Charles Leclerc kept Ferrari at the top of the charts by winning pole position on Saturday morning in Singapore. (F1 photo)

Leclerc Storms To Pole While Verstappen Fades To Eighth

SINGAPORE — Rain struck Singapore on Saturday morning, creating wet-dry conditions for the Formula 1 qualifying session at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, allowing Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc to secure the pole for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Leclerc edged Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ driver Lewis Hamilton with a 1:49.412 best lap time, just 0.022 seconds faster than Perez and 0.054 seconds quicker than Hamilton.

The reigning champion Max Verstappen was forced to take eighth in qualifying after abandoning his final lap on the circuit, potentially clouding his hopes of wrapping up his second title this weekend.

In another surprising turn of events, Mercedes’ George Russell ended the day in 11th after finishing Friday’s practice in third. Instead, Hamilton’s pace led the team’s qualifying efforts.

“I was pushing so hard and it was incredibly close. It was really difficult to get to a position where we could be fighting for first place and I just didn’t have enough grip on the last lap,” Hamilton said. “We just keep our head down and hope for a positive day tomorrow.”

Ferarri’s Carlos Sainz and Apline’s Fernanado Alonso rounded out the top five.