Sebastian Vettel escapes late scares to take Singapore GP pole

Sebastian Vettel escapes late scares to take Singapore GP pole

Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel escapes late scares to take Singapore GP pole


Sebastian Vettel hung on to take his fifth pole of the 2013 Formula 1 season in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying.

The Red Bull driver opted to do just one Q3 run as his initial 1m42.841s lap put him 0.6 of a second clear of his rivals. He had also outpaced the pack by nearly a second in Q2.

Vettel’s casual approach to the pole shootout almost proved costly, as first Mark Webber, then Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean all hinted at pole pace on their second shots.

In the end, they all fell short. Rosberg’s Mercedes came closest, 0.091 second down on Vettel, who is separated from teammate Webber by Grosjean’s Lotus.

Lewis Hamilton was only fifth in the second Mercedes, while the Ferraris were down in sixth and seventh, with the departing Felipe Massa ahead of team leader Fernando Alonso again. Massa had earlier only just made it beyond Q1 having encountered traffic at the wrong moment.

It emerged just before qualifying that Kimi Raikkonen was struggling with back pain and that Lotus had been sufficiently concerned to get reserve driver Davide Valsecchi prepared. The Finn only managed to qualify 13th, lapping 0.7sec slower than teammate Grosjean in Q2. It remains unclear whether his race participation is in jeopardy.

Esteban Gutierrez was among the stars of qualifying as he put aside recent Saturday woes to reach Q3 for the first time, having first hauled himself out of Q1 at the last moment. His Sauber teammate Nico Hulkenberg was overshadowed for once and is only 11th on the grid.

Sauber was not the only team to have one driver either side of the Q2/Q3 divide.

Jenson Button sneaked into the top 10 for McLaren by just 0.058sec and took eighth, while the under-pressure Sergio Perez was down in 14th.

Jean-Eric Vergne was within 0.091sec of joining Toro Rosso team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in Q3 but will start 12th, three places behind the Australian.

Gutierrez and Massa’s late jumps in Q1 caught out Paul di Resta, who was already in the pits and pushed back to 17th. Teammate Adrian Sutil only managed two places better.

Williams’s Pastor Malonado was also knocked out in Q1, though teammate Valtteri Bottas made it to Q2.

Caterham was again quicker than Marussia, Charles Pic coming out in front among the tail-end pack.

                                                     Pos  Driver               Team/Car              Time       Gap      1.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1m42.841s                  2.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1m42.932s  +0.091s         3.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1m43.058s  +0.217s         4.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1m43.152s  +0.311s         5.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1m43.254s  +0.413s         6.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1m43.890s  +1.049s         7.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1m43.938s  +1.097s         8.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1m44.282s  +1.441s         9.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m44.439s  +1.598s        10.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        No time set               Q2 cut-off time: 1m44.555s                                   Gap **11.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1m44.555s  +1.650s        12.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m44.588s  +1.683s        13.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1m44.658s  +1.753s        14.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1m44.752s  +1.847s        15.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1m45.185s  +2.280s        16.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1m45.388s  +2.483s        Q1 cut-off time: 1m45.982s                                   Gap * 17.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1m46.121s  +1.925s        18.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1m46.619s  +2.423s        19.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1m48.111s  +3.915s        20.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1m48.320s  +4.124s        21.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1m48.830s  +4.634s        22.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1m48.930s  +4.734s                                                                                  107% time: 1m51.489s                                                   * Gap to quickest in Q1                                                   ** Gap to quickest in Q2