Liam Lawson made his first career Q3 appearance on his way to qualifying tenth for Monday morning’s Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
With his family at the track in support, Lawson out-qualified the likes of two-time world champion Max Verstappen, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda.
Red Bull’s struggles on the Marina Bay street circuit continued to show in qualifying, with both Verstappen and Perez knocked out in Q2.
Carlos Sainz will begin the race from pole, topping Mercedes’ George Russell by 0.072 seconds in Q3. Russell prevented a Ferrari front-row lockout by topping Charles Leclerc by just 0.007 seconds.
Lando Norris, running a massive upgrade package for McLaren, rounds out the second row, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen on row three.
Fernando Alonso got the better of Esteban Ocon for seventh, while Lawson has the experienced hands of Nico Hulkenberg for company on the fifth row.
Lawson qualified for Q2 by going fourth fastest in Q1 after the session was called to a premature end for a massive Lance Stroll impact on the final corner.
Rapid track evolution saw all 20 cars on-track at the time, with traffic a problem for several competitors.
The delays saw Stroll work his way forward in the queue before commencing his lap, which ended when he spun on the final corner’s kerb. He would spin into the barriers and hit them head on, rotating several times before his mangled car came to a stop on pit straight. A trailing Oscar Piastri did well to avoid collecting the wrecked Aston Martin.
Stroll emerged unharmed from the incident but was taken to the on-site medical centre due to the intenseness of the impact.
The resulting red flag ruined the final laps of many of the trailing competitors, including Piastri who was confined to 17th. Also eliminated in Q1 were Guanyu Zhou, Logan Sargeant, Valtteri Bottas and Stroll.
A lengthy delay was required for car retrieval and significant barrier repairs.
Lawson’s final Q2 lap was one that will be shown over the remainder of the weekend, with the Kiwi out-qualifying Verstappen by 0.007 seconds to progress to Q3.
Further compounding Red Bull’s misery in Q2 was a late spin for Perez, who joined Verstappen in the bottom ten.
Lawson’s AlphaTauri teammate Yuki Tsunoda faced difficulties in setting a competitive lap due to traffic and was eliminated without doing so. Tsunoda had been on track for a good run early in Q2 but was compromised by a slow Verstappen, who may find himself in trouble for impeding.
Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon also failed to progress to Q3.
Lawson’s final lap of Q3 was his best, 1.284 seconds off the pole-setting time of Sainz, which came on his last run.
The Singapore Grand Prix begins at 12.00 am on Monday morning.
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