• Singapore Grand Prix - Qualifying

Cocksure Vettel gambles to takes Singapore pole

ESPN Staff
September 21, 2013
Sebastian Vettel watches on in the dying moments of Q3 as his gamble pays off © Getty Images
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Sebastian Vettel took pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix by 0.09s from Nico Rosberg after gamble in the final session paid off.

Vettel was streets ahead of the rest of the field in Q2 and went into Q3 with two sets of fresh super-soft tyres at his disposal. He decided to do one run in the opening minutes and then watched on from the garage as Rosberg, Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber all took time out of him in the first two sectors of their second attempts. However, such was Vettel's dominance in the final sector that none of his rivals could beat his time with Rosberg a very close second and Grosjean an impressive third. Vettel's reward is a fresh set of super-soft tyres and pole position for Sunday evenings race, giving him a two big advantages over his rivals.

Webber was quicker than his Red Bull team-mate in sector one, causing Vettel to bite his nails in the garage, but by the end of the final sector he had dropped 0.3s and had to settle for fourth. Lewis Hamilton's pole position ambitions never materialised as he ended up over 0.4s off Vettel and more than 0.3s off team-mate Rosberg, who put in a storming performance that kept Vettel on edge until he crossed the line less than a tenth off the pole position time.

Felipe Massa struggled throughout practice but finally pulled it together in Q3 to outperform Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso and take sixth on the grid. Alonso, who had warned the car was uncompetitive after second practice, was over a second off Vettel after a disappointing middle sector. It was the latest in a series of hits to his title chances and it leaves him with an awful lot of work to do on Sunday night.

Jenson Button took eighth place on the grid, ahead of another assured performance from Daniel Ricciardo in ninth and the highlight of Esteban Gutierrez's career so far as he made the top ten with an strong lap in Q2. Gutierrez's Q2 time would have been enough for eighth had he repeated it in Q3 but he opted to save his tyres and not set a time.

Kimi Raikkonen was the biggest name to drop out in Q2 after complaining of a bad back heading into the session. He missed out on running in FP3, took a pain injection ahead of qualifying, but the combination of a lack of set-up time and the bumps in Singapore saw him end up 13th on the grid.

He will start behind Nico Hulkenberg and Jean-Eric Vergne but ahead of Sergio Perez, Adrian Sutil and Valtteri Bottas. Paul di Resta failed to make it out of Q1 alongside Pastor Maldonado while the Caterhams and Marussias will occupy their usual slots on the back two rows of the grid.