Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying Report

Sebastian Vettel took yet another pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix, despite sitting out the final few minutes of qualifying. The defending world champion chose to only complete only flying lap in Q3, but no-one could beat his time, though Nico Rosberg did come within a tenth of a second in his Mercedes. Romain Grosjean took a surprise third place, with Lewis Hamilton in fifth and Fernando Alonso behind his team-mate in seventh.

Q1

The gap between the super-soft and medium tyre compounds was as much as two seconds, forcing most of the cars to use a set of the option tyres in the first part of qualifying. This was not the case for the Red Bulls, who sailed through on the medium tyre. There were no crashes around the tight and twisty circuit in this section, but Giedo van der Garde did give the wall a whack with his right-rear tyre. Felipe Massa left it late to set a decent lap but made it through to Q2 in 13th place. The same could not be said of Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado, who will start in 17th and 18th respectively. There were no major surprises, with the Caterham cars taking 19th and 20th and the Marussias filling the back row.

Q2

All the teams were trying to save sets of the super-soft tyres, with Red Bull, McLaren and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean choosing only to run once in Q2. Vettel put in a spectacular lap, nearly one second faster than anyone else. Kimi Raikkonen had been suffering from back pain so it was not a huge surprise to see him fail to make it through to Q2, and he will start the race from 13th on the grid. Six drivers from six different teams failed to make the cut – Valtteri Bottas from Williams, Adrian Sutil from Force India, Sergio Perez from McLaren, Raikkonen, Toro Rossos’ Jean-Eric Vergne and Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg. This meant that there was a first appearance in the top-ten shootout from Esteban Gutierrez, who has often failed to get out of Q1 this season,

Q3

Vettel went out early and set a benchmark of 1:42.841, the fastest time of the weekend. With just a couple of minutes remaining, he was six tenths of a second faster than anyone else, so he decided not to go out again. His confidence nearly cost him, with Rosberg setting a time 0.091 seconds slower than the Red Bull, with Grosjean a further tenth behind in third. Mark Webber qualified fourth, while Lewis Hamilton was disappointed with fifth. There was a big gap back to the Ferraris, with Felipe Massa again outqualifying team-mate Alonso to start sixth. Jenson Button, Daniel Ricciardo and Gutierrez, who did not set a lap in Q3, complete the top 10.

Grid

Position Driver Team
1 S Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1’42.841
2 N Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1’42.932
3 R Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1’43.058
4 M Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1’43.152
5 LC Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1’43.254
6 F Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1’43.890
7 F Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1’43.938
8 J Button (GBR) McLaren 1’44.282
9 D Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso 1’44.439
10 E Gutiérrez (MEX) Sauber
11 N Hülkenberg (GER) Sauber 1’44.555
12 JE Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1’44.588
13 KM Räikkönen (FIN) Lotus 1’44.658
14 S Perez (MEX) McLaren 1’44.752
15 A Sutil (GER) Force India 1’45.185
16 V Bottas (FIN) Williams 1’45.388
17 P di Resta (GBR) Force India 1’46.121
18 P Maldonado (VEN) Williams 1’46.619
19 C Pic (FRA) Caterham 1’48.111
20 G van der Garde (NED) Caterham 1’48.320
21 J Bianchi (FRA) Marussia 1’48.830
22 M Chilton (GBR) Marussia 1’48.930
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