Lewis Hamilton has gained a crucial advantage heading into tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix after pipping Nico Rosberg to pole position by the narrowest of margins. The Mercedes duo came under enormous pressure from Red Bull, Ferrari and Williams in the season’s closest qualifying session but Hamilton prevailed in the end, beating his title rival by seven thousandths of a second.
The warning signs were already there for the championship leaders in Q1 with Ferrari wrapping up a 1-2 in the first session. The threat early in Q3 came from another unexpected source with Felipe Massa clocking a 1:46.007 to go quickest in the Williams. Daniel Ricciardo slotted into second with Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen confirming Ferrari’s pole position potential by taking third and fourth. The two Silver Arrows languished in sixth and seventh although Rosberg had used a set of scrubbed super-soft tyres.
Ricciardo was the first to venture out for his final Q3 run and promptly knocked Massa off the top with a 1:45.854. Red Bull’s joy was short-lived though as Rosberg, now fitted with a brand new set of tyres, knocked two tenths off the benchmark time. Hamilton looked to be under pressure with a heavy lock-up at turn one threatening to scupper his chances but the Briton recovered superbly to set a 1:45.681, snatching pole by 0.007s.
Sebastian Vettel improved to fourth to secure a second row lock-out for Red Bull while Fernando Alonso relegated the former polesitter Massa to sixth. Kimi Raikkonen will line up seventh in the second Ferrari and was left to curse his luck when a loss of power on his final out-lap prevented him from challenging for pole. Valtteri Bottas was shuffled back to eighth in the second Williams while rookie pair Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat share the fifth row in ninth and tenth.
Jenson Button narrowly missed out on a Q3 place in eleventh with Jean-Eric Vergne also finding himself the wrong side of the cut-off point in the second session, leaving him twelfth. Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez could only manage thirteenth and fifteenth on a poor night for Force India, either side of Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber, but their mood was positively ecstatic compared to Lotus’ Romain Grosjean whose frustrations boiled over on the radio after qualifying sixteenth.
|2014 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION|
|3||3||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||SUPER||1:45.854||Q3|
|4||1||SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||SUPER||1:45.902||Q3|
|6||19||FELIPE MASSA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||SUPER||1:46.000||Q3|
|8||77||VALTTERI BOTTAS||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||SUPER||1:46.187||Q3|
|9||20||KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||McLAREN MERCEDES||SUPER||1:46.250||Q3|
|10||26||DANIIL KVYAT||STR RENAULT||SUPER||1:47.362||Q3|
|11||22||JENSON BUTTON||McLAREN MERCEDES||SUPER||1:46.943||Q2|
|12||25||JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR RENAULT||SUPER||1:46.989||Q2|
|13||27||NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||SUPER||1:47.308||Q2|
|14||21||ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||SUPER||1:47.333||Q2|
|15||11||SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||SUPER||1:47.575||Q2|
|16||8||ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||SUPER||1:47.812||Q2|
|17||99||ADRIAN SUTIL||SAUBER FERRARI||SUPER||1:48.324||Q1|
|18||13||PASTOR MALDONADO||LOTUS RENAULT||SUPER||1:49.063||Q1|
|19||17||JULES BIANCHI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||SUPER||1:49.440||Q1|
|20||10||KAMUI KOBAYASHI||CATERHAM RENAULT||SUPER||1:50.405||Q1|
|21||4||MAX CHILTON||MARUSSIA FERRARI||SUPER||1:50.473||Q1|
|22||9||MARCUS ERICSSON||CATERHAM RENAULT||SUPER||1:52.287||Q1|
|Q1 107% TIME: 1:54.152|