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Confident Vettel takes pole in Singapore

Sebastian Vettel on his way to taking pole position in Singapore (Image: Pirelli)

Sebastian Vettel on his way to taking pole position in Singapore (Image: Pirelli)

Sebastian Vettel was so confident after his first run in the final part of today’s qualfiying session, he decided not to go back out on fresh tyres and instead watched from the garage as the other drivers attempted unsuccessfully to beat his early lap time.

It almost went horribly wrong for Vettel. In the dying moments of the Q3 session Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean all delivered strong lap times that secured each of them a top four grid slot, but they didn’t quite have the pace to knock Vettel off the top spot. As a result, Vettel will start this weekend’s race from pole position, his fifth pole of the season and the 41st of his career.

The top five drivers are not much of a surprise, although behind Vettel the order would have been quite difficult to predict. Vettel, Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton have been in the top few places in each practice session this weekend. Grosjean struggled on Friday but showed his pace when he was second fastest in final practice. The big surprise of qualifying came from Kimi Raikkonen, who failed to make Q3 and will start Sunday’s race from 13th on the grid.

Raikkonen’s woes started on Friday, when he hurt his back on the bumpy street circuit. In Saturday’s FP3 session, his running was limited by his back pain, which hurt his qualifying preparation. After having an injection for the pain, he was in the car for qualifying, but struggled to maximise the car’s potential. For Sunday’s race, he will be in the car, but it remains to be seen how well he will do at a very physical track while in a state of discomfort.

Fernando Alonso was outqualified by Felipe Massa for the fifth time this season and the second race in succession. Massa will start sixth, just behind Lewis Hamilton, with Alonso following in seventh place. The battle of the Ferrari drivers could prove entertaining tomorrow, as Massa has stated publicly that he no longer intends to help Alonso now that he is out of a drive at Ferrari at the end of this season. Only once this year has Massa finished ahead of Alonso in a race, and that was in Malaysia where Alonso crashed out.

This qualifying session marked the first time Esteban Gutierrez has featured in Q3 in his F1 career. He opted not to run in Q3 in order to save tyres and have a choice of tyres on which to start the race, but nonetheless qualified 10th, improving on his previous best of 14th. Gutierrez has yet to score points in Formula One, and will be keen to break that duck in tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Full results from qualifying:

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:45.376 1:42.905 1:42.841
2 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:45.208 1:43.892 1:42.932
3 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:45.851 1:43.957 1:43.058
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:45.271 1:43.727 1:43.152
5 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:44.196 1:43.920 1:43.254
6 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:45.658 1:44.376 1:43.890
7 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:45.115 1:44.153 1:43.938
8 5 Jenson Button McLaren 1:45.009 1:44.497 1:44.282
9 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:45.379 1:44.407 1:44.439
10 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:45.483 1:44.245
11 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:45.381 1:44.555
12 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:45.657 1:44.588
13 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:45.522 1:44.658
14 6 Sergio Perez McLaren 1:45.164 1:44.752
15 15 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:45.960 1:45.185
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:45.982 1:45.388
17 14 Paul di Resta Force India 1:46.121
18 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:46.619
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham 1:48.111
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:48.320
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:48.830
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia 1:48.930
Q1 107% Time 1:51.489
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About Chris Cameron-Dow

I'm fanatical about racing. Driving, watching, following, analysing, everything.

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