Charles Leclerc beat Max Verstappen for fastest time in the final match at Marina Bay Street Circuit; Carlos Sainz third for Ferrari as Mercedes struggled in the wet; watch Singapore GP qualifiers live on Sky Sports F1 at 2pm on Saturdays, broadcast from 1pm
Last Updated: 10/1/22 12:41 pm
Charles Leclerc was the fastest as Ferrari showed strong pace in the steamy final match ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix qualifier on Saturday.
Leclerc topped Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who could take the world championship in tomorrow’s race, in half a second at 1:57,782 on dry ground.
Carlos Sainz’s other Ferrari trailed further in third half a second, while Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez were the other cars within two seconds of Leclerc’s lead.
Mercedes was way ahead of both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton by more than three seconds to ninth and 12th, and will be hoping for no more rain before qualifying late on Saturday.
After a downpour at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, the first half of Practice Three was wiped out before the drivers hesitantly entered the track with wet tyres.
It took about 10 minutes of wet running before the intermediate tire became the preferred tire, and Verstappen and the Ferraris quickly rose to the top of a league of their own.
The shortened wet session added to the mystery after Friday saw both Red Bull and Ferrari face disruptions that limited their runs, leaving an unclear picture of who will keep top speed if the track is completely dry in time for qualifying.
Mercedes made a competitive appearance in dry conditions on Friday, with Lewis Hamilton topping Practice One, before both Silver Arrows showed strong pace in the second session.
Besides the incredible views, the Marina Bay Street Circuit is in production as it returns to the F1 calendar after three years, which is a session with limited drama as drivers avoid too many risks with enough conditions to follow up a few hours later.
Nicholas Latifi missed the track on a few occasions but avoided contact between his Williams and the barriers, while Mick Schumacher was credited for an unsafe throttle action after Haas sent him off the road. race with his right rear tire not fitted properly.
Verstappen is looking for a win that will give him a chance to win the title with five races left, but it will take both Perez and Leclerc having disappointing races to have a chance to do so.
The session took place in the context of continued ongoing developments regarding the upcoming release of the budget cap certificate for the 2021 season by the FIA.
The sport’s governing body is expected to hand out certificates on Wednesday to teams deemed to have adhered to the budget, with reports alleging Red Bull is among two teams that have not.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff spoke about the importance of controlled regulations on Friday, before Red Bull boss Horner hit back on Saturday by saying rivals are making claims “fictional” dad about his team.