Charles Leclerc takes pole position in Singapore

When night falls in Formula 1, the drama begins. Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix, the mother of all night races, sets standards for the 16th World Championship round. Shortly before the end Lewis Hamilton was surprisingly ahead with the silver arrow, in the meantime even Fernando Alonso looked like he had a chance. But at the very end of a session that started in the wet after a monsoon shower, continued in mixed conditions and finally culminated in a duel on slicks, the Monegasque pushed his way up Charles Leclerc still ahead – for the ninth time this season, the runner-up in the World Championship is on pole position.

Next to him will be Sergio Perez in the Red Bull Honda, behind Hamilton and Carlos Sainz Jr. in the second Ferrari. For the two German pilots Mick Schumacher in the Haas-Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin, it was prematurely over after the second qualifying session in ranks 13 and 14.

And where, if you please, did the man end up who this Sunday (2:00 p.m. CEST in the FAZ live ticker for Formula 1 and at Sky) could defend his title early? Max Verstappen is flagged down as eighth, although the Dutchman was clearly on course for pole twice in the end. In the penultimate lap, the 25-year-old broke himself off, he had gotten too close to Pierre Gasly, and in the all-important lap it was the race engineer who, with a panicked radio message, forced him to break off and return to the pit lane.

Only starts from eighth place: Max Verstappen

Only starts from eighth place: Max Verstappen

Image: EPA

Verstappen no longer understood the world, but the maneuver was pure self-protection – the Red Bull strategists had miscalculated by one lap when refueling. Without the minimum amount of fuel he would have been disqualified. The World Cup decision, which would be the earliest in two decades, could be postponed again. Verstappen is currently 116 points ahead of Charles Leclerc, but in order to get the necessary 138 points ahead of Charles Leclerc, the Dutchman would have to win in any case, and the competition would have to mess up a lot.

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