Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez encountered an unexpected struggle during practice sessions, reflecting an uncharacteristic lack of speed that continued into the qualifying rounds, placing both drivers in the mid-pack. Surprisingly, Red Bull remained the sole competitive team in the 2023 race weekend, with Ferrari emerging as a formidable contender, notably with Sainz dominating most sessions since Friday.
Qualifying commenced with drivers vying for track positions, resulting in multiple FIA citations for potential impeding infringements, which may impact the final grid for Sunday's race. Track evolution played a pivotal role, progressively enhancing lap times. Tsunoda initially set a scorching pace, but a late-session yellow flag, caused by Lance Stroll's dramatic crash, disrupted Piastri's attempt to secure a Q2 spot.
Stroll's monumental crash at the last corner caused session-ending yellow flags, leaving several drivers unable to set a final lap, leading to eliminations including Bottas, Piastri, Sargeant, Zhou, and Stroll. Q2 witnessed significant track evolution, resulting in faster lap times. However, Red Bull faced unexpected issues, with both drivers expressing concerns about driveability. Perez's late-session spin triggered yellow flags, hampering various drivers' laps, leading to Verstappen's Q2 exit.
Ferraris dominated early Q3, while Russell briefly challenged Sainz for pole position. Despite a strong performance, Russell settled for P2, followed by Leclerc in P3, with the top 10 rounded up by Norris, Hamilton, Magnussen, Alonso, Ocon, and debutant Lawson.
Stay tuned for potential grid changes pending stewards' investigations into Q1 incidents ahead of the 14th Singapore Grand Prix, commencing at 8 pm, spanning a race distance of 306.143 km. The increased lap count of 62 promises an electrifying Sunday evening showdown!
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