Vettel Captures Singapore Pole In Thrilling Qualifying Session


Sebastian Vettel takes pole ahead of tomorrow's Singapore Grand Prix Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Sebastian Vettel produced an incredible lap to take Pole Position ahead of both Red Bull Racing driver’s in a thrilling qualifying session for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver set an outstanding lap of 1:39.491s to take his forty-ninth career pole, with the German halting the possibility of a potential Red Bull pole from Max Verstappen who was on top of the time sheets for most of the session, and as such, it means the Dutchman was unable to take his maiden pole position in his final race before he stops being a teenager later this month!

Daniel Ricciardo grabbed third place for the race behind his team-mate, with just 0.026 seconds splitting the duo, while Kimi Raikkonen qualified fourth fastest  in the second Ferrari, ahead of both Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver’s.

Lewis Hamilton got to within 0.635 seconds of the pole time but he and team-mate Valtteri Bottas failed to produce the times similar to their rivals, and will share the third row for the race on Sunday.

Nico Hülkenberg was the best of the rest for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team in seventh, ahead of both McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team drivers, Fernando Alonso ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, while Scuderia Toro Rosso‘s Carlos Sainz Jr. completed the top ten.

The first qualifying session kicked off with all the drivers using the Ultrasoft Pirelli compound of tyres. Raikkonen set the initial pace of the session, but was soon quickly beaten by both Red Bull cars and Ferrari team-mate Vettel.

Williams Martini Racing‘s Felipe Massa suffered trouble with a rear left puncture after the Brazilian hitting the wall in the final sector. Massa managed to return to the pits and attempt another run but suffered oversteer during his final lap, costing him time and not escaping the drop zone.

As the final minutes of Q1 emerge, the track started to become faster with drivers improving their lap times. Verstappen set the fastest lap in the session ahead of Ricciardo and Alonso. The first drivers dropped out from qualifying were Haas F1 Team‘s Kevin Magnussen, both Williams’ of Massa and Lance Stroll and the Sauber F1 Team‘s of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.

The second qualifying session began for the quest for the final shoot-out spots with Raikkonen setting the initial pace again within minutes of the session starting, but was a little bit inhibited by Alonso at the final corner, who was warming up for a lap of his own.  Vettel topped the session but soon was beaten by Verstappen who set an impressive time within the mid 1:40’s.

All fifteen cars came out on track in the dying moments of Q2 for one last run to improve their lap times. Verstappen repeated his efforts from Q1 to beat his lap earlier and remained on top ahead of Ricciardo and both Ferrari’s and Mercedes. Eliminated from Q2 and failed to make it into the final session were Jolyon Palmer, Sergio Perez, Daniil Kvyat, Esteban Ocon and Romain Grosjean.

The hunt for Pole Position was underway with Vettel beating both Red Bull’s on their first run of laps. All three breaking into the 1:39’s for the first time this weekend. Both Mercedes drivers couldn’t produce a decent time and were the third best team behind both Ferrari and Red Bull.

Verstappen gave one last push in an attempt to grab his first ever Pole Position in Formula 1 but the Dutch driver couldn’t improve on his time, and Vettel then did improve to secure his forty-ninth pole position in Formula 1, his third at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, as he looks to regain the lead in the championship that he lost last time out in Italy.

PosNo.DriverTeamTimeGap
15Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:39.491
233Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:39.8140.323
33Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:39.8400.349
47Kimi RaikkonnenScuderia Ferrari1:40.0690.578
544Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:40.1260.635
677Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:40.8101.319
727Nico HulkenbergRenault Sport Formula One Team1:41.0131.522
814Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:41.1791.688
92Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:41.3981.907
1055Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso1:42.0562.565
1130Jolyon PalmerRenault Sport Formula One TeamQ2 1:42.107
1211Sergio PerezSahara Force India F1 Team1:42.2460.139
1326Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso1:42.3380.231
1431Esteban OconSahara Force India F1 Team1:42.7600.653
158Romain GrosjeanHaas-F1 Team1:43.8831.776
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas-F1 TeamQ1 1:43.756
1719Felipe MassaWilliams Martini Racing1:44.0140.258
1818Lance StrollWilliams Martini Racing1:44.7280.972
1994Pascal WehrleinSauber F1 Team1:45.0591.303
209Marcus EricssonSauber F1 Team1:45.5701.824