Barrichello crashes as Hamilton takes pole

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton took his third pole position of the season in Singapore, as title contender Rubens Barrichello brought an early end to qualifying following a crash.

The Brawn GP driver, who had a gearbox change before the session, held fifth on the provisional grid before shunting heavily against the barriers at turn five. With the penalty applied, the Brazilian will start the Singapore Grand Prix in tenth, just two places ahead of his team-mate Jenson Button.

Series leader Button seemed to be struggling with a lack of balance in the BGP-001, with understeer his main complaint. To qualify outside the top ten at this crucial point of the season was not ideal and it will be interesting if he can avoid trouble on the opening laps following this low grid position. The last time Button started a race in the mid-field resulted in a retirement at Spa-Francorchamps.

Sebastian Vettel kept his and Red Bull Racing’s title hopes alive as he joined Hamilton on the front row. The German will be particular encouraged as his title rivals from the Brawn squad could only manage P10 and P12 on the grid.

Nico Rosberg achieved his career-best qualifying result with third for Williams. He even set the quickest lap time of the weekend around the demanding 3.148-mile street circuit with one minute, 46.197 seconds – which was set in Q2.

Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber completes the second row, with last year’s winner Fernando Alonso fifth for Renault followed by the Toyota of Timo Glock.

The BMW Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica take up row four, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren.

As for Ferrari, the team predicted it will be a difficult weekend and so it proved as Kimi Raikkonen could only manage P13 while Giancarlo Fisichella continues to struggle with P18 the best he could achieve. This result marked the first time all season that the Scuderia had failed to get into the top ten.

Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) and Jarno Trulli (Toyota) were both a long way off their respective team-mates and ended up P11 and P15 respectively.

The return to a high downforce circuit meant the end of the fairytale for Force India. After recent front row performances, the team had to settle for P16 and P20 for Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi.

Sebastien Buemi was the only one of the three rookies to get into Q2, taking a solid P14. His Toro Rosso team-mate Jaime Alguersuari will start three places behind, while Romain Grosjean’s troubled weekend continues with issues over his brakes. The Renault driver will start his first night-time Grand Prix in a disappointing P19.

Qualifying times from Singapore:

1.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1:47.891
2.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1:48.204
3.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       1:48.348
4.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      1:48.722
5.  Alonso       Renault               1:49.054
6.  Glock        Toyota                1:49.180
7.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            1:49.307
8.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            1:49.514
9.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      1:49.778
10  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        1:48.828*
11. Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       1:47.013
12. Button       Brawn-Mercedes        1:47.141
13. Raikkonen    Ferrari               1:47.177
14. Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:47.369
15. Trulli       Toyota                1:47.413
16. Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1:48.231
17. Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:48.340
18. Fisichella   Ferrari               1:48.350
19. Grosjean     Renault               1:48.544
20. Liuzzi       Force India-Mercedes  1:48.792

*Five-place grid penalty after changing a gearbox

5 thoughts to “Barrichello crashes as Hamilton takes pole”

  1. The top three drivers’ views on qualifying. Articles taken from

    Lewis Hamilton praised his McLaren team after giving him a car to claim his third pole position of the season ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

    The Briton was unhappy with the handling of his car yesterday, but the team changed the chassis for today after having to work hard overnight.

    Hamilton made good use of the change and finished on top of the times for his 16th career pole.

    “Fantastic. I’m very happy and pleased for the team,” said Hamilton. “Throughout the weekend we came with updates, but so did everyone else and didn’t know where we would be.

    “Friday practice was not spectacular for me, but I came here today with a positive approach and a big thanks to the guys. They worked until 10am this morning rebuilding the car.

    “We had some problems so had to change the chassis. They stayed up in the garage today in this humidity. They did a great job and I’m pleased to do this for them.”

    The McLaren driver, who benefited from an early finish to the session after a crash from Rubens Barrichello, said that he hadn’t pushed that hard on his pole lap.

    “The lap was really, very relaxed,” he said. “The car over the weekend has got better and better as the circuit got gripper.

    “I was feeling more comfortable in the car. The lap was really very relaxed and I was able to go faster so I am quite happy. We will see what happens with the strategies.”

    He added: “I think the track, they tried to improve it and make it a bit less bumpy, it is not as bad as last year but still bumpy, it is not a problem, gives it a bit of character, I thoroughly enjoy driving it.

    “I said I would be back to try and redeem myself, and hopefully this is the first step.”

    Sebastian Vettel is unsure of whether he will be able to challenge for victory in Singapore tomorrow despite qualifying on the front row of the grid for the first time since the German GP in July.

    The 22-year-old, who still has an outside chance of winning the championship despite lying 26 points behind leader Jenson Button, said that he was relieved to be back at the front of the field.

    “I don’t know, none of us can answer this question,” said Vettel of his expectations for the race. “The first run in qualifying was very important but unfortunately then the red flag came out.

    “At the end of the day, it is great to be back. Qualifying on a street circuit is very important and it’s good to be back in front. We will see what happens with the weights now.”

    Vettel added that he was pleased with the balance of his Red Bull-Renault RB5 after the team tried several upgrades for the first time on Friday.

    “The car is very good and I’m feeling very comfortable,” said Vettel. “We brought some stuff that seems to work.

    “Tomorrow will be a long race. It’s 61 laps so it will be warm in the car but we have all that it takes. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

    Nico Rosberg was very happy with his best qualifying position of the season after securing a place on the second row of the grid for tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix.

    “It has been a really good day,” said the Williams driver, second in the night race last season.

    “The start of the weekend was a bit difficult and all our engineers together worked very well.

    “We made some big changes to the set-up and it improved the car a lot. It helped us be quicker.

    “We weren’t sure we would get into Q3 because of getting the soft tyre to work. In Q2 I got a fantastic lap and Q3 was fantastic too.”

    The German, whose team struggled for competitive pace at Spa and Monza, was delighted to be back on form.

    “It is the way it is,” he added. “For Spa and Monza we take completely different race cars. It is a completely different car and now we get back the car we had prior to those races and we were finishing fourth and fifth.

    “We have put a chunk of time into the package and we have developed very rapidly. Ii is enjoyable at the moment. I am pleased we have made another step for podium finishes and, who knows, maybe we can fight for a win soon.”

  2. Brawn GP team principal Ross Brawn described the team’s qualifying performance as “disastrous” after Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button qualified 10th and 12th for the Singapore Grand Prix.

    Button was knocked out in Q2, while Barrichello ended up fifth after bringing the session to an early halt by crashing.

    He has also had to take a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox after just two races.

    “It was a disastrous sessions,” Brawn told BBC Sport. “We underestimated the competition in Q2 and used one set of old tyres and then one new set and we didn’t get the car balanced well on the new set.

    “We were perilously close to losing both cars in Q2. Q3 wasn’t bad when you see the fuel weights, but it topped off a bad session for us.

    “It’s not a great day for the championship. We’ll have to tough it out and try and see what we can recover tomorrow.”

    Brawn confirmed that the gearbox change on Barrichello’s car had been made as a precaution.

    Despite being used in both the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix, the unit suffered an over-torque at the start at Spa, with tests at the team’s Brackley base suggesting that it could have problems if used in tomorrow’s race.

    “We’ve been running a gearbox on the dyno at the factory in parallel and we saw some worrying signs when it got up to its third race. It’s quite a hard track on gearboxes although I’m not sure that one survive because it hit the wall pretty hard.”


  3. Fernando Alonso is not ruling out fighting for a place on the podium at the Singapore Grand Prix after qualifying in fifth position.

    The Renault driver admitted, however, that his main priority will be to score points in order to help his team in the standings.

    “First of all we will try to finish the race in the top five, which is the main priority, to keep scoring points,” said Alonso, last year’s controversial winner of the race.

    “We are fighting with two or three teams in the constructors’ championship, we are very close in terms of points and it would be nice to score as many points as possible tomorrow.

    “Starting fifth obviously the first target is to finish in the top five, but we know tomorrow there will be mistakes from the drivers, so anything can happen in the race and the podium is quite close as well. We will do our maximum and hopefully finish in the best position.”

    The Spaniard said his car’s handling had been far from ideal, but he is aware that his qualifying position has given him a good advantage considering how hard overtaking will be.

    “Maybe we have more problems than others with the rear end of the car,” Alonso said. “We changed the set-up completely yesterday night to avoid this oversteering we had, and we didn’t improve too much. We will try tonight to get a better car in race pace.

    “But I’m extremely happy with qualifying in fifth position because how difficult it is to overtake here, so starting at the front is crucial and we managed to do a good lap before the red flag. So fifth is very good.”

    Alonso insisted things continued to work as normal in the team following the controversy of the race-fixing scandal.

    “It has been completely normal and everybody is quite focused on the weekend and very motivated to have good results in the remaining races of the championship.

    “We know there’s not going to be improvements for the car, so we know that it’s going to be tough, so we need to maximise our potential in the car and everybody is quite clear on this.”


  4. Jenson Button says he was surprised by his Brawn team’s lack of pace in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix, but the Briton downplayed his earlier comments about the session being disastrous.

    The championship leader was expecting to fight in front after a strong Friday, but instead found himself out of the top ten shootout, down in 12th position.

    Button qualified behind his team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who was fifth fastest but dropped to 10th due to a penalty for changing his gearbox.

    The British driver admitted he was surprised not to be quicker.

    “It’s been a tough and a strange qualifying for us,” Button told reporters. “We’ve had very good pace all weekend and it is strange to not be quick. I don’t even think Rubens was happy with being P5. I think they expected more.

    “So, with the fuel loads that he has on, I don’t know if it is less than the people who are in front of him. We have to wait and see on that one, but he saved a couple of laps by making that mistakes.

    “But this is a circuit where we thought we would be very quick and so far in qualifying we haven’t shown that. It is weird how things go and how races seem. Some races we are very quick and some circuits we struggle more, especially when we get to qualifying. It is the same with the Red Bulls.

    “Mark [Webber] has not scored in the last three races and while Vettel has, it is a lot less than he would have hoped. And they are now back strong. It is very up and down and a unique season for sure.”

    Button said he was at a loss to explain his sudden lack of pace, and was disappointed to have qualified so far behind the Red Bull drivers.

    Sebastian Vettel was second, with Mark Webber in fourth.

    “Suddenly we were struggling a bit more in Q2, so it is difficult to know the reasons for that. Being back in 12th is disappointing,” he said.

    “Rubens is just in front of me because of his gearbox change and probably on quite a bit less fuel, so there is still a lot we can do tomorrow.

    “It is frustrating being so far back, and the Red Bulls are at the front. They still have a chance of challenging us in the championship, so we’ve made it very difficult for ourselves. That is all I have to say.”

    Despite Vettel being 26 points behind him in the standings, Button reckons the Red Bull drivers are still in contention for the championship.

    “A threat? Yes I think so,” he said. “It is so up and down that it is really hard to predict who is going to be quick where. I said it was disastrous in an early interview when I got out of the car but that was emotion really. It is not disastrous.

    “It is not perfect being back in 12th position, which makes it very difficult to score points here, and the Red Bulls from where they are can have a good race. It will be very difficult for them to beat Lewis, and I think Rosberg will be very quick also. It will not be a walk in the park for them for sure. It is good to see other cars are competitive.”


  5. From the 2009 season, the FIA is making public the weights of the cars, with their fuel load included, following Saturday’s qualifying session.

    Below is the weight of each car following qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix, sorted by qualifying position.

    Pos Driver Weight (kg)
    1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 660.5
    2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 651.0
    3. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 657.5
    4. Webber Red Bull-Renault 654.5
    5. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 655.5
    6. Alonso Renault 658.0
    7. Glock Toyota 660.5
    8. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 650.0
    9. Kubica BMW-Sauber 664.0
    10. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 664.5
    11. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 680.7
    12. Button Brawn-Mercedes 683.0
    13. Raikkonen Ferrari 680.5
    14. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 678.0
    15. Trulli Toyota 690.9
    16. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 693.0
    17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 683.5
    18. Fisichella Ferrari 678.5
    19. Grosjean Renault 683.0
    20. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 656.0

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