After a week off, F1 heads to Southeast Asia for the penultimate street race of the year: the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at Marina Bay.
This is the “F1 Home of Night Racing” with lights out at 8 pm local time and start time at 8 am ET (5 am PT) Sunday morning on ESPN here in the US.
New to the track configuration in 2023 is the elimination of four corners at NS Square, which will increase overtaking opportunities compared to previous years.
This will be only the 14th edition of the Singapore Grand Prix on the calendar and the second in the last four years.
Last year, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari took pole position and finished the race in second place. Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. started on the second row in fourth and finished one place up in third. Sergio Pérez crossed the checkered flag in 2022, winning the race from second place on the grid.
Saturday’s F1 Singapore GP qualifying was a continuation of Ferrari’s dominant start to the weekend. The mostly canceled duo of Leclerc and Sainz topped all three practice sessions, finishing first and second in FP1 and FP2.
Sainz finished first in FP3 and took pole position for the second consecutive race (he finished third in the Italian GP).
Sainz led Q2 with a lap time of 1:31.439 and won pole position with a time of 1:30.984.
The biggest story of qualifying was what happened to Max Verstappen and Red Bull. Neither Verstappen nor Pérez managed to get out of Q2 and will start 11th and 13th, respectively, on the grid.
Verstappen was clearly frustrated with his car throughout the session as he slid all over the track and appeared to not have the grip he had enjoyed all season so far. He finished with only the ninth-fastest time in Q1, while his lap time of 1:32.173 was not good enough to advance from Q2.
F1 Singapore Grand Prix Picks
Will history repeat itself for Charles Leclerc?
The best predictor of future results is past results, or so they say. Although no two situations are ever the same, there are many things that can be learned by looking back.
It’s certainly not the end of predicting how Sunday’s racing will end. The pro tip of the day is to pay attention to past trends and results.
Since becoming a Ferrari driver in 2019, Charles Leclerc has appeared and demonstrated at the Marina Bay street circuit. The Singapore GP was removed from the reduced 2020 calendar and again in 2021, but returned last year. In both 2019 and 2022, Leclerc qualified on pole and finished in P2 each time.
Do any of these second places affect this year’s race? Of course not. Can they help show a pattern of success and factor into your analysis? Definitely yes.
On Friday, Leclerc led the field during FP1 with the best time of the session, 1:33.350. Later that day, he set the second fastest time, just 0.018 seconds behind his teammate in FP2. Although things weren’t stellar early in qualifying, he returned in Q3 to post the third-fastest time with a 1:31.063.
While it is not out of the question for Charles Leclerc to jump two places and win the race on Sunday, I think he can repeat the final results of the last two races in Singapore and finish with at least P2.
The choice: Charles Leclerc – Finish in the top 2 (1 unit, +200 at bet365)
AlphaTauri Team Showdown
Scuderia AlphaTauri has had a breakneck season and is currently in last place in the Constructors’ World Championship standings.
They are the only team on the grid to have made driver changes this season, benching Nyck de Vries after 10 races and turning to Daniel Ricciardo.
Unfortunately, the veteran driver suffered multiple fractures to his hand and the second seat passed to Liam Lawson for the time being.
Third-year driver Yuki Tsunoda has been the team’s only constant this season. He is also the only AlphaTauri driver to score points, finishing in 10th place on three separate occasions this season.
I like a matchup here, with rookie Liam Lawson qualifying 10th and Tsunoda starting 15th. I see a lot of value in taking Tsunoda more money to finish ahead of his teammate on Sunday.
As for his fastest lap times over the weekend, Tsunoda was faster than Lawson in FP1, FP3 and Q1 during qualifying. He was the fastest driver on the grid, finishing with a 1:31.991 in Q1. If it wasn’t for him locking up at Turn 14 of Q2, he probably would have qualified for Q3 ahead of Lawson.
With both Red Bull cars starting between Lawson and Tsunoda, it is very likely that they will pass Lawson early in the race, leaving only two cars between the AlphaTauri teammates. I like the value of Tsunoda finishing ahead of Lawson, he has posted faster times all weekend and has years of experience with the young Kiwi driver.
The choice: Yuki Tsunoda over Liam Lawson (1 unit, +110 at bet365)
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