Leclerc admits Ferrari didn't expect to challenge for Singapore GP pole

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Charles Leclerc conceded pole was just as unexpected for Ferrari as it was for everyone else in Singapore on Saturday.

The Monegasque flew to his fifth P1 in qualifying this season and third in a row at Marina Bay, as his final lap was enough to beat Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

And it came on a weekend where few gave the Italian team much chance having struggled on high downforce circuits throughout the year.

“I’m very surprised because even though we knew that there were was a bit more to come we didn’t expect to challenge Mercedes or Red Bull,” Leclerc admitted.

“It’s quite a surprise for the whole team but it proves how good of a job they’ve done back at the factory and here, so it’s thanks to them they’re on pole.”

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“It was quite a crazy lap," he commented. "The first one I compromised it, I started the lap too close to Lewis and I compromised the second sector, so then there was quite a bit of pressure to perform on the last lap.

“I gave it my all, there were quite a few mistakes, I lost the car a few times and I see myself in the wall at least twice or three times in the lap.

“But it felt amazing and the car was great. Friday was a very difficult day for me, so to come here and do the pole position feels absolutely amazing."

And the key to the sudden and dramatic improvement? An upgrade Ferrari has brought having learnt the lessons from finishing a minute behind at the last high downforce circuit.

“Performance-wise it seems that it’s working and I think data-wise for the engineers it is working too,” Leclerc explained.

“I think from Hungary to now we’ve understood also the car better, we know the balance we need to achieve to have the best performance and I think that also shows on track.

“So I think it is a combination of knowing where the balance needs to be and the improvements we made on the car.”