Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Singapore, 2019

“Ferrari’s shocked everyone”: Can Leclerc make it three-in-a-row?

2019 Singapore Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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As described in yesterday’s practice analysis, there was little sign Ferrari had the pace to take pole position in Singapore.

Yesterday the quickest Ferrari was eight tenths of a second off the pace. But from his first lap in final practice it was clear Charles Leclerc had the pace to challenge for pole position.

For a while in qualifying it looked like we were going to get an all-Ferrari front row. In the end only Lewis Hamilton was able to split the two red cars.

“I think Ferrari’s shocked everyone really this weekend,” remarked Alexander Albon after qualifying. This certainly seemed to be the case.

Qualifying, however, was strongly influenced by who could get their out-laps perfect in order to hit the sweet spot which unlocked the best of the Pirelli tyres. Sebastian Vettel was practically the only driver to manage this on his first lap in Q3. The second time around Leclerc and Hamilton did it too, and beat him.

Hamilton, strikingly, swept past his team mate at the end of their out-laps, compromising Bottas’s run in the process, but helping to ensure he got onto the front row. The two Mercedes team mates have had a largely harmonious relationship so far, but Bottas was not impressed by his team mate’s tactics.

Hamilton was another driver who was surprised to see the red cars in the fight for pole position. “I don’t know where Ferrari picked up their pace today as this is potentially not one of their tracks,” he remarked, “but they did a great job.”

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The crucial question now as far as the race is concerned is whether Ferrari’s one-lap performance will translate into decent pace over a race stint. But even if it doesn’t, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is still casting jealous glances in his rival’s direction.

“Obviously if you’re fast on one lap you’ve got to have the heat in the car and the tyres for this one lap and this is something that can bite you on a race distance,” he said.

“But having said that once you’re in front you have a decent opportunity in managing from there. So I’d rather be on board with a slightly compromised card than have every great race car but not be on pole.”

It’s clear what Wolff is driving at: Having parked one of their cars on pole position, Ferrari should be able to one-stop their way to victory by managing the pace early on at a track where overtaking is very difficult.

In past Singapore Grands Prix we’ve seen whichever team is chasing risk an extra pit stop late in the race in an attempt to chase down the leader. This was the tactic Hamilton used to win in Hungary.

Albon suspects there might be a chance for teams to do the same on Sunday. “I think the degradation is going to be quite high tomorrow,” he said. “Hopefully that opens up the strategy a bit and or there’s more than just the one stop from previous races.”

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Qualifying times in full

DriverCarQ1

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Charles LeclercFerrari1’38.0141’36.650 (-1.364)1’36.217 (-0.433)
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.5651’36.933 (-0.632)1’36.408 (-0.525)
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’38.3741’36.720 (-1.654)1’36.437 (-0.283)
4Max VerstappenRed Bull1’38.5401’37.089 (-1.451)1’36.813 (-0.276)
5Valtteri BottasMercedes1’37.3171’37.142 (-0.175)1’37.146 (+0.004)
6Alexander AlbonRed Bull1’39.1061’37.865 (-1.241)1’37.411 (-0.454)
7Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren1’38.8821’37.982 (-0.900)1’37.818 (-0.164)
8Daniel RicciardoRenault1’39.3621’38.399 (-0.963)1’38.095 (-0.304)
9Nico HulkenbergRenault1’39.0011’38.580 (-0.421)1’38.264 (-0.316)
10Lando NorrisMcLaren1’38.6061’37.572 (-1.034)1’38.329 (+0.757)
11Sergio PerezRacing Point1’39.9091’38.620 (-1.289)
12Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo1’39.2721’38.697 (-0.575)
13Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1’39.0851’38.699 (-0.386)
14Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo1’39.4541’38.858 (-0.596)
15Kevin MagnussenHaas1’39.9421’39.650 (-0.292)
16Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’39.957
17Lance StrollRacing Point1’39.979
18Romain GrosjeanHaas1’40.277
19George RussellWilliams1’40.867
20Robert KubicaWilliams1’41.186

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Charles Leclerc26.211 (1)37.127 (2)32.879 (3)
Lewis Hamilton26.442 (3)37.132 (3)32.834 (1)
Sebastian Vettel26.334 (2)37.089 (1)33.014 (5)
Max Verstappen26.664 (5)37.174 (4)32.859 (2)
Valtteri Bottas26.500 (4)37.294 (5)32.988 (4)
Alexander Albon26.801 (8)37.513 (6)33.097 (6)
Carlos Sainz Jnr26.707 (6)37.557 (7)33.486 (9)
Daniel Ricciardo26.910 (9)37.637 (9)33.548 (11)
Nico Hulkenberg26.937 (10)37.723 (10)33.604 (12)
Lando Norris26.756 (7)37.617 (8)33.199 (7)
Sergio Perez27.036 (12)38.021 (14)33.515 (10)
Antonio Giovinazzi26.959 (11)37.967 (13)33.750 (13)
Pierre Gasly27.201 (15)37.876 (11)33.434 (8)
Kimi Raikkonen27.118 (14)37.911 (12)33.822 (15)
Kevin Magnussen27.057 (13)38.392 (15)33.998 (16)
Daniil Kvyat27.510 (18)38.604 (17)33.809 (14)
Lance Stroll27.230 (16)38.477 (16)34.123 (17)
Romain Grosjean27.256 (17)38.647 (18)34.235 (18)
George Russell27.513 (19)38.957 (19)34.386 (19)
Robert Kubica27.593 (20)39.054 (20)34.539 (20)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari308.3 (191.6)
2Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenRenault308.3 (191.6)-0.0
3Charles LeclercFerrariFerrari308.3 (191.6)-0.0
4Nico HulkenbergRenaultRenault307.0 (190.8)-1.3
5Daniel RicciardoRenaultRenault306.2 (190.3)-2.1
6Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes306.2 (190.3)-2.1
7Valtteri BottasMercedesMercedes306.1 (190.2)-2.2
8Lando NorrisMcLarenRenault306.0 (190.1)-2.3
9Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoFerrari305.5 (189.8)-2.8
10Sergio PerezRacing PointMercedes304.0 (188.9)-4.3
11Alexander AlbonRed BullHonda303.8 (188.8)-4.5
12Kevin MagnussenHaasFerrari303.8 (188.8)-4.5
13Kimi RaikkonenAlfa RomeoFerrari303.6 (188.6)-4.7
14Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari303.3 (188.5)-5.0
15George RussellWilliamsMercedes302.9 (188.2)-5.4
16Pierre GaslyToro RossoHonda302.7 (188.1)-5.6
17Lance StrollRacing PointMercedes302.6 (188.0)-5.7
18Max VerstappenRed BullHonda302.6 (188.0)-5.7
19Daniil KvyatToro RossoHonda301.5 (187.3)-6.8
20Robert KubicaWilliamsMercedes300.6 (186.8)-7.7

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Drivers remaining tyre compounds

DriverTeamHardMediumSoft
NewUsedNewUsedNewUsed
Lewis HamiltonMercedes100104
Valtteri BottasMercedes100104
Sebastian VettelFerrari101004
Charles LeclercFerrari101004
Max VerstappenRed Bull101004
Alexander AlbonRed Bull101004
Daniel RiccairdoRenault101004
Nico HulkenbergRenault101004
Kevin MagnussenHaas101014
Romain GrosjeanHaas101032
Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren101004
Lando NorrisMcLaren101004
Sergio PerezRacing Point101014
Lance StrollRacing Point101032
Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo101014
Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo101014
Daniil KvyatToro Rosso101032
Pierre GaslyToro Rosso101014
George RussellWilliams102022
Robert KubicaWilliams102013

Over to you

Will Leclerc take his third win in a row? Could Mercedes or Red Bull turn out to be stronger over a race distance?

Share your views on the Singapore Grand Prix in the comments.

2019 Singapore Grand Prix

[catlist id=21518 numberposts=5]Browse all 2019 Singapore Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on ““Ferrari’s shocked everyone”: Can Leclerc make it three-in-a-row?”

  1. Will be interesting to see if the Ferrari has any race pace or whether they just setup for qualifying.

  2. Just amazing. We will see.

  3. I am generally defending Vettel and that his driving style does not suit the Ferrari. I think he is a great driver, no one wins 4 wdc and is incompetent. I have recently realized that Hamilton is amazing. Rosberg is amazing, he did beat Hamilton. Verstappen and LeCrerc are two I’m keeping my eye for the future. Both seems to just not have enough luck for their cars to be consistent. A part of me thinks formula 1 would be way more competitive if Hamilton wasn’t in the mix.

    1. Reasonably important when considering past WDC successes. The calibre of the opposition in those various years. Michael Schumacher’s great run of victories, were all when there was close to zero opposition form the other teams. SV’s successes very much like wise. SV has a fragile ego is beyond doubt. Charles Leclerc has shown his true talent now. After Ferrari stopped manipulating him in favour of Seb.

      1. “All when there was close to zero opposition?” Schumacher won the championship several times in a car that was not the fastest of the field. 2001, 2002, 2004, yes, Ferrari had the quickest car. That was why the results in those years, especially 2002 and 2004, were staggering. Michael won without the best car. With the best car, being the best driver, he was untouchable.

        1. @brolloks True, even in 2001 the car wasn’t faster than the McLaren or Williams, only more reliable. The McLaren chassis was better than the Ferrari chassis, while the BMW engine was more powerful than the Ferrari engine. The opposition was quite strong in fact.

      2. Manipulation yes. I don’t trust it one bit that Leclerc is being managed by the Todt family. Absolutely morally questionnable

    2. Leclerc and Versttapen are more talented than others.

  4. The guy is taking huge steps and the role of a leader in the team, you’d never believe he’s only in his early 20’s and beating a team mate who’s a four-time world champion. Even though he replaced Kimi (note: and I don’t have any hard feelings from it, because it was a right move from Ferrari), I’ve really grown to like Charles, not only because of his talent but also due to his feet-on-the-ground attitude and that he won’t shift blame from his mistakes onto others. Three-way battle between Hamilton, Verstappen and Leclerc in future seasons… man, I just hope that it will really happen.

    Also, if Charles wins today, he’s taken his first three wins from three consecutive Grands Prix, similar to Damon Hill (1993 Hungarian GP – 1993 Italian GP) and Mika Häkkinen (1997 European GP – 1998 Brazilian GP). Has any other driver(s) achieved that?

  5. Isn’t it great to see some shocks at the front. Hopefully we’ll see some of the best racing in years for the remainder of this season.

    Things are looking good for 2020 although I can’t imagine Mercedes will be standing still on the development front.

  6. Will Leclerc take his third win in a row? – I hope so.
    Could Mercedes or Red Bull turn out to be stronger over a race distance? – Yes, possibly.

  7. If you look at the comparison between Leclerc’s and Hamilton’s lap, you can see that Ferrari caught up a lot in slow and possibly also in medium-speed corners.

    There are 20 “real” corners (19 if you take out the final turn) in Singapore and Mercedes is “just” faster on 11 of them, Ferrari on 9 (or 8 without the final one).

    Mercedes still holds an advantage, but it’s far less than it has been so far this season and that’s a positive sign not only for this race, but also for the races to come.
    More downforce will also help Ferrari keep their tyres in better shape and increase their chances for a win.

    The real test comes at Soči and Suzuka. The 4th gear medium-speed corners at Soči will test their aero-package even more than Singapore did and the long-radius-corners of Suzuka aka “Mercedesland” is gonna be the ultimate aero-performance indicator.

  8. Is that Ferrari still burning some oil?

    1. mercedes are king of burning oil.

  9. Easy win for Leclerc coming up, assuming he can get away and retain his lead at the start. Nobody will be able to overtake a Ferrari around here.

Comments are closed.