F1 2012 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying result: Hamilton claims pole position
PUBLISHED: 15:07 22 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:09 22 September 2012
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton will start the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix from pole position - his fifth pole of the season.
The 27-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racer from Hertfordshire was fastest around the Marina Bay circuit in qualifying for the sport’s night race.
He claimed provisional pole position with an opening flying lap in Q3 of 1m 46.362s ahead of McLaren teammate Jenson Button, who clocked a 1m 47.238s.
The McLaren pitwall told Hamilton: “Great lap, Lewis. You’re P1 and fastest in all three sectors.”
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was third with a time of 1m 47.694s after the first runs.
Singapore Grand Prix facts
* Race distance: 61 laps (192.208 miles/309.316km)
* Circuit length: 3.152 miles/5.073 km
* 2011 winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) 61 laps in 1hr 59m 06.757s
* 2011 pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) 1m 44.381s (174.962km/h)
* Lap record: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari F2008) 1m 45.599s (172.740km/h)
Pastor Maldonado went quicker than Button in his Williams late on with a 1m 46.804s to snatch second place and a front row start alongside Hamilton.
Vettel will line up third on the grid, with Button completing the second row. World championship leader Fernando Alonso qualified fifth for Ferrari in the qualifying results, while Scot Paul di Resta will start sixth.
Mark Webber, Romain Grosjean, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg completed the Q3 top 10, neither Mercedes driver setting a fastest lap.
Italian Grand Prix winner Hamilton had earlier posted an opening hot lap of 1m 46.665s around the floodlit street circuit to lead the way in Q2 by 0.126s from Vettel’s Red Bull.
The Stevenage-born driver was told over the McLaren radio: “Lewis, you are still P1. You’re 0.1s quicker than Vettel and you’re fastest in every sector except the first.
Among the drivers in the Q2 drop zone were Nico Hulkenberg, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Lotus star Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez.
Hamilton went top of the timesheets in Q1 at one stage on soft tyres with a lap of 1m 48.285s, which was fractionally faster than Vettel at that point.
The McLaren pitwall told Lewis: “That was a fantastic lap. You were comfortably fastest when you set it. We’re in a good position.”
With a fast flying lap under his belt, Hamilton was told: “We’re not going out again, so we’ll get you ready for Q2.”
The 2008 F1 world champion eventually dropped down the Q1 standings to finish fifth as the track evolved in the closing minutes of the session and the faster super-soft tyres came into their own.
Romain Grosjean recorded a lap of 1m 47.688s to top the qualifying results for Lotus in the opening 20-minute session.
But it was Hamilton who dominated Q3 when it counted – qualifying almost half a second faster than the rest as he chases his fourth victory of the F1 season.
The 2012 Singapore Grand Prix starts at 1pm UK time on Sunday.