Thanks for tuning into Sportstar’s live coverage of the qualifying session of the Singapore Grand Prix 2022. This was Nihit Sachdeva taking you through the action as it unfolded at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
7:45PM IST: That’s it for the qualifying session. This is how the 20 drivers will line up tomorrow. Do join us for live coverage of the Singapore Grand Prix.
7:38PM IST: Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s teammate, will start alongside Leclerc on the front row. Lewis Hamilton will begin from third.
7:34PM IST: Verstappen, chasing Leclerc’s time, aborts the final flying lap on the final corner due to fuel issues. Verstappen will start from eighth. Charles Leclerc takes pole position!
7:30PM IST: Fernando Alonso goes faster than Hamilton but Leclerc is the fastest with 1:49.412s. Last few seconds. One last push.
7:26PM IST: Hamilton improves his time to 1:51.019s. Still on top. Verstappen second fastest, 0.376s behind Hamilton. Less than four minutes left.
7:24PM IST: Hamilton goes fastest with 1:53.082s and a ‘STOP THE PRESS’ moment as Tsunoda goes faster than Verstappen.
7:23PM IST: Verstappen is the first one to set a time in the final session of qualifying - 1:56.940s
7:20PM IST: Q3 is underway! Both Ferraris have switched to slick tyres. So has Max Verstappen.
7:18PM IST: Russell is out after Q2. That has got to be a big shock for Toto Wolff and Mercedes.
7:13PM IST: End of Q2. Drivers eliminated -
- ⦿ George Russell - Mercedes
- ⦿ Lance Stroll - Aston Martin
- ⦿ Mick Schumacher - Haas
- ⦿ Sebastian Vettel - Aston Martin
- ⦿ Zhou Guanyu - Alfa Romeo
7:10PM IST: Interesting strategy from Red Bull
7:08PM IST: Less than three minutes left in Q2. Hamilton is back on second, 0.348s behind Leclerc. Russell, makes it out of the bottom five but only just for now.
7:05PM IST: Both Haas cars in the bottom five at the moment. Surprise, surprise. So is George Russell.
7PM IST: Leclerc sets the early pace in Q2 with the fastest time of 1:52.343s. Verstappen behind by 0.380 second.
6:57PM IST: Q2 is underway!
6:55PM IST: Update from our correspondent S. Dipak Ragav
6:52PM IST: End of Q1. Drivers eliminated -
- ⦿ Valterri Bottas - Alfa Romeo
- ⦿ Daniel Ricciardo - McLaren
- ⦿ Esteban Ocon - Alpine
- ⦿ Alex Albon - Williams
- ⦿ Nicolas Latifi - Williams
6:49PM IST: Hamilton goes fastest with a timing of 1:53.161s. However, not for long as Verstappen takes the honours with 1:53.057s.
6:45PM IST: Less than five minutes to go till the end of Q1 and these five drivers are at the risk of elimination - Albon, Latifi, Ricciardo, Magnussen and Schumacher.
6:43PM IST: Leclerc improves Verstappen’s fastest lap time by 0.173 seconds.
6:40PM IST: Verstappen is into the mix. Fastest lap so far - 1:54.935s
6:38PM IST: Russell improves his time to 1:55.842s but Leclerc goes faster than him with a timing of 1:55.054s. Early stages though.
6:35PM IST: The two Mercedes have registered themselves in Q1: Russell - 1:57.099s, Hamilton - 1:56.937s
6:31PM IST: The green light is on and we are underway! George Russell’s Mercedes is the first car on the track.
6:25PM IST: Just five minutes to go before Q1 begins.
6:20PM IST: For four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, this weekend will be the final time he will race in Singapore as the German driver is set to retire after the current season. Over the last few years, Vettel has been vocal about his concerns for the environment with regards to climate change and even admitted the conflict between his beliefs while being part of a fuel-guzzling sport was a factor in his decision to retire at the end of the year. Here’s the full piece by S. Dipak Ragav - Vettel calls for independent monitoring of F1’s ambitious environment-friendly targets
6:10PM IST: Here’s how the Marina Bay Street Circuit looks like -
6PM IST:Leclerc topped FP3 -
Ferrari continued to show promise as Leclerc topped a rain-hit third Free Practice session ahead of Verstappen before qualifying.
There have been rains in the city-state since afternoon with torrential downpours in the hour leading to the final free practice session. Even though the rains stopped just before the scheduled start of practice, Race Control started the session with only thirty minutes left on the clock as there were puddles on the track that had to be cleared away.
A few drivers started on wet weather tyres before switching to the intermediates. Verstappen led the time charts for a while starting on inters directly but towards the end of the session, Leclerc pipped the reigning champion by half a second on tyres that had done two fewer laps to top the time charts.
On a track where overtaking is nearly impossible and with the race expected to just have one-stop due to the low degradation in dry conditions, qualifying will play a vital role. Teams will be trying to maximise their one-lap pace rather than their long-run speed for the race as track position is vital.
5:50PM IST:Summary of FP2 -
Sainz led a Ferrari 1-2 with his teammate Leclerc two-tenths behind in the second Free Practice session.
Verstappen managed to post only the fourth-fastest time behind Mercedes’ Russell.
The reigning champion sat in the garage for a long time after setting just one timed lap as his team worked on his car before setting his quickest lap towards the end of the session.
The Red Bull driver was three-tenths behind Sainz who set a time of 1:42:587, while Hamilton placed fifth, nearly six-tenths of a second behind the leader.
5:40PM IST:Here’s how FP1 went-
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton pipped birthday boy Max Verstappen by less than a tenth of a second, to top the first free practice session.
Hamilton’s fastest time of 1:43.033 was set on a set of soft tyres five minutes before the end of the session.
Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari was third quickest with the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez fourth. Mercedes' George Russell posted the fifth quickest time, one second off his teammate Hamilton with Carlos Sainz rounding out the top six in his Ferrari.
The twilight first session was largely unrepresentative as both qualifying and the race will be held at night.
PREVIEW (By S. Dipak Ragav)
Max Verstappen will be chasing history at the Singapore Grand Prix, which returns to the Formula One calendar after two years, as he will have the chance to secure his second world driver’s title this weekend around the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The reigning champion turned 25 on Friday and could cap off his birthday weekend in style if he can join an elite list of only 16 drivers who have won multiple titles. The Red Bull driver has a lead of 116 points over nearest rival Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and will need a 138-point lead by the end of Sunday over the pursuing pack to leave Singapore as a double world champion.
To seal the title under glittering lights at the place that birthed the first night race in F1 history, Verstappen needs to do something he has not done before - win the Singapore GP and hope his rivals have a poor weekend.
Verstappen’s best finish has been second here in 2018, but he has never come here with a Red Bull car that has had a chance of winning. While the second title is almost a foregone conclusion barring an unusual set of jeopardy over the next six races, to seal it this weekend Verstappen needs to gain 22 points over his main rival Leclerc, 13 points over team-mate Sergio Perez and six over George Russell. Also, he needs to ensure Carlos Sainz doesn’t outscore him by 11 points.
Though his maiden title in 2021 came under controversial circumstances in the Abu Dhabi GP last year, Verstappen’s second title is set to be one without any such asterisks attached to it. The 24-year-old is on a five-race winning streak having won 11 races this year already. He is on track to beat the record of most wins in a season which is 13 held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
In races he has completed this year, he has finished outside the podium only once - at the British GP - due to circumstances outside his control as his car collected debris which affected its performance.
After new rules were introduced at the start of the year, Verstappen took time to get used to the new generation of cars with his team-mate Perez matched evenly in performance at the start of the year. However, as the car has been developed, Verstappen has been able to find a higher level of performance from the machinery and is on course for his second title.
When and where to watch?
The qualifying session of the Singapore Grand Prix 2022 will be telecast on the Star Sports Network and live streamed on Disney+Hotstar from 6:30PM IST on Saturday.