2023 Singapore GP Qualifying: The most unpredictable F1 race of 2023?

Jay Tee

Both Ferraris on the podium, both Red Bulls out in Q2 and Lance Stroll crashing out in Q1, this may just be the most dramatic qualifying session in Singapore’s F1 history.

Photos: Jay Tee and Singapore GP Pte Ltd.


It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions for drivers, teams and fans alike. Dramatic crashes and surprise knockouts are par the course for any F1 race on a street circuit, but yesterday evening’s qualifying session was unlike any other we’ve seen this season.

The qualifying session, which began at 9 pm, saw both Alfa Romeo drivers (Zhou and Bottas) get knocked out in Q1, along with Logan Sargeant of Williams and Oscar Piastri of McLaren. 

In a surprising turn of events, it was AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda who clocked the fastest lap of Q1, while reserve driver Liam Lawson managed an impressive fourth place in the same session. It’s worth noting that this is Lawson’s third F1 Grand Prix after Daniel Ricciardo’s wrist injury during the Dutch Grand Prix put him out of commission.

Lance Stroll coming out of the damaged AMR23 (Copyright: Singapore GP Pte Ltd.)

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who was eager to get himself back in the running for Q2 lost control of the AMR23 coming out of the final corner and had a massive shunt into the barriers – bringing out the red flag. Thankfully, he was able to climb out unassisted as Q1 came to an end.

UPDATE: Lance Stroll will be sitting out of the 2023 Singapore GP following his crash

Max Verstappen, with 364 points under his belt in the world driver’s championship (WDC), has enough points to lead the constructor’s championship on his own. But after three free practice sessions plagued with gearbox issues and an overall lack of pace, finds himself qualifying for the race in 11th place with fellow Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez two places behind in 13th.

Left to right: George Russell, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz placed himself on pole position after a stunning show of speed and ability, clocking a time of 1:30.984 around the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Q3. George Russell, who was equally impressive around the street circuit was a mere 0.072s behind the Spaniard, and Charles Leclerc claimed the third spot on the grid with a time of 1:31.063.

Copyright: Singapore GP Pte Ltd.

Lando Norris of McLaren bags P4 on the grid – a position he claimed was on the “bad side of the grid”, preferring to have qualified 3rd or 5th. Coming in P5 is Lewis Hamilton.

Copyright: Singapore GP Pte Ltd.

As if the pecking order for the top 10 places on the grid wasn’t bizarre enough, both Haas drivers found themselves getting into Q3 – with Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg placing themselves P6 and P9 respectively. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso gets into P7, while Esteban Ocon of the Alpine F1 team (and Alonso’s former teammate) puts himself in P8 and AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson finishes Q3 in 10th after Hulkenberg.

Copyright: Singapore GP Pte Ltd.

Given the current standings, the Dutch reigning champion’s chances of extending his winning streak seems to be a foregone conclusion. If you were to cast your mind back to the 2022 SG Grand Prix, you’d remember that Verstappen failed to place himself on pole during qualifying and finished the race in 7th.

That being said, this isn’t Max or Sergio’s lowest qualifying position. Verstappen qualified 15th during the second race of the season and ended the race in 2nd, while the Mexican driver qualified 15th in the Austrian GP and managed to get himself up to 3rd by the conclusion of the race.

Will the Singapore Grand Prix tonight see Red Bull’s consecutive 15-race winning streak (and Verstappen’s 10-race winning streak) come to an end? Will we see Ferrari finally win a race in 2023? Will Mercedes or McLaren put themselves on the podium tonight? Or will Verstappen defy all odds and win the Singapore Grand Prix?

Only time will tell as the lights go out at 8:00 pm tonight. Keep your eyes peeled.


F1 Formula 1 formula1 singapore grand prix

About the Author

Jay Tee

A millennial with the mental age of a quadragenarian, CarBuyer's latest stringer writes and talks about anything with four wheels and a motor. Doesn't fully get TikTok, makes TikToks anyway. Moonlights for TopGear Singapore. Follow him on Instagram (and TikTok) at @jayyteejy

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