Pink Bull’s good Components 1 win document in 2023 faces its most critical menace. An “undriveable” RB19 in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix left Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez – who each performed down expectations forward of the spherical – bereft of confidence beneath braking and not sure of the cornering stability. Because of this, Verstappen ran to eleventh as his team-mate was thirteenth quickest.
This spot of distress for the hitherto dominant Milton Keynes outfit left the door open for an in-form Carlos Sainz to grab pole place. He crossed the road to publish a ultimate 1m30.984s flying lap and pip Mercedes rival George Russell – the filling in a Ferrari sandwich – by 0.072s.
Sainz’s benchmark time smashed the Marina Bay lap document, beforehand held by Lewis Hamilton following his 1m36.015s romp to pole in 2018. That vast enchancment is on account of a brand new structure for this 12 months, with development work across the ultimate sector dictating that the fiddly Turns 16-19 chicanes have been changed with a again straight. However had the monitor gone unchanged, the document would have probably gone once more to Mercedes.
Ferrari’s first-sector benefit
GPS knowledge from Sainz and Russell’s ultimate Q3 laps present that it’s the Ferrari racer who begins the showdown stronger. Sainz hits 191mph earlier than hitting the brakes into Flip 1, whereas Russell is 2mph worse off. A 0.06s deficit doubles by the comparatively open first left-hander and the Ferrari continues to creep ahead to carry a 0.14s edge come Flip 5.
That rises to 0.22s as Russell is unable to match the SF-23’s apex velocity, falling 2.5mph shy.
However then the Mercedes begins to reply, closing again to inside 0.15s by the acceleration zone out of the 100mph right-hander. That’s, till the speedometer climbs north of 186mph. As soon as Sainz, later to vary up, pulls for eighth gear, the Ferrari has the sting in a straight line.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
Picture by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Russell’s delta then suffers two fast spikes. He falls nigh on 0.3s behind by the 90-degree Flip 7 left, makes up 0.15s with a fast burst of throttle alongside the small connecting straight after which falls 0.35s away with a run by the equally sharp Flip 8. Because the W14 crosses into the second sector, it hasn’t equalled the Ferrari within the corners.
Mercedes’ middle-sector comeback
However Russell quickly cuts the delta right down to 0.12s with one other surge of acceleration on the brief dash to Flip 9. Whereas Sainz is a few hundredths faster by the nook, once more Russell is ready to eat into the Ferrari’s benefit when he jumps again on the throttle. The GPS knowledge exhibits a touch steeper acceleration curve to carry the hole right down to 0.04s come Flip 10.
For the primary time, Russell is then in a position to edge forward. He pulls 0.06s on Sainz as he slingshots out of the left-hander and costs in the direction of the Turns 11-12 kinks. Once more, the SF-23 units the usual by the apex, however the delta is in Russell’s favour out of Flip 12 and into Flip 13. As per the primary half of the lap, the W14 is the extra responsive beneath preliminary throttle to provide Russell a 0.2s lead down the again straight as he reaches the ultimate sector.
No chicanes, no glory
Maybe suggesting that the Ferrari rear tyres have handed their peak, the roles reverse for the run to the flag. The Mercedes is the pacesetter by the slower corners any more. Regardless of Russell working 2mph slower than Sainz on the finish of the straight, he stretches his benefit to 0.255s – pretty much as good because it’ll get – by the acute Flip 14 proper. Whereas the Merc might be 3mph slower on the apex, the deceleration and acceleration both aspect is extra extreme to provide him the higher hand total.
George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14
Picture by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
Beforehand, from this level, each automobiles would then have navigated the fiddly right-left and left-right sequences of Flip 16-19. However owing to the structure adjustments, these 4 corners are gone. This seems to place pole past Russell’s grasp by eradicating the slower-speed corners and fast stabs of acceleration which have underpinned his robust lap to date.
As an alternative, the substitute longer again straight performs to Sainz. He finds an additional 3mph over his rival to hit 181mph earlier than Russell can reply by the ultimate chicane. The Briton is a whisker in entrance, however his 0.04s lead doesn’t final lengthy. Had 4 turns not been ditched, his cushion at this stage might need been extra substantial to carry onto first place. As an alternative, the Ferrari is faster into and out of the comparatively high-speed ultimate nook to settle the pole shootout.
High three Qualifiers George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, pole man Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari
Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images