Sebastian Vettel took his expected pole position for the Singaporean Grand Prix, but his bet to sit out the final run ended up in a thriller with Nico Rosberg coming to within a tenth on his final attempt. Romain Grosjean meanwhile continued to show strong form and qualified third.
Compared to FP3, the track temperature has gone down 5 degrees to 30°C, but ambient temperature dropped only one degree to 29°C. FP testing has meanwhile shown that the difference between supersoft and medium is around 1.5 seconds.
The first man to set a time is Pastor Maldonado. He's out on the medium tyre, just like everybody else it seems.
Rosberg though is the first to set a really competitive time that may be enough for Q2. HE posts a 1:46.288 on the mediums, followed by Hamilton who goes around 3 tenths slower. Grosjean is another tenth down, followned by Alonso, Ricciardo, Button, Rakkonen, Vergne, Bottas and Massa.
Sauber is then the first team to go out on the super soft, joined by Marussia and Caterham.
Hulkenberg subsequently records the fastest time, lighting up some alerts across the teams as they may all still have to run again on the super softs.
With 7 minutes left, Webber and Vettel are out for their first laps. Both went out on the mediums for a few laps, ending with Webber posting the fastest time overall, half a second faster than his team mate.
All others, with Rosberg first, came out again on the supersoft tyres. Hamilton went faster overall on the quicker tyre, topping Button, Alonso, Perez, Rosberg.
An ultimate improvement by Massa also meant that Di Resta was eliminated, along with Maldonado, Pic, Van der Garde, Bianchi and Chilton.
In Q2, Raikkonen is the first man out, setting a 1:44.794 on the supersofts. One minute later though, his time is beaten by Rosbeg, Hamilton, Alonso and Hulkenberg, relegating the Finn to 5th of 11 times set. Vettel, Webber, Grosjean and both McLaren's didn't set a time yet, but all are out to take advantage of a quiet moment on track about 6 minutes from the end of the session.
Vettel's lap is impressive as he goes a full second quicker than anybody else. Webber a few moment later slots into second but is still 8 tenths off of his teammate. It's clear Vettel will be the one to beat here today.
Except for Mercedes, everybody went out a second time. This led to the surprising outqualification of Hulkenberg by Gutierrez with the latter even moving through to Q3. Eliminated are Hulkenberg, Vergne, Raikkonen, Perez, Sutil and Bottas.
The start of Q3 is frighteningly predictable with Vettel setting the fastest time, going another tenth quicker than what he did in Q2. Rosberg is second, Webber third, Hamilton fourth and Grosjean 5th. Jenson Button went out on medium tyres but didn't complete a timed lap before returning to the pits. The others didn't set a time in the first 4 minutes.
Vettel in fact is so confident with his 6 tenth advantage that he's stepping out of the car after his first run, not putting in any more effort for another go. It still turned out to be nail biting moments as Rosberg came very close to that pole time but ended up in second place.
Grosjean put in a mighty effort into third, followed by Webber, Hamilton, Massa, Alonso, Button, Ricciardo and Gutierrez.
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:45.376||1:42.905||1:42.841|
|2||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:45.208||1:43.892||1:42.932|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:45.271||1:43.727||1:43.152|
|5||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||1:44.196||1:43.920||1:43.254|
|15||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:45.960||1:45.185|
|17||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:46.121|
|20||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:48.320|