainz improves to go fourth. Midway through Q2 Schumacher, Magnussen, Russell, Tsunoda and Zhou are the drivers with work to do to make Q3.
Verstappen slots into second behind Leclerc, 0.380s slower, as Perez goes third one tenth of a second slower.
All 15 drivers in Q2 are on the track, with Leclerc lighting up the timing screen. The Ferrari driver puts in a 1m52.343s to go top from Hamilton.