Singapore GP: Leclerc secures stunning pole as Ferrari shine

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Charles Leclerc and Ferrari ripped up the form book by claiming an incredible pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Monegasque had hinted the at the Scuderia's performance by leading final practice, but still few predicted the Italian team would have enough to beat Mercedes and Red Bull at Marina Bay.

Initially, it appeared as though Sebastian Vettel would become the first five-time pole sitter in Singapore after setting the pace in Q3, but it was a brilliant final run from Leclerc that saw him post a 1m36.217s to secure his third straight P1 start.

As for Mercedes, they were left playing catch up after struggling on their first laps, but Lewis Hamilton managed a strong recovery to snatch second from Vettel in the final moments.

The German left to rue a poor second lap as he lost two places.

Red Bull and Max Verstappen was the team expected to fight Mercedes hardest, but the Dutchman finished seven-tenths down on Leclerc in fourth.

There was frustration for Valtteri Bottas too, as the Finn couldn't find the grip of his teammate, ending almost a second off the pace in fifth as Alex Albon completed the top six.

In the midfield, McLaren and Renault continued their head-to-head duel with Carlos Sainz doing as he had for much of the weekend by claiming 'best of the rest' in seventh.

Their Anglo-French rivals were able to capitalise on a poor lap by Lando Norris though, as Daniel Ricciardo took eighth with Nico Hulkenberg ninth, demoting the Briton to P10.

Q1

The session began as practice ended with Leclerc setting the initial pace for Ferrari as Mercedes used the medium tyres for their first runs.

It wasn't long though before the Silver Arrows unleashed their performance as Bottas jumps 0.7s clear after switching to the red-striped tyre.

Hamilton couldn't quite match his teammate in second as Vettel and Verstappen completed the top five.

In the fight to avoid elimination, Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen both improved with their final efforts to jump to safety.

That meant Daniil Kvyat, who missed much of Practice 3 due to an engine issue, and Lance Stroll were the unlucky drivers to slip into the bottom five.

Romain Grosjean couldn't toast his new contract at Haas with a good qualifying, however, as he ended 18th.

At Williams, George Russell had hoped to challenge to Q2 with Marina Bay sharing similar characteristics to Hungary.

Instead, the Briton had to settle for 19th as he ended three-tenths ahead of teammate Robert Kubica.

Q2

Leclerc responds to Mercedes' pace at the end of Q1 by going sub-1m37s in the Ferrari, but only sits a tenth and a half clear of Hamilton and Verstappen.

The second runs see Vettel finally join the battle by briefly going P1 before his teammate strikes again going 0.07s to lead the session.

As expected, the McLarens and Renaults continue to lead the midfield as Sergio Perez just misses Q3 by 0.04s in P11.

Unfortunately for the Mexican, he'll take a five-place grid drop after a gearbox change following his hit against the wall in final practice.

That means Antonio Giovinazzi moves up to 11th having once again got the better of Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo. The 2007 world champion will start 13th after contact with the barrier at Turn 14.

Between them was Pierre Gasly in the Toro Rosso who'll claim 12th with Magnussen unable to get any higher after just making it out of Q1.

An enthralling session which kept F1 guessing throughout and sets up a fascinating race on Sunday with Mercedes almost certainly the faster race car than the Ferrari, but will Hamilton find a way to get past Leclerc?

Full results from qualifying can be seen below:

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