Vettel takes Singapore Grand Prix pole

Sebastian Vettel claimed his 49th career pole position in Formula 1, with a electrifying lap around the tight, twisty Singapore Grand Prix street circuit.

Championship leader and rival Lewis Hamilton could only qualify in fifth position, behind a pair of Ferraris and Red Bulls.

Vettel set a time quick enough for pole position on his first run in Q3, during which all drivers used ultrasoft Pirelli compound, with a one minute, 39.669 seconds.

He then survived a light brush of the wall on his second run to improve to a one minute, 39.491 seconds to take pole from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by 0.323 seconds.

Verstappen had set the pace in Q2, but after recording the second quickest time on his first run in Q3 he was unable to improve on his second run.

Daniel Ricciardo was third in the other Red Bull, but could only improve by 0.022 seconds on his second run.

That left Kimi Raikkonen in fourth position, with The Iceman unable to carry his impressive first-sector pace into the second and third sectors of his final lap.

Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both qualified on the fifth row, with the gap between the Mercedes team-mates almost seven tenths of a second.

Nico Hulkenberg was best-of-the rest in seventh for Renault, just ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.

Stoffel Vandoorne was ninth, well ahead of tenth-placed Carlos Sainz.

Renault driver Jolyon Palmer missed out on Q3 after being relegated to P11 by Alonso on the second runs in the second segment of qualifying.

He failed to improve on his second set of tyres in Q2 thanks to a moment in the final corner, which the team suggested over the radio cost him tenth place.

Sergio Perez complained about having “no grip at all” on his second Q2 run and ended up P12 after being unable to improve on his first-run time.

Daniil Kvyat did improve on his second run for Toro Rosso, but only by enough to take P13 ahead of the Force India of Esteban Ocon.

Romain Grosjean, who paid two visits to the Turn 7 escape road in Q1, didn’t post a time on his first run in Q2 and was unable to do better than P15 when he made his second attempt.

Kevin Magnussen was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1 after being relegated to P16 by Hulkenberg’s leap up the order.

Williams driver Felipe Massa was also knocked out in P17 after a difficult session, not posting a serious lap time on his first run after clipping the wall at the exit of Turn 21 and suffering a right-rear puncture

Massa then had a big moment in the fast left-hander final corner on his final flying lap, which ensured any faint hope he had of making Q2 was lost.

Lance Stroll was P18 ahead of Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein, who also had a minor brush with the wall at Turn 21 on his final run.

Marcus Ericsson was last in the second Sauber, and will be given a five-place grid penalty thanks to a gearbox change triggered by damage suffered when he hit the wall during free practice 3.

So an important qualifying session for Sebastian Vettel in terms of the Formula 1 world championship. That was Ferrari’s 212 pole in the sport and with title rival Lewis Hamilton down in fifth, this was the best outcome. Bring on the Singapore Grand Prix!

Qualifying positions, Singapore Grand Prix:

1 Sebastian Vettel      Ferrari     1:39.491
2 Max Verstappen      Red Bull     1:39.814
3 Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull      1:39.840
4 Kimi Raikkonen      Ferrari     1:40.069
5 Lewis Hamilton      Mercedes     1:40.126
6 Valtteri Bottas      Mercedes     1:40.810
7 Nico Hulkenberg      Renault     1:41.013
8 Fernando Alonso      McLaren-Honda     1:41.179
9 Stoffel Vandoorne      McLaren-Honda     1:41.398
10 Carlos Sainz      Toro Rosso-Renault     1:42.056
11 Jolyon Palmer      Renault-Renault     1:42.107
12 Sergio Perez      Force India-Mercedes     1:42.246
13 Daniil Kvyat      Toro Rosso-Renault     1:42.338
14 Esteban Ocon      Force India-Mercedes     1:42.760
15 Romain Grosjean      Haas-Ferrari     1:43.883
16 Kevin Magnussen      Haas-Ferrari     1:43.756
17 Felipe Massa      Williams-Mercedes     1:44.014
18 Lance Stroll      Williams-Mercedes     1:44.728
19 Pascal Wehrlein      Sauber-Ferrari     1:45.059
20 Marcus Ericsson      Sauber-Ferrari     1:45.570

5 thoughts to “Vettel takes Singapore Grand Prix pole”

  1. Singapore Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    For a while in Singapore on Saturday evening it looked as though Max Verstappen was set to become F1’s youngest ever pole sitter. That was until the man who holds that record – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel – stormed to his fourth P1 qualifying at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, beating the Dutchman by a clear three-tenths of a second.

    It was a lap that left even Vettel breathless with disbelief that finally settled the situation in his favour as he fights to retrieve his previous championship advantage from points leader Lewis Hamilton, who finished fifth on the grid for Mercedes.

    Daniel Ricciardo was third with a time almost identical to his Red Bull team mate’s, with Kimi Raikkonen taking fourth in the second Ferrari. Then came the silver cars of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz completing the top ten.

    Prior to the start of Q1, teams were warned that there was some oil on the entry to Turn 20, a residue from the Porsche race that followed FP3. The big problem was hitting walls, which Williams’ Felipe Massa, Haas’s Romain Grosjean and Force India’s Esteban Ocon all did, the first of that trio losing time and chances by puncturing his right rear tyre.

    But the big excitement was Red Bull’s pace as Verstappen narrowly headed Ricciardo, 1m 42.010s to 1m 42.063s, with Hamilton third on 1m 42.455s and the Ferraris nearly a second down on Hamilton in fifth and sixth places.

    That got even worse for the Scuderia, though, as they were in the pits having changes made for Q2 there was a rash of further improvements. Alonso jumped to third ahead of Sainz and Vandoorne, leaving Hamilton sixth ahead of Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Hulkenberg, thus dropping Bottas, Raikkonen and Vettel to 10th, 11th and 12th.

    A late improvement from Grosjean also bumped team mate Kevin Magnussen’s 1m 43.756s to 16th and thus the first of the Q1 fallers, followed by Massa, who got going again to lap in 1m 44.014s, Williams team mate Lance Stroll on 1m 44.728s, and the Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson on 1m 45.059s and 1m 45.570s respectively.

    Ferrari came out fighting in Q2, as Vettel on 1m 40.329s headed Raikkonen on 1m 40.999s, Hamilton on 1m 41.075s and Bottas on 1m 41.409s. But then Verstappen went quickest with 1m 40.379s and Ricciardo moved in behind Vettel with 1m 40.776s. This was more like it.

    Grosjean went off again, this time in Turn 1, then Vandoorne jumped to sixth on 1m 41.227s.

    In the end it was Verstappen on 1m 40.332s as a strong lap for Raikkonen ended in the final sector with 1m 40.525s. That was then beaten by Ricciardo with 1m 40.385s as Red Bull went 1-2, while Vettel and Hamilton were inseparable on 1m 40.529s and 1m 40.577s.

    The outstanding Vandoorne was sixth from Hulkenberg, Bottas, Alonso and Sainz, which meant that Palmer was the first to miss out with 1m 42.017s. The Force Indias were, unusually, nowhere, with Perez on 1m 42.246s and Ocon 1m 42.760s in 12th and 14th, separated by Kvyat on 1m 42.338s. Grosjean brought up the rear with 1m 43.883s.

    Could Verstappen hold on to become the world’s first teenaged F1 polesitter, or would Mercedes and Ferrari be able to wind up their engines sufficiently to overcome the Red Bull duo?

    Q3 saw the times really tumble. This time it was Vettel on provisional pole after the first runs with 1m 39.669s, snatching the honours from Verstappen, who had lapped in 1m 39.814s. Ricciardo was also super-quick with 1m 39.862s, jumping him to third ahead of Raikkonen on 1m 40.069s and Hamilton on 1m 40.192s. The track seemed to be getting better every lap.

    Further back, Bottas was sixth from Alonso, Vandoorne, Hulkenberg and Sainz.

    Could Verstappen get the initiative back from Vettel? Would Ricciardo intervene?

    Vettel pushed harder than ever and clipped his time to 1m 39.491s, and to that Verstappen had no reply as his 1m 39.993s lap failed to match his previous effort. Ricciardo improved fractionally, to stay third with 1m 39.840s, while Raikkonen was likewise unable to go quicker and stayed fourth ahead of Hamilton, who improved slightly to 1m 40.126s for fifth.

    “I don’t know where I found the time,” Vettel admitted. “We struggled yesterday and also this morning. I’m still full of adrenaline so maybe what I saw makes no sense, but I love this track. The car was tricky but was getting better and better. I scraped the wall with my left rear, and I think I need to calm down, but I’m very, very happy. It’s amazing, on this track, and when you can feel the car coming alive you can do what you want.”

    Ericsson has a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change following his FP3 crash, but given he qualified last, the provisional grid currently reads exactly as per qualifying order.

  2. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was “lucky” to survive brush with wall in Q3. has the full story.

    Sebastian Vettel admitted he was lucky to be able to complete his final lap in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix after making contact with the wall.

    The Ferrari driver secured his third pole position of the 2017 season after beating the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, outpacing them by over three tenths of a second.

    During his final run, however, Vettel brushed the wall at Turn 19 and admitted he felt a big vibration towards the end of the lap.

    “I was lucky on the final lap,” said Vettel. “I brushed the wall out of [Turn] 19. I kept going until I approached the last corner and had huge vibrations, but luckily there was only one corner left.

    “I pushed as hard as I could. I felt these guys would have something in their pockets, then I was very relieved when I crossed the line, I looked at screens and waited for the call.

    “The weekend so far has been a bit up and down, yesterday was difficult, this afternoon was difficult but tonight it came alive,” added Vettel, who had struggled for pace on Friday on a track where he has won four times.

    The German praised his Ferrari team’s efforts overnight to manage to turn its form around, and said juniors Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi played a role in the improvement.

    “It has been phenomenal,” Vettel added. “The car wasn’t behaving the way we wanted it to, but it has been pretty special, the amount of effort overnight, the support from Maranello.

    “Charles has been in the simulator – it swaps between Antonio and Charles – they answered a lot of questions as we didn’t have time remaining.

    “The guys here, I don’t know when they went to bed. The car was a lot better today but I think the conditions… The car came alive throughout the evening, which is mostly the track.”

    Although championship rival Lewis Hamilton qualified down in fifth, Vettel was staying cautious about the prospects for the race.

    “We have a long race,” he said. “There are a lot of things that can happen. Grid position here is crucial but still it is a long race. The fact that our car was good this evening is promising for tomorrow.

    “I’m not bothered where others are. There are a lot of things we need to get right.”

  3. After a strong practice sessions form by Red Bull Racing, the drivers were unable to convert pole position. But Daniel Ricciardo is “still confident” that the team can win in Singapore. has the details.

    Daniel Ricciardo believes the Red Bull Formula 1 team can still fight for victory in the Singapore Grand Prix, despite missing out on pole position to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

    Ricciardo topped the timesheet in both of Friday’s practice sessions, while team-mate Max Verstappen was fastest in final practice, Q1 and Q2, but missed out on pole by just over three tenths of a second in Q3 at the Marina Bay F1 circuit.

    Ricciardo suggested Red Bull could dominate the Singapore GP after his strong showing on Friday and still harbours hope of victory in Sunday’s race, despite only qualifying third.

    “I am still confident we will get victory,” said Ricciardo. “We have a good package. Seb turned it on in qualifying but we will be back tomorrow.

    “Today I will accept a little bit of defeat but there is still a lot to play for. It is on cusp of one or two stops, so it could be exciting.”

    The Renault engine is known to lack power compared to Ferrari and Mercedes in Q3, but Ricciardo still felt Red Bull had a realistic shot at pole.

    “I thought pole would be on but we couldn’t quite run with him [Vettel] in this qualifying,” Ricciardo added.

    “It is a long lap, so you gain a bit here and lose a bit there, but three-to-four tenths was quite significant.

    “Once qualifying starts we pretty much put it all in, so no secrets for Q3.”

    Verstappen will line up on the front row after beating Ricciardo to second place on the grid by just 0.026s.

    The Dutchman failed to improve on his final Q3 run, but was satisfied to qualify second after feeling “down on power the whole weekend” and suffering an electrical problem with his gearbox in final practice that required a steering wheel change.

    “It is a shame we couldn’t put it on pole,” Verstappen said. “The final lap wasn’t great but we were close so I am happy with that.

    “Qualifying was a constant improvement, even though the whole weekend we were down on power, lost a bit of top speed, so to be second here is very promising.

    “We know we still have to work hard to improve [in qualifying] – it is still not where Ferrari and Mercedes is.”

    Verstappen has gotten into trouble with aggressive racing at the starts of some races this season, but intends to take the fight to Vettel at the first corner of Sunday’s race.

    “You always go for it if there is a gap and it is possible,” Verstappen added. “If not, you settle down. It is a long race and anything can happen.”

  4. This was a challenging qualifying session for Mercedes and championship leader Lewis Hamilton admitted that the Silver Arrows were caught out by Ferrari’s pace. has the story.

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton admits the team “definitely didn’t anticipate” to be trailing Ferrari by as much as it did in the Singapore Grand Prix qualifying shoot-out.

    Hamilton led a comfortable Mercedes 1-2 last time out at Monza, but had no answer to either Ferrari’s or Red Bull’s pace over a single lap.

    Despite the Briton being one of only three drivers in the top six to improve on the second runs in Q3, he was still over six tenths behind the pole-sitting Ferrari of title rival Sebastian Vettel.

    “We knew that today would be tough,” Hamilton said. “We definitely didn’t anticipate Ferrari would be as strong as they were. We thought Red Bull would be as quick as they were.

    “I got everything I could out of the car, I gave it everything, everything and more. I squeezed every single bit out of it.”

    He added: “I was holding on to the reins for dear life. I didn’t think I’d be this far off.”

    Singapore was expected to prove a challenge for Mercedes, with the track’s characteristics more suited to Ferrari and it having been host to the Silver Arrows’ worst performance of the 2014-2016 regulations cycle two years ago.

    Asked whether he expected the Marina Bay Street Circuit to suit the W08 car the least of the remaining tracks, Hamilton said: “I don’t know, I don’t know where Ferrari have picked up their pace.

    “It’s strange from race to race, it’s a little bit different between us. But I hope that at the races coming up we’ll be really strong.”

    Hamilton is hoping that circumstances will give him a helping hand in the race.

    “This is a tough track for overtaking, it’s usually just a long, long train. I think it’s going to be very difficult.

    “I think the start is an opportunity, strategy is an opportunity, safety cars, who knows? I think tomorrow I’m just going to be playing the long game. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    “It’s going to be physical, it’s going to be long, it could be dull. I just hope that I can pick some people off, at least get past a Ferrari at the start – that would be really helpful.”

  5. Although McLaren put both its cars into the top-10 shootout for the Singapore Grand Prix, Stoffel Vandoorne believes the team could have achieved more than eighth and ninth positions on the grid.

    His teammate Fernando Alonso will start eighth, with the Belgian one place behind him, but Vandoorne had been fifth fastest in Q1 and sixth in Q2.

    “We’ve been competitive since the start and we came here expecting to have both cars in Q3, so we’re reasonably happy,” Vandoorne told NBC Sports.

    “Q1, Q2 was very strong for us and maybe we missed a little in Q3 to make a step up.

    “Hopefully we can carry that forward tomorrow, because our race pace was looking quite strong. On a street circuit it’s always difficult to overtake, so hopefully with a good start and some mayhem in front we can benefit from that.”

    Alonso added that a double points finish is now the target – something that McLaren has only achieved once this season.

    “We knew this circuit could have a good performance for our car,” Alonso told Sky Sports F1. “The aim is to be in the points with both cars tomorrow.

    “To do that we had to be in Q3 today with both cars, so let’s say the first part of the job is done. We need to complete the job tomorrow, but so far so good.

    “Here, as other street circuits, the start and the first lap will dictate more or less the positions. So maximum attack at the start and the first corner, after that hold the position.”


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