F1 2014 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying result: Hamilton claims pole position
PUBLISHED: 15:09 20 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:44 21 September 2014
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton will start the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix from pole position after going quickest in a thrilling qualifying session – beating Nico Rosberg by 7/1000ths of a second.
Marina Bay – the stats you need
* Race distance: 61 laps (308.828km/189.541 miles)
* Start time: 20:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)
* Circuit length: 5.065km/3.148 miles
* 2013 winner: Sebastian Vettel
* 2013 pole: Sebastian Vettel
* Lap record: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB9) 1m48.574s (167.574km/h)
The 29-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas racer from Hertfordshire was fastest around the Marina Bay Street Circuit ahead of colleague Nico Rosberg, as the Silver Arrows team completed another dramatic front row lockout.
Hamilton made a mistake at the start of his final hot lap, locking up at Turn One. However, he recovered magnificently to put in storming second and third sectors to pip his Mercedes rival to pole.
It was Hamilton’s sixth pole position of 2014 and the team’s 13th from 14 races this year. It also helped the Silver Arrows pair to the seventh all-Mercedes front row of the season and the third in a row.
Red Bull racer Daniel Ricciardo will line-up third on the starting grid for Sunday’s Singapore night race, with Sebastial Vettel also on the second row for Red Bull.
Fernando Alonso qualified fifth for Ferrari in the provisional results, with Felipe Massa sixth and the unlucky Kimi Raikkonen seventh after having an issue with his Ferrari.
Valtteri Bottas was eighth for Williams with the top 10 completed by McLaren’s great Dane Kevin Magnussen and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.
Hamilton could only manage sixth on a new set of tyres with his first banker lap in Q3, as Williams driver Felipe Massa surprised the Mercedes and Ferrari teams with the quickest first timed lap of the final qualifying session with a 1m 46.007s.
Rosberg was seventh after his first run in Q3, with just half a second covering the top eight at that stage.
2014 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying result
Provisional top 10 from Marina Bay:
1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
3 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
4 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
5 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
6 Felipe Massa (Williams)
7 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
8 Valtteri Bottas (Williams)
9 Kevin Magnussen (McLaren)
10 Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)-
Daniel Ricciardo beat Massa’s earlier time for provisional pole for Red Bull with a 1m 45.854s.
Rosberg eclipsed Ricciardo’s effort with a 1m 45.688s, but was then pipped by Hamilton, who went seven-thousandths of a second quicker with a 1m 45.681s for P1.
On being told he had been beaten to pole by seven thousandths of a second, Rosberg cried “damn it” over the team radio. The gap between the two of 0.007s equates to just 33.5cm around the 5.065km lap.
Afterwards Hamilton said: “That was one of the most exciting qualifying sessions I can remember.”
Of his pole lap, he added: “I lost a lot of time at the beginning of my last lap and at that point I thought pole was lost. But I just kept going and managed to pull some time back.
“As a driver, through the weekend you plan to have the last lap in qualifying as your best. By that time the track has improved and you should have the settings as close to their optimum as they’re going to get.
“But there was so much happening out there and I was just trying not to look at what was going on around me.
“I was surprised by how close everyone was – the Red Bulls and Ferraris looked quick all day – and it was really fun to be a part of that session.”
Looking ahead to the Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton added: “It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow.
“Coming into the weekend we had an opinion about how the tyres would behave, but the long runs yesterday [Friday] changed all that.
“Trying to manage them will be a big challenge but hopefully it will be an entertaining one for the fans.
“I’m on the clean side of the track so I’m hoping for a clean start and a strong race.”
After having pole cruelly snatched from him at the very end, Rosberg congratulated his Mercedes team-mate.
Rosberg said: “In general that was the most difficult qualifying session of my career so far. It was really tough to find my rhythm.
“I had to change my brakes for qualifying and then had to find the right balance in the early runs which was a struggle. I just thought, “that’s it, you will be 6th or 7th”.
“Then, at the end, I was really happy with the balance and feeling good. When I heard that Lewis was that tiny margin quicker I thought “damn”! I directly reviewed my lap and thought there were so many places to gain seven-thousandths of a second – especially in the last corner.
“But in the end he did seven-thousandths of a better job today, so fair play to him.
“P2 is still good for tomorrow’s race and I’m focused on having a good start. Last year I overtook Sebastian at Turn One, so it’s definitely possible to win from here.
“It’s going to be all about managing the tyres and I learned some good lessons in my long runs yesterday, so I hope it will be an exciting race for the fans.”
Mercedes and the two Ferrari drivers battled for supremacy in Q2, with Hertfordshire-born 2008 F1 world champion Hamilton going quickest on the first runs with a lap of 1m 46.287s, after Raikkonen had earlier posted a 1m 46.359s and Alonso a time of 1m 46.328s.
Just 0.25 seconds separated the top five drivers after the first runs of Q2, with Rosberg down in sixth.
Hamilton didn’t venture out again, opting to save tyres, but Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg did take to the track again and went purple in the first sector.
World championship leader Rosberg eventually improved his time to take P1 by a comfortable margin with a lap of 1m 45.825s.
In the Q2 drop zone – and missing the top 10 shootout – were Jenson Button, Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber star Esteban Gutierrez, Mexican Force India ace Sergio Perez and Lotus man Romain Grosjean
Ferrari topped the timesheets in Q1 with Kimi Raikkonen going fastest ahead of Fernando Alonso.
Hamilton was third quickest with a lap of 1m 46.921s and Button fourth for McLaren. Nico Rosberg was down in sixth place on a 1m 47.244s.
Among the Q1 casualties were Adrian Sutil, Pastor Maldonado and Jules Bianchi.
Kamui Kobayashi, Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson also failed to reach Q2.
The 2014 Singapore Grand Prix starts at 1pm UK time on Sunday.
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