F1 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying: Charles Leclerc takes pole position

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen entered Singapore Grand Prix week needing a win and a little bit of help to secure his second-straight Formula 1 world title.

Now he’ll need to make up a little ground during the race itself for that to remain a possibility.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who sits in second place overall behind Verstappen, secured the pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix thanks to a blistering 1:49.412 lap during the third and final stage of qualifying for the event. Leclerc enters the Singapore Grand Prix with 219 points on the year, 116 points behind Verstappen.

Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate, Sergio Pérez, will start second in the Singapore Grand Prix. Pérez enters race weekend in third place in the F1 standings with 210 points, 125 points behind his Red Bull teammate.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton qualified in third, after running strong throughout all three phases of qualifying.

Verstappen and Hamilton posted the two fastest laps during the first phase of qualifying, with Verstappen posting a best lap of 1:53.057 with Hamilton close behind with a lap of 1:53.161. The five drivers eliminated after the first phase were Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, McLaren Daniel Ricciardo, Apline’s Esteban Ocon, and Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi from Williams.

The second part of qualifying is where Leclerc made his move. After finishing third in the opening segment, the Ferrari driver moved to the top of the board with a fastest lap of 1:52.343, followed by Hamilton, Verstappen and Perez. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso rounded out the top five after the second segment.

Among those drivers eliminated after the second classification were Aston Martin Aramco’s Sebastian Vettle, and Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russel, who placed 11th, just .006 seconds out of tenth position:

As the third part of qualifying began, eight of the final ten cars had moved to slick tires, with just Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda staying with the intermediate tires. Early in the third phase, it looked as if Hamilton would secure the pole, as he posted a lap of 1:51.019 with just over three minutes remaining in the third classification:

But then Leclerc posted his blistering sub-1:50 lap, putting himself into the front:

When it was over, just 0.054 seconds separated the three men who will lead the field in the Singapore Grand Prix:

As for Verstappen, he will start out in eighth position after making a decision to pit during the third phase of qualifying, meaning he will have some ground to make up during the Singapore Grand Prix if he wants to leave the event with his second-straight F1 world title. After the race, it was confirmed that Verstappen needed to pit due to fuel concerns:

Magnussen and Tsunoda, who stayed with the inters, placed ninth and tenth respectively.

Here are the full results:

The Singapore Grand Prix is set for Sunday, with pre-race coverage to begin on ESPN2/ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN at 6:30 a.m. ET. The race will begin at 7:55 a.m. ET.

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