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Max qualifies in fourth in Singapore: 'Had higher expectations'

Published on 21 September 2019 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen will be starting the Singapore Grand Prix from the second row tomorrow. The Dutchman did a 1:36.813 during the final part of qualifying which secured him the fourth place on the grid. Charles Leclerc managed to take the pole three times in a row and kept Lewis Hamilton (P2) and Sebastian Vettel (P3) at bay at around two tenths.

Max tells Verstappen after qualifying that he is not particularly happy with the result they achieved so far: ‘We came here to win. You expect things to go well, but you still need to find a good balance in the car. Actually the balance was there and the car felt good, but we didn’t have enough grip. As soon as I wanted to increase speed, I started slipping.”

But it’s actually not easy to really say what the problem is: “It’s difficult to say what the issue is, but the entire qualifying we are lacking race pace, especially in Q3. I am actually very surprised that we are not so competitive here after the positive weekend in Monza. We need to look into that.”

Are there any chances to win the race tomorrow? “Then a lot needs to happen when you are starting from fourth, but we’ll see”, says Max. “It’s just not ideal. I had higher expectations, but it is what it is.”

Lit by around 1600 lamps, qualifying gets underway on the Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore. The Alfa Romeo-drivers get things moving by clocking the first lap. Max Verstappen does a 1:38.540 on the softs in his first timed lap. This puts him second.

After everyone has completed their first run, the top six is formed by Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz. Striking is the fact that the Mercedes drivers have done their times on the medium compound tyres. But the Silver Arrows head back out once more, now on the softs, and after doing a better job, take over the lead from both Ferraris. Daniil Kvyat, Lance Stroll, Romain Grosjean, George Russell and Robert Kubica fail to make the cut and are sent to the showers after the first part of qualifying.

In Q2, Max Verstappen does a 1:37.089 in his first lap which earns him the third spot. The gap to the fastest man on track (Charles Leclerc) is at that moment a tenth-and-a-half. The entire top five is within four tenths of a second.

Max isn’t able to better his time during his final run and makes it to the final part of qualifying in fourth. Ferrari has with Leclerc (1:36.650) and Vettel (1:36.720) the upper hand. Sergio Pérez, Antonio Giovinazzi, Pierre Gasly, Kimi Räikkönen and Kevin Magnussen form the second group of drop outs, leaving five teams to battle it out in Q3.

After the first timed laps in the third part of qualifying, the top six is formed by Vettel (1:36.437), Leclerc (+0.354), Verstappen (+0.380), Hamilton (+1.010), Bottas (+1.046) and Albon (+1.527). It is striking that there is a huge gap from Mercedes compared to the top three.

Verstappen betters his time during a second attempt and does a 1:36.813. However, he loses his third spot when the flag drops as Lewis Hamilton managed to massively improve himself. Charles Leclerc grabs pole for the third time in a row with a 1:36.217. Hamilton, Vettel, Verstappen, Bottas and Albon complete the top six.

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Results qualifying Singapore:

1Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:38.0141:36.6501:36.217
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:37.5651:36.9331:36.408
3Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:38.3741:36.7201:36.437
4Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:38.5401:37.0891:36.813
5Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:37.3171:37.1421:37.146
6Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda1:39.1061:37.8651:37.411
7Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault1:38.8821:37.9821:37.818
8Daniel RicciardoRICRenault1:39.3621:38.3991:38.095
9Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:39.0011:38.5801:38.264
10Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault1:38.6061:37.5721:38.329
11Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:39.9091:38.620
12Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:39.2721:38.697
13Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:39.0851:38.699
14Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:39.4541:38.858
15Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:39.9421:39.650
16Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:39.957
17Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:39.979
18Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:40.277
19George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:40.867
20Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes1:41.186