Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (6/4 – Race Winner) will start on pole for the Singapore Grand Prix with championship leader Max Verstappen down in eighth place after he had to cut short his qualifying session late on due to a fuel shortage.
Leclerc will start Sunday’s race from the front after he was 0.022 seconds faster than Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez (9/1 – Race Winner), while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (10/3) is in third place at Marina Bay.
Verstappen (2/1 – Race Winner) was unexpectedly told by his team to abandon his penultimate lap in Q3 and it soon emerged he was beginning to run out of fuel to leave his chances of now winning the title on Sunday looking very slim.
The Red Bull star, who is 13/8 to record the fastest lap on Sunday, needs to win the race and hope Leclerc fails to finish in the top nine to be crowned world champion again but that now seems highly unlikely.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz (16/1 – Race Winner) was fourth fastest, Fernando Alonso’s Alpine will start the race in fifth and Lando Norris in his McLaren was sixth fastest.
When asked about the late drama, a frustrated Verstappen explained: “Not enough fuel in the car. We got a little surprised we had that extra lap but you can track that, you see that coming. That’s why I don’t really understand how that was missed.
“In hindsight, I should have finished the lap before when they told me to abort to make a gap for the last lap. I cannot see how much fuel is in the car and we have all the sensors in the world to track these things. So, yeah, incredibly frustrating.”
Leclerc, in contrast, was delighted as he picked up his ninth pole in 17 races this season.
He said: “It was really, really special. Every qualifying in street tracks are super on the limit and even more like that when it is damp. But it worked well.”
Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly is seventh on the grid, just ahead of Verstappen, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen is in ninth place and the second Alpha Tauri of Yuki Tsunoda makes up the top 10.