Alonso beats Vettel to Singapore pole

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Singapore, Marina Bay Street Circuitsg

Fernando Alonso has secured pole position for the Singapore GP at the Marina Bay circuit. Sebastian Vettel, the pole favourite failed to confirm but is still in second place, ahead of Hamilton, Button and championship leader Mark Webber.

Qualifying under dark skies and on a damp track was always going to be an interesting session. Michael Schumacher started the action as he oversteered badly through turn 1. That must have been his 4th or 5th mistake this weekend in that corner. Throttling too much while on the artificial grass is not a wise thing to do.

10 minutes into the session, Massa stops along the track, saying to his team that it is probably the engine that failed him. As he halted in the middle of the track, soon the session is red flagged. A crane is needed to get the car off the track, and a restart is given 5 minutes later. There is 10:27 left in Q1.

At that time, Vettel is on top of the timesheets, ahead of Alonso, Webber and Button. Alguersuari is a nice 5th after doing well throughout all practice sessions.

With Hulkenberg back on track, Schumacher meanwhile simply gets out of the car. He is currently 7th.

With 2 minutes left on the clock, Alonso goes fastest, improving Vettel by 4 tenth while Senna simultaneously spins his car and causes a yellow flag for 30 seconds, before find the track space to turn his car around and continue his session.

None of the championship contenders attempt more laps, but the new teams are running intensely in the alst minutes. For a while it looked like both Virgin cars would beat the Lotuses, but Heikki Kovalainen thought otherwise, and put himself in between Glock and Di Grassi for tomorrow's starting grid.

Out are therefore Glock, Kovalainen, Di Grasi, Trulli, Klien, Senna and Massa.

As soon as Q2 goes green, the Renaults and Red Bulls are on track, soon followed by the rest of the field.

As early as on his outlap, Alonso is already complaining of an engine problem, and while starting a flying lap, he is quickly called back into the pits by his team to arrange it. He is allowed to run just one single flying lap before arranging the problem. These last races are worrying for Alonso, as engine problems early on in the season not puts him in a position where all engines have been used. The Renaults for instance both are running only their 6th engine, having 2 fresh ones left for the remainder of the season.

After his flying lap, Alonso is just 8th and might be in trouble if Ferrari fail to fix the problem before the end of Q2. Hamilton meanwhile set the fastest lap of Singapore yet, rounding the track in 1:46.042. Vettel is down by 0.443s, really the first time this weekend that Vettel is topped after setting a representative lap.

With 5 minutes to go, Alonso is back on track after the team apparently reset the engine settings. After running half a lap, he reports "we're ok now", and 3 minutes later Alonso is on top of the timesheets, another 2 tenths quicker than Hamilton.

Only for 30 seconds though as Vettel is back on track and takes the lead again after setting a 1:45.561.

From the cars on track at the end of the session, only Schumacher is able to improve and moves up to 9th, securing his place in Q3 along with his teammate.

Eliminated are Alguersuari, Hulkenberg, Petrov, Buemi, Heidfeld, Sutil and Liuzzi.

In Q3, Button is the first man to put in a lap, ahead of his teammate and Alonso. Only Kubica and Kobayashi have chosen not to go out immediately. Alonso goes fastest of the first attempts, ahead of Hamilton, Webber and Button. Vettel ruined his first lap in sector two and is only 7th after setting the quickest first sector.

Interestingly, Barrichello's first attempt was with fuel for the complete session, as he is not refuelled after his first flying lap.

Vettel's flying lap was good, but not good enough to beat Alonso who secures pole position. Vettel is in second still, ahead of Hamilton and Button. Mark Webber, the championship leader is 5th.

Results

Pos.DriverTeamTimeLaps
1.Fernando AlonsoFerrari01:45.39021
2.Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing01:45.45717
3.Lewis HamiltonMcLaren01:45.57118
4.Jenson ButtonMcLaren01:45.94418
5.Mark WebberRed Bull Racing01:45.97719
6.Rubens BarrichelloWilliams01:46.23622
7.Nico RosbergMercedes Grand Prix01:46.44318
8.Robert KubicaRenault01:46.59315
9.Michael SchumacherMercedes Grand Prix01:46.70217
10.Kamui KobayashiSauber01:47.88418
11.Jaime AlguersuariScuderia Toro Rosso01:47.66616
12.Nico HulkenbergWilliams01:47.67413
13.Vitaly PetrovRenault01:48.16513
14.Sebastien BuemiScuderia Toro Rosso01:48.50216
15.Nick HeidfeldSauber01:48.55716
16.Adrian SutilForce India F101:48.89914
17.Vitantonio LiuzziForce India F101:48.96111
18.Timo GlockVirgin Racing01:50.7219
19.Heikki KovalainenLotus F101:50.9159
20.Lucas Di GrassiVirgin Racing01:51.1079
21.Jarno TrulliLotus F101:51.64110
22.Christian KlienHRT F1 Team01:52.9467
23.Bruno SennaHRT F1 Team01:54.1749
24.Felipe MassaFerrarino time2