Charles Leclerc says landing pole position for Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix comes as a “big surprise” for Ferrari.

The Scuderia arrived in Singapore braced for a difficult weekend at a track, which on paper at least, did not appear best-suited to its SF90 challenger, with Mercedes and Red Bull expected to fight it out for pole and the win.

Both Leclerc and teammate Sebastian Vettel were off the pace on Friday but the pair turned things around by qualifying as Leclerc stunned the field to claim his third consecutive pole and fifth of 2019.

Reflecting on his final lap of Q3, Leclerc said: “It was quite a crazy lap. 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 my all, there was quite a bit of mistakes, I lost the car a few times and I see myself in the wall at least twice or three times in the lap.

“But it felt amazing and the car was great. Friday was a very difficult day for me, so to come here and do the pole position feels absolutely amazing.

“I’m very surprised because even though we knew that there were was a bit more to come we didn’t expect to challenge Mercedes or Red Bull,” he added.

“It’s quite a surprise for the whole team but it proves how good of a they’ve done back at the factory and here, so it’s thanks to them they’re on pole.”

Ferrari brought a revised aerodynamic package to Singapore and Leclerc felt the upgrade was instrumental in the team being able to challenge for pole after car tweaks made on Friday ultimately paid off.

“Performance-wise it seems that it’s working and I think data-wise for the engineers it is working too,” he explained.

“I think from Hungary to now we’ve understood also the car better, we know the balance we need to achieve to have the best performance and I think that also shows on track.

“So I think it is a combination of knowing where the balance needs to be and the improvements we made on the car.”

 

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