Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix from pole position after out-qualifying Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by three-tenths of a second. The German snatched pole away from the Dutchman who looked strong throughout the first two sessions.
Vettel looked inform smashing the lap record as his championship rival Lewis Hamilton struggled to find the pace in his Mercedes and will start the race sixth after he was over half a second down
Pole Lap – S. Vettel
Sebastian Vettel comes out of the final corner takes kerb as he runs along the outside of circuit before going to the centre of the track and back to the outside before breaking into Turn One. Hits the apex before going across for Turn Two nicely into Three. He then runs to the outside before opening up the car and breaking for Five. He takes that by running to the apex then to the outside, he opens up the car backs off a little in Six.
Breaks 100m before Seven runs along the kerb then hits the apex and goes to the outside. Crosses the track before breaking into Eight at 77kph, then runs to the outside re-crosses the track before running through Nine going back to the outside. Goes to the centre and back to the outside for Ten, takes it well as well as Elven and Twelve across the bridge. Then breaks into Thirteen, before opening up the car going to the outside.
Breaks into Fourteen from the inside go across hits the apex, before going to the inside. He had little oversteer moment there going towards Fifteen before breaking into Sixteen hits apex and goes through to Seventeen. Goes to the outside before breaking and going under the grandstand. Opens the car up on exit, runs along the inside before breaking into Twenty One. Nicely through twenty-two stays on the outside through twenty-three crosses the line with a 1:39.491
Mercedes were expecting to struggle this weekend and they were unable to match both Ferrari as we expected, but also Red Bull which was a bit surprising. Red Bull put the better laps in during the closing moments of Q3 pushing Lewis Hamilton into fifth and Valtteri Bottas into sixth.
Asked if he had maximised his own effort Hamilton admitted Mercedes had doubted Ferrari had the pace to snatch pole. “ We knew that we would come here and it would be difficult. I think every year we’ve come here it’s been relatively difficult for us generally but we knew today would be tough.”
“We definitely didn’t anticipate Ferrari would be as strong as they were, I thought Red Bull would be as quick as they were but we remained hopeful.”
Qualifying would suggest Hamilton is set to lose his slender three-point lead over Vettel in the championship on Sunday.
Daniel Ricciardo has looked in strong form all weekend and Red Bull topped every session up until Q3 when they missed out on pole by just over three tenths. Red Bull look the better team going into the race, yesterday they looked better on the long run pace.
Ricciardo said “I am still confident we will get victory. 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.”
Team-mate Max Verstappen starts ahead of Ricciardo after being .02 of a second faster. The Dutchman failed to improve on his final run in Q3, 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. 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.
It was a good qualifying for McLaren who got both their cars into the top ten, with Fernando Alonso eighth and Stoffel Vandoorne ninth. The team got both cars into the top ten which is good for them. Earlier in the session, Vandoorne had run as high as fifth.
Vandoorne said “We’ve been competitive since the start and we came here expecting to have both cars in Q3, so we’re reasonably happy. 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.”
Alonso says that the teams target was now a double points finish which McLaren has only managed once this season. He said “We knew this circuit could have a good performance for our car. 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.”
Tomorrow’s race looks as if it will swing towards Ferrari and Red Bull as overtaking is more difficult in Singapore. Drivers know this is one of the longest race in terms of time normally at least an hour and forty five minutes.
Ferrari will be fighting Red Bull for the win; Mercedes will try to come back into play. The chances of a safety car are 100% because every race in Singapore has featured one. Drivers will need to remain focused through-out the race. Overtaking is possible and that helps Mercedes.
- Singapore GP – Qualifying Result
- SINGAPORE GP – Vettel takes pole ahead of Verstappen, as Mercedes struggle for pace and start on third row
- Notebook – Singapore Practice
- SINGAPORE GP – Ricciardo tops second practice by half a second over Verstappen as Red Bull look strong
- McLaren switches to Renault power for 2018, as they split with Honda
- SINGAPORE GP – Ricciardo sets the pace in first practice breaking the lap record going a tenth faster than Vettel
- Preview – Singapore Grand Prix