The Mystery of Singapore qualifying
On the Saturday night at Marina Bay, Ferrari and Red Bull exchanged roles, with the Scuderia securing pole position and third place, while the Anglo-Austrian team struggled to place any car in the top 10. Whose fault was it? Failed updates? The new technical directive? Incorrect setup? Only suspicions, no answers. But for Red Bull, the path to a 15th consecutive victory is extremely steep. Meanwhile, it seems downhill for Ferrari after 25 GPs and 14 months of drought. But keep an eye on George Russell’s Mercedes, in second place, and Norris’s McLaren, in fourth place, as they will put up a fight. The opportunity is unique.
Leo Turrini in the Quotidiano Sportivo: “Ferrari, this time you can believe it. Unbelievable. Ferrari again. Sainz in pole position again. Charles Leclerc again with a bitter smile because the third position on the grid can’t excite Carletto. For the first time in five years, excluding penalties or accidents, both Red Bulls failed to make it into the top 10. No one expected anything like this, not even remotely. What’s happening to Red Bull? Who knows. In Singapore, the FIA introduced regulatory changes regarding wing flexibility. But it’s not believable that this new rule alone could push the dominant team so far back. It’s better to wait for the next race before making a verdict. Well, their problem. Here, we should celebrate Carlos Sainz, who is changing the Ferrari hierarchy.”
Italian journalist Stefano Mancini in La Stampa: “Singa-pole. The ugly duckling turning into a swan is a story that today reminds us so much of Ferrari in pole position in Singapore. But that another swan becomes very ugly on the same day is a story that no one could have imagined. Yet it happens all together in the Italian afternoon, the heart of the night in the Far East. Red Bull is no more, after 14 wins out of 14 GPs, it has melted in the equatorial heat. Ferrari is back on top, showing that the feat in Monza was not a fluke. The goal is to study the right race strategy. Having the Red Bulls out of the game and not taking advantage would be an unforgivable mistake.”
Paolo Rossi in La Repubblica: “Ferrari’s dream. Carlos Sainz in pole, Red Bull’s flop. There was no trickery two weeks ago in Monza. Ferrari was not a bluff and has doubled down on the Singapore circuit. Pardon, on the track: new GP? New pole position. Again with him, Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard who, without too much fanfare, is climbing the paddock’s hit parade. You might ask, what about Verstappen? What about Red Bull? Well, although in Formula 1, the unpredictable is just around the corner, it is conceivable that the world champion’s record of ten consecutive wins will stop here. Red Bull has had its black day. It is unclear whether it was FIA Technical Directive 18 (new aerodynamic rules) that annoyed the team leader’s engineers, but Verstappen and Perez’s performance (so far) this weekend is a nightmare.”
Fulvio Solms in the Corriere dello Sport: “The Prancing Horse’s Move. Carlos Sainz in pole again! The Prancing Horse’s move was Gerhard Berger’s, who prevented McLaren from taking all the wins of the 1988 season in Monza. Today, thirty-five years later, Carlos Sainz has the same chance against Red Bull, because impossible things happened yesterday, one of those delights that only the magic of sport can offer. Ferrari, with these SF-23s in disarray, feared Singapore. But instead, the Reds were incredibly fast and efficient from the start, as soon as they hit the track. Red Bull, which orbits in other galaxies, looked at Singapore as just another bead to move on the abacus. Everything became terribly complicated with the introduction of a new bottom on one of the bounciest tracks in the world.”