MARINA BAY STREET CIRCUIT, SINGAPORE — Runaway championship leader and reigning champion Max Verstappen was looking for a ninth pole position of the 2023 Formula 1 season on Saturday night, but instead was eliminated in Q2.
The Dutchman will start Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix in P11, leaving him with an almighty task on the exhausting street circuit if he’s to finally claim a maiden career victory here and 11th successive Grand Prix win.
In a nightmare second qualifying session for Red Bull, Sergio Perez — as well as the AlphaTauri pair of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda — also had a premature end to the evening.
Elsewhere, the final knockings of Q1 brought about a red flag after an almighty thud, with Lance Stroll crashing into the barriers after losing control of his vehicle on the final corner. His Aston Martin was left without its rear wing and front-left tyre after spinning into the middle of the track, but the Canadian immediately told the radio he was safe.
The Sporting News is live from the Singapore paddock, with updates from Q1, Q2 and Q3 below.
F1 grid for Singapore Grand Prix
F1 qualifying live updates, results from Singapore
END OF Q3: Sainz takes pole! For the second race in a row, the Spaniard will start in P1 after going quickest with 1:30.984. He holds off Russell, who put in a mammoth sector two but finishes +0.072.
Leclerc is next up, with Norris also on the second row, but the McLaren man will be ruing a poor second sector on his final lap of the session.
2:00 left of Q3: All 10 remaining racers are back out of the garage for the final push.
5:00 left of Q3: Hamilton is now much closer to his teammate, with a tenth separating the Mercedes pair. They trail Norris in P3 as it stands.
8:00 left of Q3: The Ferraris are purring now. Sainz is leading on 1:31.170, with Leclerc three-tenths back.
START OF Q3: Here we go for the final 10 minutes…
END OF Q2: The reigning champion and championship leader is eliminated! “An absolutely shocking experience,” he bemoans on the radio. Verstappen is in P11 for tomorrow’s Grand Prix!
Joining him in being knocked out of contention in this session is Gasly, Perez, Albon and Tsunoda. Sainz sets the new quickest time, with 1:31.439.
2:00 left of Q2: Verstappen is on the brink of elimination as it stands, in 10th spot.
4:00 left of Q2: Another impeding incident, this time involving Verstappen and Tsunoda, will be investigated after the session. The Dutchman will be the driver under review.
7:00 left of Q2: The Brits of Mercedes are through with Russell now leading the pack. He goes a tenth quicker than Alonso. Hamilton is currently fifth fastest.
10:00 left of Q2: Verstappen is the first to set a time in Q2, setting a time of 1:32.307, which is soon outstripped by five others. Alonso is the pace-setter, going five-tenths quicker than the championship leader.
START OF Q2: After a half-hour of clear-up work, we’re belatedly back underway on Marina Bay.
RED FLAG: Around 20 minutes since the conclusion of Q1, we’re still awaiting progress on a restart. The debris from Stroll’s crash appears to have been removed, but the barriers in sector three are still being repaired after the almighty collision.
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 16, 2023
END OF Q1: Wow! Tsunoda is on top with a lap of 1:31.991. But there’s bigger news that soon follows — an enormous thud can be heard through the media centre here as Stroll crashes on the final corner, losing control and heading straight into the wall to bring out the red flag. He ends up in the middle of the track, one wheel and the rear wing down, but is heard safe on the radio.
The Canadian is bottom of the pack, with Zhou, Sargeant, Bottas and Piastri joining him in being eliminated.
2:00 left of Q1: Stroll currently joins the two Alfa Romeos and two Williams in staring elimination in the face.
5:00 left of Q1: Verstappen, who had briefly set the fastest time before Sainz outdid him by 0.059, is back in the garage. Meanwhile, an investigation is ongoing after Sargeant impeded Stroll.
10:30 left of Q1: In their first run, the Mercedes duo clock in at P1 and P5. Russell is the man on top, going faster than Leclerc through sectors one and three.
13:00 left of Q1: Norris is leading the Red Bull pair and Sainz in the early knockings… but then Leclerc comes in with a lap three-tenths quicker to top the leaderboard so far.
LIGHTS OUT: We are underway in Q1!
5 mins to lights out: The new track layout was expected to be around nine seconds faster, and we were given a further glimpse into the lap duration in FP3. Sainz’s table-topping time of 1:32.065 was 14 seconds quicker than Russell’s fastest race lap of 2022 here.
20 mins to lights out: Logan Sargeant, Oscar Piastri and Liam Lawson are the three Singapore debutants this weekend. The former was bottom of the pile with his FP3 fastest lap, while Lawson was four-tenths better in 16th spot. Piastri, though, will be confident of qualifying strongly. He ranked seventh in FP3, just two-tenths behind Hamilton.
40 mins to lights out: In the 14-race history of the Singapore Grand Prix, Mercedes and Red Bull are tied for the most victories with four apiece. Sebastian Vettel holds the drivers’ record, also with four (splitting those between his stints at Red Bull and Ferrari). Four is also the magic number for most pole positions, with Vettel sharing that particular record with Lewis Hamilton.
1 hour to lights out: Hello and welcome to The Sporting News’ live coverage of Saturday evening from downtown Singapore, and the spectacular street race which takes place along Marina Bay.
Ferrari are looking for a second straight pole position, with Charles Leclerc revealing in the paddock that Monza earlier this month proved to be a pivotal race in the development of their next car.
F1 2023 schedule: What time is the Singapore qualifying?
|Date||Sat, September 16||Sat, September 16||Sat, September 16||Sat, September 16||Sat, September 16|
|Time||2 p.m. BST||9 a.m. ET||9 a.m. ET||11 p.m. AEST||6:30 p.m. IST|
F1 Singapore Grand Prix TV channel
|TV Channel||Sky Sports F1||ESPN2||TSN (English); RDS (French)||Fox Sports||N/A|
F1 Singapore Grand Prix live stream
|Live Stream||NOW TV / Sky Go app||ESPN+, Fubo||TSN Direct||Kayo||F1 TV Pro|