Vettel Charges To Pole Position

by James Singleton

Sebastian Vettel was once again in imperious form around the streets of Singapore as he claimed his second pole position in two races.

After topping the times in the second and third practice sessions, the result never looked to be in doubt. The tiny difference between Vettel and second place man, Nico Rosberg, does not reflect Vettel’s true dominance, as he elected to only do one timed run in Q3.

Rosberg nevertheless gave his all and was rewarded with a front row grid slot, easily out qualifying team mate Lewis Hamilton, who could only manage fifth place.

Romain Grosjean was second fastest in the final practice session, and was once again on the pace in qualifying and will start tomorrow’s race from third position. In contrast, team mate Kimi Raikkonen was struggling with back pain and for the second time in two races, could not progress to Q3. He’ll start tomorrow’s race from thirteenth position.

Mark Webber briefly looked like he would challenge Vettel, and was half a second faster than his more illustrious team mate in Q1. However, despite setting the fastest first sector of anyone in the final stages of qualifying, he could manage no better than fourth place.

Just as at Monza, Felipe Massa managed to out qualify his team mate, Fernando Alonso. However, the Ferrari duo will be left disappointed with sixth and seventh places. Alonso’s ever diminishing title hopes were dealt another blow as he was more than a second off Vettel’s pace.

One of the stars of the qualifying hour was Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez. While Nico Hulkenberg was the man of the moment in Monza, this time it was the young Mexican’s time to shine. He progressed into Q3 for the first time in his F1 career with a time that was good enough for sixth, although elected not to set a time in the final session and will therefore start tenth.  He’ll start behind Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo who once again made it into the top ten.

Nico Hulkenberg could not repeat his Monza heroics and will start from eleventh, while Jean Eric Vergne, Perez, Sutil and Bottas complete the drivers who failed to progress beyond Q2.

Paul di Resta was once again left disappointed as he was knocked out in Q1, along with last year’s front row man, Pastor Maldonado.

Charles Pic is the best of the “new” teams in twentieth, just getting the better of Dutch team mate Giedo van der Garde, who clouted the wall on his way to twenty first position. Both Caterhams were easily ahead of the two Marussias, with Jules Bianchi out pacing team mate Max Chilton once more.

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