The 2023 Singapore Grand Prix may be impacted by changeable weather conditions, as the chance of rain looms over Sunday’s race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
The threat of wet conditions hovered over Saturday’s qualifying as well, though in the end, the storm clouds managed to hold off as the drivers battled it out in what was a thrilling session.
Carlos Sainz came out on top and will start the race from pole position, his second in a row after thrilling the Tifosi at Monza.
An all-Ferrari front row looked to be in the cards when Charles Leclerc crossed the line second, only for Mercedes’ George Russell to split the Scuderia.
Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton round out the top five, but the big talking point happened further down the field.
Red Bull, who have won every race so far this season, entered the weekend with a chance to clinch the Constructors’ championship. However, those chances look slim following qualifying, given both cars failed to reach Q3.
Max Verstappen slumped to one of his worst qualifying performance of the season and will start 11th after a late lap from Liam Lawson ended the Dutchman’s day early.
Sergio Perez, who has had plenty of struggles on Saturday this season, couldn’t do any better, with the Mexican settling for the 13th fastest time.
Nevertheless, Sainz isn’t ruling out Red Bull just yet given how they’ve been able to claw back positions on race day so far this season.
“I don’t think you can ever discard Max and Red Bull,” Sainz said to the media. “They might turn up tomorrow with with the race pace they’ve had all season and still managed somehow to make it through the field.
Their charge may also be impacted by the weather, which could change the dynamics of Sunday’s race.
Marina Bay weather
What is certain is that the hot and humid conditions are expected to carry over to Sunday, and drivers can expect a high of 29 degrees Celsius.
As for the rain, it could play a big role in who claims victory. There is a 40% chance of rain from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and that figure increases to 60% through 6 p.m and beyond.
However, the hour before the 8 p.m. start is expected to be dry, meaning that should rain fall before then, the heat and well-draining track may dry up enough by the time the lights turn green if a downpour hits.