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Leclerc claims Singapore pole


Ahead of today's qualifying session, the air temperature is 26.5 degrees C, while the track temperature is 27 degrees. Humidity is 81% and there is a 20% chance of rain.

While yesterday's session took place in near ideal conditions, today's practice session was badly compromised by the weather.

The storm that had been predicted all week hit over the course of the morning, and though the rain had eased by the start of the session, standing water meant there was eventually only thirty minutes of running.

Consequently, the nervous twitches and close encounters we witnessed yesterday, were repeated, albeit due to entirely different reasons.

Charles Leclerc came out on top, ahead of Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez.

While there is further rain predicted tonight, shortly after the end of the session, it is anticipated that there will be further storms tomorrow for the race. Consequently, this afternoon could prove to be something of a lottery.

One team that has disappointed thus far, other than Mercedes which struggled earlier, is McLaren, where a raft of updates doesn't appear to have benefitted Lando Norris.

Ahead of the green light, the Mercedes pair are already waiting at the end of the pitlane. Behind them are the AlphaTauri and McLaren duos.

The lights go green and Russell leads the way, the Mercedes sporting Inters, as are the drivers that follow.

"Still a bit too damp," warns Norris referring to the fact that it is not yet time for slicks.

As Russell begins his first flying lap he immediately encounters traffic as his rivals head out to join him.

Russell crosses the line to post a benchmark 57.099, however Hamilton responds with a 56.937. Tsunoda goes third with a 58.724.

Last out are the Alfa pair, both drivers opting to stick with Inters.

Ocon goes third with a 57.439, as Sainz goes fourth with a 58.131.

Stroll goes third and Albon ninth as Magnussen spins at Turn 8.

A 55.054 sees Leclerc go top, as Schumacher takes to the escape road at Turn 16.

Perez goes third (56.061) and Verstappen 13th (2:00.776), as Leclerc spins at Turn 8.

As the track improves the order is constantly changing, with Hamilton going quickest with a 54.689.

It's business as usual as Verstappen goes quickest with a 54.395, edging out Hamilton by 0.294.

Albon goes off at Turn 18 as the yellow flag wavers are kept on their toes.

Leclerc retakes the top spot with a 54.222, as Stroll goes fifth ahead of Russell, Perez, Ocon, Zhou and Norris.

Ricciardo pits but sticks with Inters.

Perez improves to third with a 54.404, the Mexican unhappy at being impeded by his teammate.

Ricciardo improves to 12th with a 56.940 as the Haas pair have yet to post times.

Just 3 minutes remain.

Magnussen goes sixth with a 55.223, while his teammate posts a 56.287 to go tenth.

That time from Magnussen will serve as a strong wake-up call to the rest of the field.

All 20 drivers are on track with less than two minutes remaining. This is going to be manic.

Russell goes fifth, while teammate Hamilton bangs in a 53.161 to go top.

Verstappen goes quickest in S1 as Albon fails to make the cut.

Alonso goes eighth but is demoted by Tsunoda.

Gasly goes eleventh, but is demoted by Vettel.

Like Albon, Ocon fails to make the cut, while teammate Alonso goes ninth.

"The brakes guys, I have no brakes," complains Ocon.

A late charge sees Verstappen go top, while Magnussen improves to 7th and Schumacher 14th, which is bad news for Bottas.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Hamilton, Leclerc, Perez, Sainz, Russell, Magnussen, Tsunoda, Alonso and Zhou.

We lose Bottas, Ricciardo, Ocon, Albon and Latifi.

Gasly is first out for Q2, followed by Norris, Zhou, Magnussen and Schumacher. Again, it's Inters all the way.

"It's drying out quickly," reports Leclerc.

Of the first wave Leclerc goes quickest (52.343), ahead of Hamilton, Norris, Alonso and Stroll.

However, Verstappen, who was one of the last out, goes second with a 52.723 and teammate Perez third with a 52.818.

Sainz improves from 14th (58.855) to 4th with a 53.495.

The Mercedes pair pit, Hamilton heading out again on fresh Inters.

"It looks dry," reports Leclerc, "but there are still some part of the track which are damp, which makes it very risky."

The Monegasque, having called for slicks, subsequently pits but sticks with the Inters.

On the other hand Stroll and Vettel opt for softs.

Hamilton goes quickest in S2, finally crossing the line at 52.691 to go second.

Stroll has a spin on his slicks but is able to continue.

Zhou also switches to the red-banded rubber.

Russell posts a 54.012 to go seventh.

Stroll improves to ninth (54.211).

Told he can have a lap on slicks, Hamilton replies: "No, I'm good thanks mate!"

Vettel is also struggling and fails to improve... the track clearly not ready for slicks.

Tsunoda goes sixth with a 53.848.

Alonso goes quickest in S2, as Schumacher looks set to improve.

Gasly goes sixth as Schumacher fails to make the cut.

Alonso goes fifth, while Stroll's slick gamble doesn't pay off.

"****, it was too early for dries," admits Vettel.

The big shock however is that Russell has failed to make the cut.

Quickest is Leclerc, ahead of Hamilton, Verstappen, Perez, Alonso, Sainz, Gasly, Tsunoda, Norris and Magnussen.

We lose Russell, Stroll, Schumacher, Vettel and Zhou.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Singapore here.


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