Charles Leclerc admits he was taking big risks during the “crazy” lap that secured him pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite taking pole position at each of the last two races, Ferrari was not expected to be strong in Singapore due to the nature of the circuit, with a dependence on high downforce. Friday practice backed up that theory, but after topping FP3 Leclerc was then able to secure pole position by 0.2s from Lewis Hamilton with a stunning final Q3 effort.
“It was quite a crazy lap,” Leclerc said. “The first one I compromised it — I started the lap too close to Lewis. I compromised the second sector, so then there was quite a bit of pressure to perform on the last lap.
“I gave it all — there were quite a bit of mistakes. I lost the car a few times and I could see myself in the wall at least two or three times in the lap. But it felt amazing. The car was great. Friday was a very difficult day for me, so to come here and do the pole position feels absolutely amazing.”
Leclerc admitted he did not foresee such a competitive performance in Singapore, where Mercedes and Red Bull were expected to be closely matched.
“Very surprised (by the pace) because even though we knew that there were was a bit more to come we didn’t expect to challenge Mercedes or Red Bull. 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.”
Despite taking his third pole position in a row, Leclerc says he’s already thinking about the challenge Ferrari will face on Sunday, seeing an opportunity to win a third straight race on a track where it is difficult to overtake.
“It feels great, but you enjoy for a very short time qualifying, because then you need to focus on the race and there are no points for pole, which is a shame. It’s great to see we are on pole on a track like this where we expected to struggle. But on the other hand, personally I’m just focusing on pole now and I’m very happy if I will be in the same position tomorrow.”