After losing the driver’s championship lead two weeks ago, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari were supposed to bounce back on a street circuit in Singapore where it was felt that Mercedes would not be as dominant as they were on a power circuit such as Monza.
In Friday’s practice sessions, Ferrari were seemingly off the pace and it was Red Bull Racing that were the darlings of the time sheets leading both the Italian team as well as Mercedes. But were Merc and Ferrari masking their overall pace? Saturday’s qualifying told the tell.
The session started out with both Red Bull’s at the top on their initial runs but Lewis Hamilton managed to split the duo in 2nd place while the Ferrari’s were further down the order and Williams F1 driver, Felipe Massa, clouted the wall causing a puncture.
The McLaren’s were very racy running in the top tier along with Force India all in the top 10. The Haas F1 team were really struggling with oversteer as were Ferrari but Romain Grosjean’s clouting of the wall was a dodgy affair. Both were languishing at the bottom until final runs brought them forward to p10 and p11.
Out in Q1: Massa, Stroll, Wehrlein, Ericsson, and Magnussen.
The initial runs found both Ferrari’s at the top with Mercedes drivers, Hamilton and Bottas, in 3rd and 4th. As Red Bull made their initial runs, Verstappen took top spot while Ricciardo claimed 3rd.
A minute left in the session and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso set out for his attempt at making Q3. A strong effort put Alonso and his teammate, Vandoorne, both made it to Q3.
Out in Q2: Palmer, Ocon, Perez, Kvyat, and Grosjean.
As the session started, there seemed to be no doubt that Red Bull was a real threat for pole position and having pole in Singapore is huge because it is difficult to overtake on this street circuit.
Vettel pipped Verstappen for P1 and Ricciardo took 3rd ahead of Raikkonen and Hamilton. Lewis seemed to be struggling with the tire temps but the team said they didn’t have confidence in the sensor data leaving Lewis to manage the situation on track by feel.
The final runs began with Kimi leading the pack. Vettel spoiled the Red Bull dream of a pole position for 19-year-old Max Verstappen by taking pole away from the Dutchman.
The two Red Bull’s were 2nd and 3rd with Raikkonen in 4th. Both Mercedes were relegated to 5th and 6th.
Singapore Qualifying Results:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m39.491s –
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m39.814s 0.323s
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m39.840s 0.349s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m40.069s 0.578s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.126s 0.635s
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m40.810s 1.319s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m41.013s 1.522s
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m41.179s 1.688s
9 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Honda 1m41.398s 1.907s
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1m42.056s 2.565s
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m42.107s –
12 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m42.246s –
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m42.338s –
14 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m42.760s –
15 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m43.883s –
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m43.756s –
17 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m44.014s –
18 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m44.728s –
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber/Ferrari 1m45.059s –
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m45.570s –