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Sebastian Vettel takes first Ferrari F1 pole as Mercedes falters in Singapore

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Sebastian Vettel takes first Ferrari F1 pole as Mercedes falters in Singapore
Sep 19, 2015, 3:18 PM

A resurgent Sebastian Vettel set two laps good enough for pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix as he beat Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen ...

A resurgent Sebastian Vettel set two laps good enough for pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix as he beat Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying for Formula 1’s night race.

Vettel, safe in the knowledge that no one had topped his first run in Q3, set the fastest time of 1m43.885s to secure his first pole position since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix and Ferrari’s first since the German Grand Prix, 61 races ago, in 2012.

Ricciardo could not topple Vettel, but did equal his best ever qualifying position ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who was over 0.7s slower than his teammate in third place.

Top three

Vettel was delighted with the lap, achieved thanks to an upgraded engine mode and a strong rear end to the car, which has boosted his confidence in the car in qualifying.

Speaking after the session, Vettel said: “[It’s] unbelievable. I know it’s only Saturday, so obviously the main job is coming tomorrow, but I had to enjoy the moment when I heard that we made it.

“It was looking pretty good, right from the offset of qualifying, and actually from this morning. Then the car was fantastic to drive, it just got better through qualifying. I think we did the maximum today and [I’m] surprised by the margin, but I think it just came together.

“I had a near perfect lap at the end, so I’m very happy with the laps I had today and especially the last one.”

Ricciardo said: “It’s nice to be back up here and [with] a front row as well. It’s been a while so it’s good. It’s a bit of a coincidence that it’s Seb and I [on the front row], but it should be a good race tomorrow.

“Qualifying was already exciting; to have no Mercedes [drivers] up here is a surprise to everyone. I thought they were playing a few card games yesterday but they’re obviously not particularly comfortable here this weekend.

“I’m really happy and really pleased for the team because we’ve definitely made a lot of progress since Silverstone, and for me since Budapest, the car has really come along and it’s nice we can show that here. We’ll try and hang in there in the long runs tomorrow and make a race of it.”

Daniil Kvyat ended up in fourth position in the second Red Bull as the championship-leading Mercedes drivers could only manage to lock out the third row of the grid. Lewis Hamilton was 1.415s behind Vettel’s time, with Nico Rosberg a further 0.1s back, as Mercedes failed to secure pole position for the first time in 2015.

Hamilton missed out on equalling Ayrton Senna's eight consecutive poles from the 1980s, while Mercedes missed out on Williams record 24 consecutive poles, as the Anglo German team struggled to get the supersoft Pirelli tyres working at this 3.61 mile, 23 turn circuit.

Mercedes was not able to make the step from soft to supersoft tyres that their rivals made, but weren't even all that fast on the softs. While in Q1 Vettel, Ricciardo and Raikkonen all saved a set of new supersofts for the race, which will help a lot with race strategy in this 2 hour marathon Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas will start in seventh place ahead of Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and his teammate Felipe Massa. Romain Grosjean completed the top ten for Lotus.

Nico Hulkenberg will line up 11th on the grid for Force India as the German was one of a number of drivers who could not improve at the end of Q2, after Carlos Sainz hit the wall at Turn 19 late in the session and showered the circuit with debris, bringing out waved yellow flags.

Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez ended the session in 12th and 13th, ahead of Sainz, who was forced to limp back to the pits with a broken left-rear suspension. Jenson Button was the final driver to exit in Q2 and will start the race in 15th place.

Marcus Ericsson

The Sauber drivers, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, were both eliminated in Q1 after Button improved with his final run in the dying seconds of the first segment, to relegate them to 16th and 17th. Pastor Maldonado, who had a wild moment early in the session as he crossed the Anderson Bridge approaching Turn 13, ended up in 18th place in the second Lotus.

Alexander Rossi was beaten by his Manor teammate Will Stevens to 19th on the grid and the American driver also receives a five-place penalty, which cannot drop him any lower, as he needed a new gearbox following his crash in FP1.

Alexander Rossi

Speaking after Q1, Rossi said: “[The session] was good, the first set of tyres was good but the second set I didn’t maximise as much as I should have. [But] we have to focus on the positives. It’s a long race and we need to be there at the end and capitalise on anything that comes our way.”

Results:

Pos

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m43.885s

2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +0.543s

3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +0.782s

4 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull +0.860s

5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1.415s

6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +1.530s

7 Valtteri Bottas Williams +1.791s

8 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso +1.913s

9 Felipe Massa Williams +2.192s

10 Romain Grosjean Lotus +2.528s

11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India +2.420s

12 Fernando Alonso McLaren +2.443s

13 Sergio Perez Force India +2.500s

14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso +3.009s

15 Jenson Button McLaren +3.134s

16 Felipe Nasr Sauber +3.080s

17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber +3.203s

18 Pastor Maldonado Lotus +3.438s

19 Will Stevens Marussia +7.136s

20 Alexander Rossi Marussia +7.638s
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