Charles Leclerc was surprised to take pole position for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix after setting a blistering final flying lap in qualifying.
Ferrari arrived in Singapore expecting to struggle, but did bring a raft of aerodynamic updates in pursuit of gaining extra downforce – an area they have struggled with so far this season.
And the updates did their job as Leclerc took pole position, 0.191s ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
Speaking about his third pole position in as many races, Leclerc said: “Coming to Singapore, we expected to have a difficult weekend.
“I struggled with the car yesterday and was not satisfied with my driving.
“Pole felt out of reach but this morning, the car came alive and felt great.
“The team in our factory in Maranello did an incredible job to make this result possible by giving us the high-downforce package we need on this track.”
Leclerc’s driving was right on the limit in his final qualifying lap, as he danced around the track trying to avoid the barriers of the Marina Bay circuit, and although he went fast enough to take pole, he still felt it was not the perfect lap.
“I made some mistakes and there were some close calls.” added the Ferrari driver.
“I have to keep my head down now and stay focused.
“It is difficult to overtake here, so the start will be the most important part of the race for me. I hope it will be an exciting one.”
Ferrari Team Principal, Mattia Binotto was also surprised with his driver’s pole position but believes the result proves that the Scuderia are going in the right direction with their car’s development.
“After the two wins in Spa-Francorchamps and Monza we all came out here somehow hoping to continue the momentum and do something special, and somehow we did it.” commented Binotto.
“We brought a new aero package here, which proved positive but more importantly, it shows that our development is going in the right direction.
“We have clearly identified our weaknesses and we are addressing them, which is also useful for next year.
“I still believe that our rivals are very strong and that we need to improve in some areas but at least we are on the right path.”