Mercedes AMG PETRONAS’ Nico Rosberg took a dominant pole position in his 200th Grand Prix ahead of the Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, with the German taking top spot by just over half a second on the streets of Singapore.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton will have to settle for third place on the grid finishing over seven-tenths behind his team-mate, with Hamilton continuing to struggling with the set-up of the car. This was compounded in qualifying, which left him far behind his title rival who cruised to pole.
Max Verstappen will start alongside the reigning World Champion in fourth place in the second Red Bull, ahead of his on-track nemesis Kimi Raikkonen in the leading Scuderia Ferrari. The Italian team however will feel disappointed with their qualifying effort after Sebastian Vettel suffered a mechanical failure that left him eliminated in Q1 and leaving him in last place.
It was huge shock as Vettel, a Singapore specialist with four previous victories at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, will have to start at the back of the grid after the SF-16 suffered a broken anti roll bar, leaving the German driver helpless.
Ferrari had looked on course to challenge for pole but with the track extremely difficult to overtake, it could leave the four-time World Champion struggling to get points on Sunday.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso’s underlined their strong performance of their chassis by qualifying sixth and seventh with Carlos Sainz beating his Russian team-mate Daniil Kvyat by two tenths.
Nico Hulkenberg outperformed his team-mate Sergio Perez in the Force India Mercedes qualifying eighth and tenth respectively, while Fernando Alonso split the two duo in the McLaren Honda with an impressive run in qualifying.
Romain Grosjean disrupted qualifying crashing at the end of Q2 spinning into the barriers at turn 11, the Haas F1 Team driver brought out the yellow flags preventing other drivers from setting a faster lap and delaying Q3 while the barriers were repaired.
Grosjean’s accident meant that both Williams Martini Racing drivers were unable to improve on their lap times, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa had to settle for 11th and 12th respectively having looked on course to improve and make it through.
Also disappointed was Jenson Button, who clipped the wall on his final flying lap in Q2 leaving him in an unlucky 13th position in the second McLaren. The Briton was on course to improve his time having been ahead of Grosjean’s accident, but his own brush with the wall damaged his left rear wheel and saw him stop on track.
Haas driver’s Esteban Gutierrez and Grosjean will start 14th and 15th, while Marcus Ericsson rounding out Q2 qualifying 16th for the Sauber F1 Team, taking advantage of Vettel’s problems.
Along with Vettel the usual suspects failed to make it into Q2 with both of the Renault Sport F1 and Manor Racing drivers struggling to make much of an impression around the Marina Bay street circuit.
Kevin Magnussen qualified seventeenth in the leading Renault ahead of the second Sauber of Felipe Nasr, who was unable to match the pace of Ericsson, while the second Renault of Jolyon Palmer was a further tenth of a second back in nineteenth.
Pascal Wehrlein out-qualified Manor team-mate Esteban Ocon for a third consecutive race, this time by six-tenths of a second, but the team have not been as competitive here as in recent races, with the MRT05 lacking in downforce and traction, two important requirements for the Singapore circuit.
The Marina Bay street circuit can always spring a surprise but with as a street circuit it can always limit overtaking. A safety car is always possible which can change the perspective of the race, and with Ricciardo set to start on the more durable Supersoft tyre while Rosberg will start on the Ultrasoft tyre this could great an exciting race with Red Bull ever closer to the all-conquering Silver Arrows.
Marina Bay Qualifying Result
|POS||NO.||DRIVER||NAT||TEAM||Q1 TIME||Q2 TIME||Q3 TIME||LAPS|
|2||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:44.255||1:43.933||1:43.115||12|
|4||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Red Bull-Tag Heuer||1:45.036||1:44.112||1:43.328||12|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:45.499||1:44.493||1:44.197||14|
|7||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:45.291||1:44.475||1:44.469||15|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||1:46.081||1:44.737||1:44.479||17|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||1:45.204||1:44.703||1:44.582||20|