Saturday, September 22, 2012

Qualifying: Hamilton Secures Singapore Pole

Lewis Hamilton claimed a dominant pole position in Singapore where he'll be joined by Pastor Maldonado on the front row of the grid

Despite Sebastian Vettel having been quickest in all three practice sessions, the German was not able to make it count when it mattered most. He'll be joined on the second row by Jenson Button while Fernando Alonso and Paul di Resta make up the third row ahead of Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean.

Qualifying Report
It was dry in Singapore with an ambient temperature of 28C and the track at 30C with very high humidity. Teams all strapped on the Soft (prime) tyre to do multiple laps.
Romain Grosjean set the fastest early time with a 1:50.733, edged down by Pastor Maldonado with a 1:49.976, before Fernando Alonso took over at the top with a 1:49.511. Maldonado hadn't finished, though, and came back with a 1:49.494.
Many of the drivers were finding the edge of adhesion, Perez missed the chicane at Turn 10, Nico Rosberg rallycrossed across the kerbs at Turn 10, Raikkonen went on into the escape road at Turn 7, Lewis Hamilton tried to set a fast lap but locked up the fronts and missed Turn 1. Bruno Senna was flirting with the barrier again after stopping in practice having hit it yesterday.
Nico Rosberg edged the top time down to 1:49.463, Alonso reduced it to 1:49.391. When Lewis Hamilton finally got a clear lap in it was amazingly quick, a 1:48.285 with Jenson Button slotting into P2 behind.
Mark Webber took P2 and then Sebastian Vettel took P2 off him, falling short of Hamilton's time by just 0.002 of a second. The Lotus team's lack of confidence of getting out of Q1 was evidenced by their early switch to the red-walled Super Soft tyres that had been 1.5 seconds quicker in practice
This took Raikkonen to the P1 time of 1:48.169, then succeeded by DiResta and Grosjean. Running into the final three minutes the new teams occupied the bottom five places but with the star of Monza close to the danger zone. 17.Perez, 18,Petrov, 19.Vergne, 20. Kovalainen.
Perez jumped up to P7, and when the perennial Q1 drop-out Jean-Eric Vergne elevated himself to P15 it was Kamui Kobayashi - troubled with oversteer - who was left in P18. He couldn't improve.
So out went: 18.Kobayashi, 19.Petrov, 20.Kovalainen, 21.Glock, 22.Pic, 23.Karthikeyan, 24.De la Rosa.
Petrov had beaten Kovalainen with his hastily rebuilt Caterham - severely mangled in FP3 - and Narain Karthikyean had outqualified Pedro de la Rosa by almost a second. What was most interesting, though, was the progress of the Marussia team, with Timo Glock now just two tenths behind the Caterham of Heikki Kovalainen.
Breathing slightly easier in the pitlane was Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, having seen Felipe Massa's time slide to P16.
Qualifying 2
With reports that the stewards were looking at impeding from Timo Glock and Mark Webber, the green light came on again for Q2.
Romain Grosjean was out early and dealt what looked like a hefty blow to the wall at Turn 14. He was able to return to the pits. Team-mate Raikkonen was soon on the board with a 1:48.261, followed by Alonso with a 1:48.058.
This was all put into perspective by a masterful lap from Sebastian Vettel, a 1:46.791 - and yes, still on the same tyres. If that wasn't impressive enough, Hamilton went even quicker with a 1:46.665.
Bruno Senns ended his involvement in Q2 with a hefty whack of the barrier with his familiar right rear wheel but was able to limp back to the pits to retire from the session. Grosjean had been able to continue, though.
As each timed session developed, the track rubbered in, but with much bigger gaps between the front runners than almost any qualifying session this year. Running into the last four minutes the danger positions were: 7.Rosberg, 8.Maldonado, 9.Massa, 10.DiResta, 11.Schumacher, 12.Hulkenberg, 13.Perez, 14.Ricciardo, 15.Vergne, 16.Grosjean (no time), 17.Senna (stopped)
Grosjean produced a wild ride to claim P3, Paul Di Resta put his Force India into P4, Nico Hulkenberg managed P6, Mark Webber made himself safe in P3, Nico Rosberg got his Mercedes into P7, Fernando Alonso (who had slipped down to P10) climbed back up to P5 but team-mate Felipe Massa was P11 and out. Raikkonen then topok over P11.
In the dying moments of the session Pastor Maldonado jumped to P5 and Michael Schumacher squeezed into the top ten in P9.
So out went: 11.Hulkenberg, 12.Raikkonen, 13.Massa, 14.Perez, 15.Ricciardo, 16.Vergne, 17.Senna
Hulkenberg was aggrieved to be sent out when he was by the Force India team, losing tyre temperature as he dodged out of the way of cars on hot laps. Unusually, Raikkonen was 0.7 slower and Massa was 0.8 slower than their respective team-mates.
Qualifying 3
Another anti-climactic session with the two Mercedes cars going out early on a set of scrubbed soft tyres and then coming back into the pits, so they could start from P9 and P10.
Mark Webber started a lap but abandoned it and came back in. That left just Button, Hamilton and Vettel on track to put in times. Jenson Button took P1 with a 1:47.238, this was anihilated by Hamilton with a 1:46.362. Surprisingly Vettel could only manage P3.
These three times were the only ones to be registered with just one minute left of the session to go. Grosjean then went P4, an even wilder ride than Q2 with the Lotus surviving some hairy moments over the kerbs and avoiding the barriers. A stellar lap from Pastor Maldonado put him P2. Alonso grabbed P3, Webber was a long way short of his team-mate in P5 but Vettel himself could only manage P3 behind Maldonado.
Would Button make it an all-McLaren front row? No. Jenson could only manage P4 in front of Alonso but behind Vettel. Christian Horner put the lack of pace down to poor timing of the outlaps. The Singapore Grand Prix has been won by the polesitter for the last three years, but in every one of those there has been a Safety Car period. Hamilton looks strong for the race tomorrow, providing there isn't too much thermal degradation of the super soft tyres in the first stint.
01. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m46.362
02. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m46.804 + 0.442
03. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m46.905 + 0.543
04. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m46.939 + 0.577
05. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m47.216 + 0.854
06. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m47.241 + 0.879
07. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m47.475 + 1.113
08. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m47.788 + 1.426
09. Michael Schumacher Mercedes no time
10. Nico Rosberg Mercedes no time
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m47.975 + 1.310
12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m48.261 + 1.596
13. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m48.344 + 1.679
14. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m48.505 + 1.840
15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.774 + 2.109
16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.849 + 2.184
17. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault no time
18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m49.933 + 2.245
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m50.846 + 3.158
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m51.137 + 3.449
21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m51.370 + 3.682
22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m51.762 + 4.074
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m52.372 + 4.684
24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m53.355 + 5.667

Source: Planet-F1

No comments: