Epic Singapore Grand Prix pole position for Hamilton

Lewis Hamiton achieved an important pole position in terms of the world championship with an epic lap around the Marina Bay street circuit.

The Mercedes driver set a best time of one minute, 36.015 seconds on his first run in Q3, with engineer Pete Bonnington telling him “that was an epic lap” after crossing the line.

Hamilton abandoned his lap on his second run in the middle sector after running wide out of the Turn 7 right-hander, but had done enough to secure pole by 0.319 seconds from Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

Verstappen was on a lap that was close to Hamilton’s time after two sectors on his second run, but a slow final sector put paid to his chances of taking pole position.

Verstappen said “this feels like a victory” after struggling with engine complaints.

Sebastian Vettel also failed to improve on his second run, ending up 0.613 seconds down in third place and less than a tenth ahead of the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth for Ferrari, two tenths ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

Sergio Perez was seventh, a second slower than Ricciardo, for Force India ahead of the Haas of Romain Grosjean.

Force India teammate Esteban Ocon survived a brush with the wall at the exit of Turn 21 to claim ninth place ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso was bumped out of the top ten by Grosjean’s late improvement, leaving him P11 and fastest of those eliminated in Q2.

He missed out on a place in the top ten shootout by just 0.107 seconds having outpaced Renault driver Carlos Sainz, who failed to improve his time on his second run and complained of “absolutely no grip”.

Sauber pairing Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson were P13 and P14, albeit with seven tenths separating the duo.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly was P15, lapping over two tenths slower than Ericsson.

Kevin Magnussen was the quickest to be eliminated in Q1 in P16 after failing to improve on his second run and being shuffled into the drop zone by Ericsson

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley was P17, lapping two tenths off teammate Gasly but half-a-tenth ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

Williams pairing Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll were a distant P19 and P20, lapping 1.4 seconds off the rest of the field.

So an awesome lap from Lewis Hamilton. Six tenths clear over his title rival Sebastian Vettel. Mercedes were not the favourites for pole and yet the defending champion delivered the result with this fine pole.

Qualifying positions, Singapore Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m36.015s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m36.334s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m36.628s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m36.702s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.794s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m36.996s
7 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m37.985s
8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m38.320s
9 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m38.365s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m38.588s
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m38.641s
12 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m38.716s
13 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.747s
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m39.453s
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m39.691s
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m39.644s
17 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m39.809s
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m39.864s
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m41.263s
20 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m41.334s

5 thoughts to “Epic Singapore Grand Prix pole position for Hamilton”

  1. Singapore Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Singapore doesn’t suit Mercedes’ car apparently. Well someone should have told Lewis Hamilton that, as the British driver romped to pole position in Marina Bay, a full three-tenths up on the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

    Hamilton called it ‘magic’. Mercedes chief Toto Wolff ‘stardust’. In what was surely one of the laps of Hamilton’s career, he went around the 5.063km track in 1m 36.015s, over three seconds up on Sebastian Vettel’s pole time from 2017. Wolff added that it had been the most epic lap around Singapore that he could recall.

    Vettel, Hamilton’s chief title rival, was visibly disappointed to only manage third, with Hamilton taking a huge psychological advantage into Sunday’s race with Verstappen as a buffer to the Ferrari. The Briton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas couldn’t match the front-running pace, ending up 0.687s off in P4, ahead of the Ferrari of Italian Grand Prix polesitter Kimi Raikkonen and the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

    It’s tightly poised in the midfield, but after some initial struggles Force India won the battle with Sergio Perez taking P7 – his first ever top 10 grid slot in Singapore – ahead of the Haas of Romain Grosjean, the second Force India of Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault.

    But this session was all about that man Hamilton…

    Mercedes rolled the dice in the first segment of qualifying, sending both Bottas and Hamilton out on the slower ultrasoft tyres as everyone else bolted on the faster hypersofts. The team came within a whisker of disaster as the track rubbered in and the times started tumbling towards the end of the first 18 minutes of qualifying, with Hamilton ending up just two places off the drop-zone in P14, with Bottas in P12.

    Up at the front, Red Bull would have been relieved, after a difficult Free Practice 3 that saw them over a second off the pace, to see Ricciardo’s name at the top of the timesheet, ahead of the Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen, while Verstappen was fifth.

    Force India managed sixth and seventh with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, while Renault and McLaren also had skin in the top 10, Nico Hulkenberg eighth, Fernando Alonso ninth and Carlos Sainz tenth.

    Out in the first segment went Haas’ Kevin Magnussen – a shock, given that his team mate Romain Grosjean wound up a stunning P4 – with the Dane joined by the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley, the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne and the two Williams of Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll – the cars in white an agonising three seconds off the ultimate pace.

    Ferrari took a leaf out of Mercedes’ playbook and sent both their drivers out in Q2 wearing the purple-walled ultrasofts. But with Raikkonen radioing in that the rubber was “way too slow”, the Scuderia called off the experiment and duly brought the Finn and Vettel back for hypersofts.

    They’ll have been glad they did, for although they played with fire leaving their drivers with it all to do in the latter moments of the segment, Raikkonen ended up going fastest, ahead of Verstappen and the two Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton, with Ricciardo and Vettel fifth and sixth.

    Perez headed the midfield, securing his place in Q3 along with Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Ocon. The two main casualties of Q2 were Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz in 11th and 12th, with both drivers having looked confident around the Singapore streets throughout the weekend.

    There was an edgy moment for Charles Leclerc in his first ever Singapore qualifying, as he clattered the side of his Sauber C37 into the wall at Turn 21. Having ripped off the front-right corner of his car in FP1 yesterday, his future employers at Ferrari will have been gladdened to see that the Monegasque hadn’t been cowed by his experience, even if his driving was still a little ragged. He carried on to end up P13, one place ahead of team mate Marcus Ericsson, with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly in 15th.

    So, Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull for pole? With just two tenths covering first to fifth in Q2, all three teams – and all six of their drivers – were in the hunt heading into the final qualifying segment, although Mercedes looked set to play third-best having not led any session throughout the weekend. Then Lewis Hamilton headed out for his first flyer, and it was all over. As he swung his Silver Arrow through the streets, the timing screens all lit up purple, with Hamilton eventually stopping the clock at 1m 36.015s. In 2017, Sebastian Vettel was on pole with a 1m 39.491s…

    But there were still seven minutes to go. The cars wound their way back to the garage, the drivers had a re-think, and then headed out for another go. How could Ricciardo, Vettel, Raikkonen and Verstappen respond in cars that, on paper, were better tailored to the Singapore track?

    In the event, neither Verstappen nor Vettel improved on their own first tries, ending up P2 and P3. “We had two laps and they were both not good enough,” was Vettel’s verdict at the session end, while a delighted Verstappen said that his second place, felt “like a victory”, calling his quali lap the best he’d ever done.

    Raikkonen, fresh from a pole in Monza, put in a rapid first sector, before his lap petered out, the Finn winding up fifth, while Q1 leader Ricciardo could only go sixth, nearly a second off Hamilton’s pace.

    Having been slightly underwhelming yesterday as they tried to dial in their cars’ updates, Force India and Sergio Perez ended up best of the rest by a comfortable margin of over three-tenths to Haas’ Romain Grosjean, while Renault, who had been tipped to head the midfield coming into the weekend, could only manage a best of P10 in the hands of Nico Hulkenberg.

    So Hamilton and Verstappen on the front row, with a fired up Vettel desperate to get through? Sunday’s race is poised be an absolute corker…

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton admitted he doesn’t know where the “magic” lap came from considering he was struggling in the practice sessions. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Lewis Hamilton says the lap that earned him a surprise pole position for Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix was “magic” and admitted “I don’t really know where it came from”.

    Mercedes has been vulnerable in Singapore through its all-conquering seasons in F1’s V6 turbo-hybrid era, and faded in final practice after running Ferrari close on Friday.

    However, Hamilton produced a superb lap in the final part of qualifying to claim his seventh pole of the season by three tenths of a second, with title rival Sebastian Vettel in third.

    “That was a hard qualifying session,” Hamilton said. “That lap felt like magic. I don’t really know where it came from.”

    Hamilton admitted he was “a bit nervous” heading into qualifying after trailing Ferrari by half a second in final practice.

    He reckons the mistake on his second flying lap shows how good the initial effort, a 1m36.015s, was.

    “I was thinking there’s no way I can find half a second,” he said. “In that last session it was about pulling all those bits in practice and trying to put it into a perfect puzzle – 99.9% of the time it doesn’t go right.

    “But that lap, I didn’t have wheelspin, I didn’t have a snap anywhere, the car was just underneath me and I managed to maximise it at pretty much every corner.

    “I can’t remember one where I thoughts I could do more.

    “The second lap I tried to go that little bit more, brake half a metre later, it was too much, the car wasn’t going to have it.

    “I feel I got everything possible in that first lap.”

    Hamilton and his teammate Valtteri Bottas started FP3 on soft tyres and tried to get through to Q2 on ultrasofts, which Hamilton believes was a disadvantage as Mercedes’ rivals were able to conduct more preparation on the hypersoft tyre.

    However, an engine problem for Max Verstappen prevented the Red Bull driver from improving on his second run anyway and Vettel ended up a massive 0.613s adrift.

    “The guys have been flat out to try to bring little bits here and there,” said Hamilton. “We knew coming to this race that the Ferrari’s and the Red Bulls would be really hard to beat.

    “This is an incredible moment for us to be on pole here considering the circumstances.”

    Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff hailed Hamilton’s effort as “the most amazing lap I’ve ever seen” and said it was “stardust”, with Bottas 0.687s slower in fourth.

    “I want to say thank you to Brackley and Brixworth,” Wolff told Channel 4. “They’ve done such an amazing job to make us competitive in Singapore. Who would have thought that?

    “It’s the first time we’ve really conquered it [the Singapore circuit] in the last years in that way.

    “I’m over the moon. Whatever the race result we’ve made a step forward in understanding what the car needs and that makes me happy.”

  3. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was denied a pole position shot when his Renault engine cutting out. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Max Verstappen has revealed an engine cut out cost him a shot at beating Lewis Hamilton to pole position in Singapore, after what he believes was his best qualifying ever in Formula 1.

    The Dutchman had battled engine problems throughout practice and qualifying, but managed to pull everything together in Q2 to end the first run three tenths down on Hamilton.

    But when running even quicker on his second run – to leave him in with a chance of grabbing the top spot – Verstappen’s engine cut out and he was unable to improve.

    “Totally unexpected,” said the Red Bull driver about ending up second on the grid despite the problems he faced. “From FP3 onwards I was shaking from anger but now I am shaking from happiness.

    “In FP3 just so many problems. Going into false neutral, the car was stopping on track. While driving on my fast laps it was just bogging down, and qualifying was exactly the same story.

    “We had to detune the engine and lost a bit of time there to try to make the driveability better, but it still didn’t work like it should do.

    “Going into Q3 I felt the car was working really well and didn’t have anything to complain, so when I saw second on the board I was actually quite surprised with the problems I had.

    “On my final run, I tried to push a bit more and I was another two tenths up. Then I arrived to [Turn] 16/17 and when I had to short shift again, the engine just cut out, so I had to abort.”

    Although Verstappen does not know if the lap would have been good enough to snatch pole, he has no doubts he would have gone quicker than his first run.

    “If it was going to be enough to pole I am not so sure but at least it was going to be closer than three tenths,” he said. “I am already surprised to be second with all the issues I am having.

    “The only thing I can say is it was a great qualifying, I think the best I have ever done and also the car was working really well. Definitely that put us second today.”

    Despite the ongoing engine problems, Verstappen does not believe the troubles will carry over in to the race, when the engine runs with different settings.

    “I think normally in the race you have to turn down the power,” he said. “It is just when you go to the limit of the engine where we seem to struggle somehow this weekend with it, with driveabilty and torque mapping and stuff.

    “For example, yesterday in long runs I didn’t have a problem, and if it breaks it breaks, you cannot really change that. We will find out tomorrow.”

  4. Championship challenger Sebastian Vettel was left feeling frustrated by his “messy” Singapore Grand Prix qualifying. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel described his performance as “not good enough” after slumping to third in qualifying for the 2018 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.

    Vettel headed Saturday’s free practice by a comfortable half-second margin, but lost out to both Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen in the final battle for pole position.

    After climbing from the cockpit Vettel lamented what he described as a “messy” session.

    “For sure I’m not happy with how the day went,” said Vettel. “Qualifying for us wasn’t as smooth as it should have been, other people obviously have done better than us, and that’s why we’re third.

    “I am not worried about the gap [to Hamilton], I don’t think it shows how strong we are. It’s just disappointing that we didn’t get the maximum out of our package.”

    None of the frontrunners improved their times in the final moments of Q3 after Hamilton hit the top of the timesheets with a spectacular 1m36.015s even he could not surpass.

    Vettel made it through Q1 comfortably but had a more nervous time in Q2 after trying to use Pirelli’s ultrasoft compound in that session. After a snap decision by the team to move on to hypersofts, Vettel had one flying lap to set a time good enough to progress to Q3 and struggled in traffic.

    Once through to Q3 he was beaten by Hamilton in the first flying laps and then failed to improve on his own time in his second run.

    “We were hoping for more than third,” he said. “Lewis had a good lap, and congratulations to him, but I don’t think it was unbeatable.

    “The way we composed qualifying… it was difficult to get a rhythm, and I was struggling in Q1, Q2 and Q3. As I said before, other people did a better job – that’s including Lewis’s lap as an individual and them [Mercedes] as a team. It [third] is not what we wanted.

    “I don’t want to take anything away from Lewis’s lap, but it’s clear that we could have done better. I don’t think there’s much point in going into detail… maybe preparing the lap for qualifying, but in the end I had the laps and they were not strong enough or good enough to be near.”

    Ferrari’s ultrasoft gambit in Q2 was a clear attempt to pave the way for a one-stop strategy.

    Had Vettel and Raikkonen succeeded in setting their fastest Q2 lap on the ultrasofts they would have started the race on those tyres, enabling them potentially to run longer then others who had qualified on the fast but delicate hypersofts.

    But when Raikkonen struggled and declared the ultrasofts “not fast enough”, Ferrari decided to abandon the strategy mid-session – despite Vettel saying on the team radio that he could find another half a second on that compound.

    After qualifying, Vettel declined to elaborate further on the strategy.

    “It was clear what we tried to do and it didn’t work,” he said.

  5. Kimi Raikkonen says it is “a bit odd” that Ferrari could not work its tyres properly in Formula 1 qualifying in Singapore and was left unexpectedly struggling for pace.

    Raikkonen topped the times on Friday while teammate Sebastian Vettel lapped half a second quicker than Mercedes in final practice on Saturday.

    However, Lewis Hamilton claimed a surprise pole for Mercedes while Max Verstappen beat Vettel to the front row in his Red Bull, and Raikkonen could only manage fifth.

    Raikkonen, who lapped 0.779s off the pace and was more than a tenth slower than his teammate, said: “We could [switch the tyres on] but not as well as we wanted and it was more difficult for sure than at any other point of the weekend.

    “That is what is a bit odd. Sometimes it goes like that.

    “In the end the result is not great in this kind of place where you need to have everything right.”

    Raikkonen said it had been a “very straightforward” weekend up to qualifying, with no changes made after final practice, and admitted “I am a bit surprised” by the result.

    Vettel told his team over the radio during qualifying that Mercedes was preparing its tyres different and Ferrari needed to take note.

    Raikkonen was not sure if the slump was down to tyre preparation or a need to alter the car’s set-up.

    “If you look at how it has been all weekend, it has been very easy,” he said.

    “Everything is running smoothly and that is why I was a bit surprised because honestly it is not like it is different conditions than earlier this weekend.

    “It is not the first time that sometimes you found out in qualifying that things are not as you expect, but at that point there is not much you can do.”

    Raikkonen said there was not a major change in his car’s behaviour but “enough” to stop Ferrari from challenging.

    He believes that minor changes would have meant it was “suddenly half a second faster because it is the nature” of the Singapore circuit.

    “At a place like this it is fundamental to have it exactly as you want because there are so many corners and it is such a long track,” Raikkonen said.

    “You lose even half a tenth in one place and when that happens in a few corners you suddenly have three or four tenths difference.

    “That is what is tricky here. It wasn’t bad. But for sure it wasn’t as easy as it has been so far.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *