Vettel takes dominant pole in Singapore for Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel on pole for Ferrari

Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel was the only driver to get into the 1m43sec bracket and took pole position by over 1/2-second from Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo for the Singapore GP.

Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) and Daniel Kvyat (Red Bull) will start 3rd and 4th making the first two rows all Ferrari and Red Bull.

With his Mercedes power advantage negated on the tight Singapore streets, Lewis Hamilton will start 5th and Vettel prevented him from beating Ayrton Senna's consecutive pole streak.

It was Vettel's 46th career F1 pole and his first since 2013 when his then Red Bull car was competitive and he ends an unbroken run of 23 consecutive races on pole for Mercedes.

This is Vettel's first pole at the wheel of a Ferrari.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Vettel set the pace throughout Q2 and Q3, and went 4/10th faster on his final run to secure Ferrari's first pole position since the 2012 German GP.

Nico Rosberg rounded out the top six, 0.115s slower than Mercedes teammate Hamilton.

The Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen split the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas in seventh and Felipe Massa in ninth.

Romain Grosjean's Lotus rounded out the top 10.

Alexander Rossi, making his F1 debut this weekend, led teammate Will Stevens after the first runs in Q1, but the American ended up half a second behind from Stevens at the end. Still, not a bad result for his first F1 race and on a track he never raced on.


Mercedes GP

Without an engine advantage Hamilton was regulated to the third row with his teammate
Without an engine advantage Hamilton was regulated to the third row with his teammate

Lewis Hamilton (5th, 1:45.300): "It is what it is today; I enjoyed it out there but we just didn't have the pace. We weren't surprised with the pace of the Ferrari as it was like that the whole weekend. We don't know the reason why we weren't as quick today, we obviously didn't get the tyres switched on like everybody else did, but we need to look into it. We haven't lost any performance on the car compared to two weeks ago but the guys in front were just too fast today. Tomorrow is going to be hard; it's difficult to overtake but I'm still excited, I'll be pushing hard and will do everything I can to make up positions."

Nico Rosberg (6th, 1:45.415): "The pace of the Ferrari is very impressive, starting from P6 is really frustrating. I had no grip in the corners, which was very strange. But there is a lot to play for tomorrow. Firstly I will work on overtaking Lewis, it's very important for me to finish ahead of him. It seems that the front runners are also much quicker on high fuel from what we have seen on Friday. I tried a few things on the set up, but we didn't really find out why we are so slow this weekend. It's strange, until now we were quick on every track. But coming now to Singapore and seeing the difference to the quickest cars, is really not good."

Paddy Lowe: "First of all, we must congratulate Ferrari and especially Sebastian on a fantastic qualifying performance today. Both Ferrari and Red Bull did a great job and that left us on row three of the grid, which are not the positions we have been used to recently. There is clearly something that we have not got right this weekend, as we have been off the pace since practice began yesterday – in spite of Lewis and Nico pushing the car right to the limit. We have been working hard on the problem through all three sessions, including final adjustments up to and during qualifying, but so far we have not understood the underlying reason for our lack of performance this weekend. We all know that the points are scored tomorrow, and we will be aiming to fight back in race conditions, but we also need to be realistic about where we stand this weekend."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "P5 and P6 certainly doesn't reflect our expectations or the results we have been used to in recent seasons. Clearly, our car has not lost a huge amount of performance from one weekend to the next, but we just haven't got to grips with the circuit this weekend. Already yesterday we were struggling and we just couldn't pull out the lap time today; the drivers were on the edge and closely matched but we simply lacked grip compared to Ferrari and Red Bull, who were very impressive indeed. It looks like we have taken a wrong turn somewhere in the set-up or how we approached this weekend, but we will need to do some careful analysis to understand why that has happened. For now, our focus is a tough race tomorrow night. On a circuit which is so tough for the cars and drivers, and where overtaking is very difficult, we shouldn't expect miracles tomorrow. It's going to be a day for damage limitation."

Red Bull-Renault

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Daniel Ricciardo (2nd, 1:44.428): "It's really nice to be back up here on the front row; it's been a while and it's a bit of coincidence that it's Seb and I together, but it should be a good race. Qualifying was exciting and to have no Mercedes up here is a surprise, so we will definitely try to capitalize on that – it would be nice to be back in the press conference tomorrow! I'm really happy for the team as we have definitely made a load of progress, since Silverstone and particularly since Budapest. Today's result backs up the confidence I had in the car. We'll be aiming for the win, as that's where the points are and the champagne is. Seb put himself out of reach, so we are second best for today and we'll try and go one better tomorrow. It's always a challenge here and you need to have confidence in the car, because it's hot and physical and a test for the driver which makes it fun. I'm happy with the way the weekend has gone so far."

Daniil Kvyat (4th, 1:44.745): "I'm happy with today's qualifying. I think it's a good place to start the race tomorrow. Obviously as a driver you always want more but we'll do our best to get as many points in the race as we can. The red cars are looking strong but we will take the fight to them during the race. It's a long race and we will have to be patient. The chassis is behaving really well and the team have done a great job with the car."

Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "That was a great performance from both our drivers. Daniel lining up alongside Sebastian on the front row of the grid is the perfect place to be starting, backed up by Dany on the second row. Remarkably, we are ahead of both Mercedes, which is down to a great team performance. Hopefully we can now turn these strong grid positions into a good points haul tomorrow."


Valtteri Bottas (7th, 1:45.676):

Felipe Massa (9th, 1:46.077):

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering:


Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:43.885):

Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:44.667):

Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal:


Fernando Alonso (12th, 1:46.328):

Jenson Button (15th, 1:47.019):

Eric Boullier, Racing Director:

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda:

Force India-Mercedes

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Nico Hulkenberg (11th, 1:46.305): "It's a bit disappointing not to make the top ten, but at the same time I'm confident we can have a good race from P11. For whatever reason we didn't have the harmony or performance we expected and I wasn't as happy with the balance as I was yesterday. I was chasing the set-up in final practice and we made some changes before qualifying, but we still couldn't find the sweet spot. The car was quite snappy with some oversteer and it wasn't easy to get a tidy lap together. For tomorrow, the strategy decisions will be critical and we've seen over the years how unpredictable this place can be. It's always a tough race with high tyre degradation, especially the rears, and all the teams around us look quite evenly matched. We need to keep out of trouble and make the right decisions with the strategy."

Sergio Perez (13th, 1:46.385): "I am disappointed as I think Q3 was possible. The yellow flag at the end of Q2 meant I couldn't finish what would have been my best lap, which is a shame, but sometimes things don't go your way. I don't think P13 reflects our true pace because we've done a very good job so far this weekend and we are continuing to take big steps forward. For tomorrow, there is plenty to fight for and it's a long race on a street circuit where anything can happen. Starting in the middle of the pack will be a challenge because overtaking is not easy here, but we will try and overcome this with a good strategy. We will need to be ready to maximise every opportunity."

Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "Our performance level yesterday suggested we would be able to fight for the top ten, but ultimately we weren't able to deliver on that potential today. Nico's laps were clean enough, but he wasn't comfortable with the balance and had to settle for P11. Sergio was unlucky with the yellow flag in the final moments of Q2, which impacted on what was shaping up to be his quickest lap. In the end he was just eight hundredths of a second behind Nico. Despite starting outside the top ten, I believe there is still everything to play for. Qualifying is only half the battle and this race is tough on the drivers and the cars. We need to sensible and take our chances to make sure we come away with some good points."

Toro Rosso-Renault

Max Verstappen (8th, 1:45.798): "I'm satisfied with today's P8. The most important is that we are in front of our main competitors, Lotus and Force India. I have to say that I'm really happy with my lap, especially after FP3, where we were struggling a bit with the tyres, but we managed to turn it around very quickly and have a very good qualifying session. We really maximised today's result. Now I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow, there will definitely be some good fights!"

Carlos Sainz (14th, 1:46.894): "A disappointing way to end what was being a good qualifying session. We knew we had a car good enough to get into Q3 – my lap was actually three or four tenths quicker than the limit to get into the top ten… It's a shame that I didn't know that when I was in the car. I thought it was going to be very tight so I was pushing to the limit and unfortunately made a mistake, touching the wall. It's something to learn from and now we just need to look forward to tomorrow, that's when the points are given."

Ben Waterhouse, Deputy Technical Director: "We haven't had the smoothest of weekends and we've been struggling a bit at times, but after a lot of work and effort by the team we managed to get the car into a really good position and we showed good performance today. Max's P8 is an excellent result, I think it's about everything we could've expected from him. On the other hand, it's disappointing to see Carlos starting from P14 because he showed he had the pace and he was on for a Q3 lap, but unfortunately he hit the wall. We've shown that we've got good pace, so we can certainly look forward to tomorrow. I think Max is on line for hopefully a very good result and for Carlos it will be difficult, as it's always a bit of a challenge here, but the target is to get him back into the points positions."


Romain Grosjean (10th, 1:46.413): "We had to work hard to get into Q3, both on the track in the session and working with my engineers beforehand. It's something of a surprise that it all worked and we made it into Q3, so I'm pretty happy. I was pushing really hard out there today; I was getting up close and personal with some of the walls, but I think my wife will forgive me!"

Pastor Maldonado (18th, 1:47.323): "It was a tough session and we weren't really able to get the maximum out of the tyres, which is something we've struggled with all weekend. Lack of grip was the main problem out there and it certainly made things slippery for us. Tomorrow's the race and we can certainly recover some positions, especially as we will have fresh tyres relative to the cars in front of us."

Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "Good scope for solid points. We've got mixed feelings after today's qualifying. Pastor wasn't able to get a good enough lap to get through Q1 but on the other side of the garage Romain was able to do a terrific job to get into the top ten. Romain and his engineers worked hard since yesterday to find improvement to their car and have really made a difference with some subtle changes which have been sufficient to get more out of the super soft tyre this evening. It's a very long race where there is a lot of tyre degradation to consider. It's highly unlikely we'll see any one-stop strategies so we're looking between two and three stops. Tyre management, strategy and timing will all play their part. We've got good scope for a solid points haul."


Will Stevens (19th, 1:51.021): If I’m honest, this weekend has been the most difficult of the season so far. We got off to a good start in FP1, but then I made a mistake at the start of FP2 and it has really set me back. I haven’t raced here in Singapore before, so it was important to do as many laps as possible in FP3. We managed a long run this morning, which helped me reacquaint myself with the circuit. I knew that I had the time in me and then I had the opportunity to push in the last stint. I’m now a lot more optimistic about tomorrow and looking forward to racing here for the first time.

Alexander Rossi (20th, 1:51.523): I’m pretty comfortable with the car and the circuit, but my target was to qualify ahead of my new team-mate, so anything short of that is disappointing. I was quick all morning, and in my first qualifying run, but I didn’t make the most of my second run; we didn’t improve enough. As for tomorrow, it’s going to be a tough race but I’ve waited a long time for this moment and I’m very excited to get started.

John Booth, Team Principal It’s fair to say that Will has had a tough weekend up until qualifying, but this afternoon he dug deep and pulled a fantastic lap out of the bag. This is his first time out here and although it has taken a while to get into the groove, I think he is now in a position where he can have a good race tomorrow. Up until qualifying, it looked as if Alex might have the edge. He knows the circuit from GP2 but it’s his first time here in a Formula 1 car and of course it’s a big weekend for him in general. What is clear is that we can expect to see some close racing between the pair, tomorrow and going forward, so we’re looking to that.


Marcus Ericsson (car number 9) It was a disappointing qualifying for me, especially after my strong FP3. We would definitely have expected more. It was very tight in Q1. I was a bit unlucky with traffic, which compromised my performance. Now we need to analyse what we could have done differently and learn from that. We will start the race from the back, which is not ideal for a street track. Tomorrow is a new day – we are going to fight as much as we can.

Felipe Nasr (car number 12):
As a team and also myself, we kind of expected to finish qualifying some positions higher. I have been struggling a lot to get the tyres to work. This has been my main limitation on the supersoft tyres. It was difficult to have a good balance on the car, and it seemed that everyone else picked up more pace in combination with the track evolution. It was also a very close competition. Now I will focus on the race tomorrow.

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal:
A disappointing result. We expected more after FP3. However, the data from the initial analysis of the new aerodynamic package means we remain confident. We knew that the potential from this update could not be fully exploited on this circuit due to the track layout. The most important thing here in Singapore is to finish the race.


Pos Driver Car Time Behind
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari/Ferrari 1m43.885s 0.000s
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m44.428s 0.543s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari/Ferrari 1m44.667s 0.782s
4 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m44.745s 0.860s
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes/Mercedes 1m45.300s 1.415s
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes/Mercedes 1m45.415s 1.530s
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m45.676s 1.791s
8 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m45.798s 1.913s
9 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m46.077s 2.192s
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m46.413s 2.528s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m46.305s 2.420s
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m46.328s 2.443s
13 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m46.385s 2.500s
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1m46.894s 3.009s
15 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m47.019s 3.134s
16 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m46.965s 3.080s
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m47.088s 3.203s
18 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m47.323s 3.438s
19 Will Stevens* Marussia/Ferrari 1m51.021s 7.136s
20 Alexander Rossi* Marussia/Ferrari 1m51.523s 7.638s

*5-place grid penalty

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