Singapore, September 16 (Reuters) — Spanish driver Carlos Sainz put Ferrari in pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix on a shocking Saturday for dominant Red Bull, whose record streak of 15 straight victories appears to be coming to an end. path.
The first place at the start was the second in a row for the Spaniard and Ferrari, as well as the third for the Italian team in four races.
Championship leader, Dutch Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, and his teammate, Mexican Sergio “Checo” Pérez, failed to reach the top 10, a surprising turnaround for a team that had been in a league of its own but who suddenly seemed lost.
Verstappen’s hopes of extending his record with his 11th consecutive victory seemed remote on a street circuit where overtaking is never easy.
The 25-year-old Dutchman qualified 11th but faced a possible further drop following stewards’ investigations into alleged obstruction.
“That was… a shocking experience, absolutely shocking,” Verstappen said at the end of the second phase after realizing he would not participate in qualifying again.
Pérez qualified only in 13th place for what will be his 250th participation in Formula One.
Without the Red Bulls on the track, the rivals had everything at stake and Sainz made his lap count with a best time of one minute 30.984 seconds.
Charles Leclerc seemed guaranteed to start on the front row for the Italian team, but George Russell completed the lap in one minute 31.056 seconds to beat the Monegasque by just 0.007.
McLaren’s Lando Norris will start fourth on the grid, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton fifth and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen sixth.
Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin will start seventh, Esteban Ocon of Alpine eighth, Nico Hulkenberg of Haas ninth and Liam Lawson of AlphaTauri tenth.
The pole was the second in a row for Ferrari and Sainz.
Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll crashed heavily in the final corner in the final seconds of the opening session, causing red flags and delaying the start of the second phase. Stroll emerged from the mangled car, which hit the barriers almost head-on and with such force that he tore off his left front wheel, and was taken to the medical center for examination.
Red flags caught out McLaren’s Australian rookie Oscar Piastri, whose final flying lap had to be aborted and left him 17th on the grid.
NA 09-16-23 15:12:13
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