Today's post-qualifying press conference with Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton.
Parc Ferme Interviews - Conducted by Naomi Schiff
Q: Congratulations, Charles, incredible lap there in front of this incredible crowd here in Singapore. For everyone here and for everyone at home, take us through that lap.
Charles Leclerc: I didn't hear the end. But yeah, definitely an amazing crowd. And it's great to see so many people attending the event. It's been a very, very tricky qualifying - Q1, Q2 with the inters, then in Q3, we didn't really know what to do. We went for the soft at the very last minute. And it paid off. I mean, it was really, really tricky. I did a mistake on my last lap, so I thought we wouldn't get pole, but it was just an off. So really, really happy.
Q: It was a challenging start to the weekend for you this weekend. What are the positive thoughts for tomorrow with the data you've collected so far?
CL: Yeah, I'm very happy with today's result, especially considering the Friday that we've had. We had a very limited amount of laps yesterday, for some issues, but we recovered well. We don't have much data for the race run. But, yeah, if we do the perfect execution, I'm sure we can win.
Q: OK, the first question I asked you was to take us through this lap for everyone here and for everyone at home.
CL: It was really, really special. I mean, every qualifying on street tracks are super on the limit. And even more when it's damp like that, there are some parts of the track that are wet, so you lose the rear. But overall I managed to do quite a clean lap. And it worked well.
Q: Thank you very much. Congratulations. Checo, your first front-row start here in Singapore. What are you looking forward to the most tomorrow?
Sergio Perez: To that start. I think there's a good opportunity tomorrow already from the start to attack Charles and go for the win. It's quite disappointing to miss out on pole by two hundredths. But at the end of the day this is a great team result. My team did a fantastic job - the right calls out there and yeah, pretty happy and a solid job.
Q: Constantly changing conditions and as you mentioned the margins were so tight. What do you think you have on them to get to them tomorrow?
SP: Yeah, I mean, it was so tricky to learn the conditions today, and tomorrow, again, it can be wet at any time. So it will be so important and crucial not to make any mistake and just progress with the race. That will be critical for us.
Q: Congratulations, Lewis, you kept us on your toes in that session. There was a moment when we thought you might have pole position, but it wasn't to be today. Talk us through what this track is like for you and how special it is.
Lewis Hamilton: Well, firstly, hi everyone in Singapore. I was pushing so hard, it was so, so close. I was trying so hard. These guys are always so quick. But I really thought maybe just with a perfect lap, it was really hard to get that, we could be fighting for first place. But I just didn't have the grip on the last lap. But nonetheless, I'm grateful to be on a second row and I'm grateful to the team for continuing to push and you know, we just keep our heads down and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.
Q: But for the margins to have been as close as they were and for you to have kept us on your toes, it's got to be a sign of the progress that your team has made.
LH: Yeah, we didn't know how close we would be this weekend. We knew that the car would be stronger than it was in Monza. But we didn't know how close it would be but yeah, to lose out by that bit, yeah, it's okay. We just get up and fight again tomorrow.
Q: Taking the 18th pole of his career and his ninth of this 2022 campaign our polesitter Charles Leclerc. Charles, it is also your second consecutive pole position here in Singapore. So which one was harder? 2019 or the one you've just done?
CL: No, this one, for the conditions, especially, obviously, Q1 and Q2 with the intermediates and we were really quick. And then you restart a bit everything from zero in Q3 when you finally go on slicks. But it was very, very tricky out there. So yeah, this one was more difficult.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about the track conditions because it wasn't consistent all around the lap was it?
CL: No, it wasn't. There was the last sector that was quite tricky, because there were quite a lot of damp parts. Also, Turn 13 was quite tricky. So it was not the same everywhere. So you had to adapt and also go with the track improvements. But yeah, my... Not my last lap, but the one just before was really good and was the lap for pole. And my last lap, unfortunately I did a mistake. It wouldn't have changed anything. But maybe if Max had finished the lap, we probably would have lost pole for this mistake. But overall, it's been a positive Saturday.
Q: And how confident were you that dry tyres were the way to go in Q3, because it looked like there was a last minute change in the garage for you?
CL: Yeah, we were discussing it and then in the very last moment I saw that everybody basically was going out on softs, so I had a doubt and I went back to my original choice, which was to start with the soft.
Q: Now, practice wasn't the smoothest for you. Do you feel like you're going into the race a little bit unprepared? Just give us your thoughts ahead of the 61-lap Grand Prix?
CL: Overall, I think the feeling with the car has been great all weekend long. So yes, we are missing a little bit of data for the race tomorrow but that doesn't concern me too much. We just need to try and do everything perfect. And I'm pretty sure the result will be there.
Q: Best of luck with that. Checo, coming to you now. Congratulations on your first front-row start here in Singapore. You were so close to pole. Can you picture where you lost out to Charles?
SP: Yeah, I think once... in such a long lap once you are two hundredths away from pole, you definitely lost in a few areas, but conditions were super tricky today. Yeah, I had a big moment into Turn 13. We've been struggling a lot with the driveability and I had a massive moment under braking, which I'm happy just to complete the lap because I lost quite a bit of lap time. But at the same time, I could have lost more. So yeah, it's a bit disappointing to be so close to pole. But on the other hand, it's a good result and I think we are in a good position to fight from there.
Q: Well, give us your thoughts on the race tomorrow because like Charles you had a compromised practice session?
SP: Yeah, well, basically, we're going blind tomorrow. We don't have much information on the long run. So yeah, it will be interesting. I think it's a place where deg seems to be really high and obviously the conditions - we are expecting a bit of rain just before the race, so there are still a lot of unknowns. But yeah, certainly we don't have much information so we will find out tomorrow.
Now Checo, you haven't had the easiest run recently. Just how good does it feel to be right on the pace again?
SP: Yeah, certainly it's nice to be back on the pace. It's been a bit of a struggle, the last few races. So I'm pleased. Especially after the day we had yesterday, where it looked like another poor start with no information, so we basically had a really poor Friday. So yeah, I'm pleased that that we're back to where we belong.
Q: Lewis, welcome, first time we've seen you in here after Qualifying this year. How do you reflect on what just happened out there?
LH: This is the highest I've qualified? I didn't realise! Oh, it was incredibly close. And a really exciting session in general. The car felt a lot better today. We did a lot of great work overnight, back at the factory, but also here and a really clean qualifying session. And obviously, competing for front row constantly. So, I think at the end, it was so difficult to get that lap perfect. And I was hoping for some sort of lap like 2018 but the car definitely doesn't want to drive like that one, so you know, I gave it everything. And to be so close between a top three, I think is still great. So, let's hope we can do something in the race tomorrow. It's very hard to overtake here, but maybe we can have a better strategy than these guys.
Q: Lewis, you say you did a lot of work overnight before qualifying. Just how confident were you coming into the session?
LH: Well, everyone had a wet session in P3, so I couldn't say that I had confidence. After P2, it looked like we were half-a-second behind these guys. And the car didn't feel good in P3, quite a big gap to these guys and all of a sudden, in those damp conditions we were right with them. So that was a bit of a surprise. And in that moment, I was like ‘okay, it's on'. Maybe this is our moment, maybe finally we have a chance to fight for the front row, fight for pole. So, I was giving it my all but I think for all of us, just very tricky conditions. For them, it was Turn 13; for me it was Turn 16, was a bit of a handful, lost a bit of time there, but I still have to be grateful to be on the front row (sic). And yeah, we'll see what we can do from here.
Q: Lewis, after the season you've had, what does it feel like to have a car that you can compete for pole position with?
LH: It feels incredibly rewarding, I think, for everyone in the team. We've really started with a real handful, difficult deck of cards that we've created for ourselves and reshuffling, and lots and lots of work. Everyone staying really positive, or as positive as possible and everyone just being incredibly diligent and never giving up. So, it's been an inspiring year for me, witnessing what my team do and being a part of that and yeah, I so badly want to... naturally the will and desire to get a good result for them, to pay them back for all their great work is part of it. Also, my fans have been the most incredible this year, on and off track. And we couldn't have survived the year without them. So, I also want it for them. But I think we've got a great turnout here this weekend. And I hope that tomorrow we can give them a good show.
Check out our Saturday gallery from Singapore here.