Vettel spoils Red Bull bid for pole at Singapore GP

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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 –

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Brilliant pole lap from Seb, Lewis did as well as he could. Its going to be a difficult race for him tomorrow and the lead of the championship will swap back to Seb. Hope Lewis can get the title but its going to be back and forth for the rest of the season

Negative Camber

There was an on-board of Lewis really working the knobs and selecting a gear in the corner, wonder what that was about? He was trying everything he could to get something out of the Merc. I suspect his race pace will be better.


I only got to see Q2 and Q3, but that was pretty exciting. The street circuits certainly require full commitment from the drivers. Seeing both Raikkonen and Vettel had clipped the wall on the way to 4th and pole, respectively, certainly emphasised that they were leaving nothing on the table. I was very pleased to see the two RBR’s running so strongly this weekend, and am wondering if Vettel and the Ferrari team will have all the pace and strategies required to keep both behind him? It should be a great race to watch, and to track the strategies of… Read more »


Will Bernie be happy that his ‘big tyre’ spec cars delivered a pole lap thst is 3.1sec faster than last years spec, and that all ten Q3 cars topped last years pole time?
Or grumpy because its still not 5 or 6 sec per lap faster?


Both McLaren’s made Q3, with no failures and no grid penalties, which may be encouraging for STR next year, (and for McLaren for the rest of this year? ).
But is the Renault p.u going to be enough to make up the difference between the current McLaren pace of 1.7 to 1.9 sec off pole, and the RBR pace which is just over 0.3 sec off pole?
I have my doubts………

Negative Camber

Indeed. It will be interesting to see if McLaren with a Renault will instantly take fight to Red Bull given their chassis and Alonso. However, the goal isn’t to beat Red Bull, it’s to beat Merc and for that, I am not sure ditching Honda is the best move but then again, they did try for 3 years. IT will be interesting to see Red Bull, McLaren and Renault works team all battle and who has best chassis. :)


For me, the start/first lap is going to be *very* interesting. Max already trying to get inside Seb’s head. Hope it doesn’t end in tears, but Max has absolutely nothing to lose at this point in the season. If he gets a good start it’s going to be elbows-out big time. Ricciardo may also try and get cute since he “accepted a bit of defeat” yesterday. All in all, it can’t bother Hamilton to much to be starting where he is starting. Who knows, he could be in first after the first lap :-)


Dang, did I call that or what? Ya, ok, Kimi caused, it, but Verstappen involved and Hamilton in the lead.

Brundle whining that it shouldn’t be a safety car start (I think I can surmise why) and what do we have after the carnage in the first turn? A safety car start.