Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 SINGAPORE GP: VETTEL TAKES HIS FIRST POLE IN "RED"

Sebastian Vettel took his first pole position as a Ferrari driver and the team’s first since the German Grand Prix of 2012 with a dominant performance in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix. The German will be joined on the front row by former Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian taking his best qualifying position since last year’s Chinese Grand Prix. Kimi Räikkönen was third fastest for Ferrari ahead of the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat as Mercedes were soundly beaten. Lewis Hamilton was fifth, though he was almost 1.5s behind Vettel. Nico Rosberg was sixth.

At the bottom end of the Q1 order, the Manors of Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi were eliminated in P19 and P20 respectively, with Pastor Maldonado and the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr also exiting at this stage. Jenson Button made it through in P15, though he was just 0.074 ahead of Nasr.

At the end of Q2 opening salvoes, in the drop zone were Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, followed by Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz JR. and Jenson Button. No one escaped the drop zaone, though Hulkenberg climbed to P11, ahead of Alonso, Perez, Sainz and Button. Sainz prevented any further improvements when he clipped the wall and scattered debris across the track. At the top of the order the Ferraris and Red Bulls opted to forego a second run.

The first runs in Q3 saw Vettel quickest once more, with the German setting an opening run time of 1:44.305 to sit ahead of former Red bull team-mate Ricciardo who was three tenths adrift of the four-time world champion. Räikkönen was third ahead of Kvyat with Rosberg fifth. Hamilton, meanwhile, was down in ninth place having run wide over a kerb at Turn Seven, an error that forced him to abort his first flying lap.

In the end, Vettel’s opening lap was good enough. Ricciardo improved but couldn’t pass the Ferrari driver’s benchmarch and he settled for second. Vettel got down to a 1:43.885s, 0.543s clear of the Red Bull driver to take his first pole position since Brazil 2012. Raikkonen and Kvyat had to settle for third and fourth with Hamilton and Rosberg to start the Mercedes from row three. Behind them Bottas took seventh ahead of Verstappen, Massa and Grosjean.

2015 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING
 P.     DRIVER         TEAM          TIME        GAP  
 1. Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari      1:43.885
 2. Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull     1:44.428   +  0.543
 3. Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari      1:44.667   +  0.782
 4. Daniil Kvyat      Red Bull     1:44.745   +  0.860
 5. Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes AMG 1:45.300   +  1.415
 6. Nico Rosberg      Mercedes AMG 1:45.415   +  1.530
 7. Valtteri Bottas   Williams     1:45.676   +  1.791
 8. Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso   1:45.798   +  1.913
 9. Felipe Massa      Williams     1:46.077   +  2.192
10. Romain Grosjean   Lotus        1m46.413   +  2.528
    Q2 Fastest time: Sebastian Vettel 1:44.743        
11. Nico Hulkenberg   Force India  1:46.305   +  2.420
12. Fernando Alonso   McLaren      1:46.328   +  2.443
13. Sergio Perez      Force India  1:46.385   +  2.500
14. Carlos Sainz      Toro Rosso   1:46.894   +  3.009
15. Jenson Button     McLaren      1:47.019   +  3.134
    Q1 Fastest time: Daniil Kvyat 1:45.340              
16. Felipe Nasr       Sauber       1:46.965   +  3.080
17. Marcus Ericsson   Sauber       1:47.088   +  3.203
18. Pastor Maldonado  Lotus        1:47.323   +  3.435
19. Will Stevens      Manor        1:51.021   +  7.136
20. Alexander Rossi   Manor        1:51.523   +  7.638
    107% time: 1:52.714

* 2014 Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes AMG - 1:45.681