Qualifying: Advantage Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has added Singapore to his long list of pole positions and is consequently on match point for the title tomorrow.
Sebastian Vettel took a major step today towards becoming the youngest driver to successfully defend a world championship title in Formula One history.
The German imperiously claimed pole position in Singapore and will thus be starting from the safest place on tomorrow's grid. His flying lap of 1:44.381 minutes was around four-tenths of a second faster than the rest of the field.
And to complete his joy, he has the services of team-mate Mark Webber as a buffer. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will start from the second row. Like Vettel, fourth-placed Hamilton decided not to go out for a second run in the final round of qualifying.
Vettel's closest championship pursuer Fernando Alonso will start from a disappointing fifth place, with team-mate Felipe Massa lining up alongside. Nico Rosberg earned himself the seventh slot on the grid, while Michael Schumacher, Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta who make up the rest of the Top Ten decided to save their tyres in Q3.
Kamui Kobayashi stopped the proceedings in Q2 when he took the kerbs in the chicane too aggressively and spun off track. Until this interruption, Vettel, Button, Webber and Alonso were safely occupying the first four positions and decided they had done enough. Meanwhile, Hamilton was cutting it fine. He was in eighth place and was all set to post a hot lap when he had a right rear puncture – but he still managed to stay out of the drop zone.
There was a tight scrap for tenth place which di Resta won narrowly from Sergio Perez. Likewise failing to make the cut were Rubens Barrichello, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastien Buemi, Bruno Senna, Jaime Alguersuari and the stricken Kobayashi.
Renault have been experiencing some difficulty on street circuits this year, so it was no surprise that it was Vitaly Petrov's turn this time to join the newcomers for an early bath. He suffered the indignity of qualifying 18th when team-mate Bruno Senna improved his position to 15th at the last moment, clocking a lap one second faster than the Russian.
Taking the honours amongst the new outfits this time was Heikki Kovalainen who qualified 19th . He was followed by Lotus team-mate Jarno Trull and the Virgins of Timo Glock and Jerome D'Ambrosio. In the battle of the HRT tail-enders, Daniel Ricciardo prevailed over Tonio Liuzzi.