Thursday, 28 September 2023
TechVerstappen and “Checo” Pérez, eliminated in Q2 of the Singapore Grand Prix

Verstappen and “Checo” Pérez, eliminated in Q2 of the Singapore Grand Prix

SINGAPORE (AP).— Max Verstappen’s historic streak of ten consecutive victories in Formula 1 appears to be coming to an end as he qualified in 11th place in Saturday’s qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. will start in first place in Sunday’s race, after surpassing Mercedes’ George Russell and his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc in third qualifying. The Red Bull team had the worst result in qualifying this season.

“Of course it is the best opportunity since the start of the season” for the team to prevent Red Bull from winning all the races in 2023, Leclerc admitted.

Verstappen, the undisputed leader of the drivers’ standings, was eliminated in the second session, finishing 0.007 seconds behind rookie Liam Lawson of the AlphaTauri team.

Mexican Sergio “Checo” Pérez finished 13th after a spin. Both drivers have won every race of the season.

Verstappen said on team radio that it was “an absolutely shocking experience.”

He later added: “Of course it is very difficult to overtake on the Singapore street circuit, so I don’t expect much tomorrow. We have had many successful weekends this year, we can be proud of what we have achieved so far. It is more important to understand where we went wrong this weekend.”

Verstappen won two races this season in which he did not start from the first positions: in Belgium, when he started in sixth position on the grid, and Miami, starting ninth.

But the Red Bull car performed better on those tracks than it has in Singapore. Verstappen and Perez complained that their vehicles were out of balance during practice.

Verstappen avoided a grid penalty despite being investigated for three instances in which he allegedly impeded other drivers. He received a warning – his first this season – for stopping near the pit exit and another warning and a fine of five thousand euros for slowing down AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. The Dutchman was not found guilty of impeding Williams’ Logan Sargeant and argued that he attempted to avoid a collision.

Sainz took first place – for the second consecutive race – by finishing 0.072 seconds less than Russell and Leclerc. Sainz, who finished third in Italy, said it might be easier to win in Singapore because of concerns about Ferrari’s pace.

“I’m more confident especially because of the layout of the track. I think it is a little easier to maintain position on the track,” said Sainz. And he added that Ferrari could have slower pace in the race than other teams, including Mercedes.

Lando Norris will start fourth for McLaren, he will be ahead of Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes in fifth place. Kevin Magnussen is sixth with Haas and Fernando Alonso with Aston Martin will be seventh.

There was a red flag in the first qualifying session when Lance Stroll lost control of his Aston Martin and hit the wall in the final corner. The Canadian walked out and assured that he was not injured.

The crash caused qualifying to be delayed while staff cleaned up debris and repaired the barrier.

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