Formula 1 News

Vettel grabs pole in Singapore

Red Bull once more dominated the session with Webber marking the second best time. McLaren drivers will follow with Button and Hamilton who separated by just .005 of a second.
Saturday, September 24, 2011

SINGAPORE, Sept 24, 2011 (AFP) - Championship-chasing German Sebastian Vettel nabbed his 11th pole position of the season on Saturday as his powerful Red Bull team secured a front-row lockout for the Singapore Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old dominated the floodlit night session as Red Bull extended their supremacy with a 14th successive pole, a 100 percent record that gives Vettel a good chance to retain his title in the 61-lap race on Sunday.

His Red Bull team-mate Australian Mark Webber was second fastest thanks to a last-gasp lap of a competitive and tense session that featured a red flag interruption, accidents and punctures at the steamy Marina Bay circuit.

Spaniard Alonso qualified fifth for Ferrari behind the two McLarens of Britons Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, the 2009 and 2008 champions respectively, who will line up in third and fourth places on the grid.

Vettel's pole was the 26th of his career as he seeks to become the youngest double champion in Formula One history -- a feat he can achieve if he wins in Singapore and nearest rival Fernando Alonso fails to finish on the podium along with his other challengers.

Vettel was in such a strong qualifying position that he could afford to ease off and not deliver a second hot lap. "I decided to abort my second run when I made a mistake because it is very easy to damage the car so I went wide," explained Vettel, whose hands could be seen shaking with adrenalin as he stepped gingerly out of his car afterwards.

"I was quite happy with my first lap. I think the circuit ramped up at the end and I think it was possible to go faster, but I'm very happy.

"It's a very difficult track with such a long lap to get everything right. I think we learned from our mistakes that we made last year."

Cryptic Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said they were not even thinking about titles or celebrations. "The moon and stars have got to line up. We haven't booked anything for a party should we win. We're focused on the race."

Webber, who jumped from fourth to second with his final flying lap, will be expected to "drive shotgun" for Vettel in Sunday's race, protecting his team-mate from attack if they succeed in controlling the pace at the front. The Australian said: "I'm happy. It's been a very testing venue for me in the past.

"Sebastian laid it down pretty hard and fast. Obviously he was very quick. I'm satisfied given the curved ball teams can face at this track. Both cars are up there -- so for us, it's a great result."

Alonso's Ferrari team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa was sixth ahead of German Nico Rosberg and his Mercedes team-mate and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, 42.

Another German, Adrian Sutil, was ninth for Force India, one place ahead of his team-mate Briton Paul di Resta.

On another steaming hot night, the qualifying session began at 10:00pm local time under dazzling floodlights with the temperature hovering around 32 degrees Celsius and 67 percent humidity.

If it was taxing for a sell-out 75,000 crowd -- the spectators perspiring around Marina Bay -- it was a harsh test of fitness for the drivers and their teams.

The tough conditions and need for front end grip soon saw the Renault team struggling at the wrong end of the time-sheets as Brazilian Bruno Senna and Russian Vitaly Petrov scrapped to survive into Q2.

In the end, Senna surged through, but Petrov failed to make it and was top of those who failed to make the cut -- the first Renault driver this year not to reach the second mini-session. J

apanese Kamui Kobayashi lost his Sauber car over the kerbs in the chicane and flew into barriers, providing more drama as qualifying approached its climax.

His airborne exit ended his session and brought out the red flags with nine minutes remaining, in which Hamilton, out on soft tyres to secure his passage to the shootout, had to come in with a rear left puncture.

2011 Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying Results

PO.
NO.
 DRIVER
TEAM
Q3
Q2
Q1
LAPS
1
1
Sebastian Vettel
RBR-Renault
 1:44.381
 1:44.931
1:46.397
12
2
2
Mark Webber
RBR-Renault
 1:44.732
 1:45.651
1:47.332
14
3
4
Jenson Button
McLaren-Mercedes
 1:44.804
 1:45.472
1:46.956
14
4
3
Lewis Hamilton
McLaren-Mercedes
 1:44.809
 1:46.829
1:47.014
12
5
5
Fernando Alonso
Ferrari
 1:44.874
 1:45.779
1:47.054
13
6
6
Felipe Massa
Ferrari
 1:45.800
 1:45.955
1:47.945
14
7
8
Nico Rosberg
Mercedes
 1:46.013
 1:46.405
1:47.688
11
8
7
Michael Schumacher
Mercedes
 
 1:46.043
1:48.819
11
9
14
Adrian Sutil
Force India-Mercedes
 
 1:47.093
1:47.952
14
10
15
Paul di Resta
Force India-Mercedes
 
 1:47.486
1:48.022
14
11
17
Sergio Perez
Sauber-Ferrari
 
 1:47.616
1:47.717
13
12
11
Rubens Barrichello
Williams-Cosworth
 
 1:48.082
1:48.061
14
13
12
Pastor Maldonado
Williams-Cosworth
 
 1:48.270
1:49.710
16
14
18
Sebastien Buemi
STR-Ferrari
 
 1:48.634
1:48.753
11
15
9
Bruno Senna
Renault
 
 1:48.662
1:48.861
13
16
19
Jaime Alguersuari
STR-Ferrari
 
 1:49.862
1:49.588
10
17
16
Kamui Kobayashi
Sauber-Ferrari
 
 1:25.065
1:48.054
8
18
10
Vitaly Petrov
Renault
 
 
1:49.835
8
19
20
Heikki Kovalainen
Lotus-Renault
 
 
1:50.948
6
20
21
Jarno Trulli
Lotus-Renault
 
 
1:51.012
6
21
24
Timo Glock
Virgin-Cosworth
 
 
1:52.154
7
22
25
Jerome d'Ambrosio
Virgin-Cosworth
 
 
1:52.363
6
23
22
Daniel Ricciardo
HRT-Cosworth
 
 
1:52.404
6
24
23
Vitantonio Liuzzi
HRT-Cosworth
 
 
1:52.810
6
 
 
 
Q1 107% Time 1:53.844
 
 
 

 

Your Comments

 

Formula 1 News

F1plusStore

F1 Standings

Drivers
Teams
1 Lewis Hamilton 384
2 Nico Rosberg 317
3 Daniel Ricciardo 238
4 Valtteri Bottas 186
5 Sebastian Vettel 167
6 Fernando Alonso 159
1 Mercedes 701
2 Red Bull Racing 405
3 Williams F1 320
4 Ferrari 214
5 McLaren 187
6 Sahara Force India 152

View complete standings table »

F1plusStore

Last F1 Race

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Yas Island, Yas Marina Circuit
1
Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes
2
Felipe Massa
Williams F1
3
Valtteri Bottas
Williams F1
Fastest Lap

Daniel Ricciardo
1'44.496s

Pole Position

Nico Rosberg

View all »

 

Follow Us