Sebastian Vettel’s dominance at Singapore continued into qualifying as the championship leader set the fastest time in his one and only quick lap in Q3. After looking head and shoulders ahead of the competition all weekend, Vettel sat back in his garage after setting his quick lap at the start of the final shootout for pole. His strategy paid off, but not without a few nervy moments when Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg got within a tenth of a second of his fellow German to take second. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean will start from third, while his teammate Kimi Raikkonen felt the effects of a bad back and fell out of the running in Q2.
There was disappointment for Mark Webber, who failed to take advantage of Red Bull’s superiority and qualified in fourth. With his nearest challengers Lewis Hamilton down in fifth and Fernando Alonso behind teammate Felipe Massa in seventh, it now looks a matter of when rather than if Vettel sews up a fourth-consecutive drivers’ title. Vettel, though, admits that there was some tension at watching his advantage in qualifying being slowly eroded.
“It was a strange feeling at the end of Q3,” he said, according to Formula1.com. “It’s already strange when you stand in the garage with only two minutes left in the session, but much worse when you see the others making their final attempt and there’s nothing you can do!”
On a track that is difficult to overtake, Vettel is a massive favorite to claim his third straight win under the lights in Singapore. And Rosberg, while delighted to have qualified in second, conceded that his chances of moving ahead of Vettel on Sunday are remote.
“It was so close to beating Sebastian to pole this evening but I'm still really happy to have achieved second place,” he explained. “I doubt if we have enough performance to beat Sebastian but I'll do my best to have a good start and then we'll see how it goes from there.”
Alonso has spent much of the weekend reaffirming his commitment to Ferrari in the face of comments from McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh that he wanted to bring the Spaniard back to the team. However, Alonso admitted to feeling down at Ferrari’s current predicament.
"We came here and we are maybe fourth fastest team," he said, according to BBC Sport. "It's sad news for us, but [there is] nothing we can do apart from preparing a perfect race."
There was disappointment too for the man set to become Alonso’s teammate at Ferrari next season. Yet Raikkonen confirmed that he will take part in the race, despite being forced to take painkilling injections to deal with his back ailment.
“Unfortunately today didn’t go to plan as the issue with my back meant I couldn’t really drive properly this morning, so we didn’t get everything done like we wanted in the practice session,” he lamented. “It’s still quite painful and there wasn’t much more I could do in qualifying when you take that combination of things into account.”
The rest of the top 10 on the grid will be made up by McLaren’s Jenson Button, Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Gutierrez in the Sauber.
Where to watch: The Formula One Singapore Grand Prix will get underway at 8 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the NBC Sports Network, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.