• Singapore Grand Prix - Qualifying

Nerve-wracked Vettel relieved to take pole

ESPN Staff
September 21, 2013 « Ferrari uncompetitive in Singapore - Alonso | Raikkonen planning to race despite back problems »
Sebastian Vettel watches on as his rivals close in on his time in Q3 © Getty Images
Related Links

Sebastian Vettel said he had second thoughts about his decision not to set two times in the final session of qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix when his rivals started to take close in on his best effort.

In order to save a fresh set of super-soft tyres for Sunday's race, Vettel set one time at the start of Q3 as a benchmark and then stood in the garage as his rivals attempted to beat it with a second run. He admitted that, as he bit his nails, he felt uneasy about the decision and relieved when it paid off.

"It's a weird feeling to stand in the garage and with less than two minutes to go and know it's too late [to head out again]," he said. "But then it's much worse when you see the others on their final attempt and there is nothing you can do because you are stood in the garage.

"I was watching the sector times of Romain [Grosjean], Mark [Webber] and Nico [Rosberg] in particular. Mark started with a purple sector one and was very close in sector two, then Nico had a purple sector two and then Romain had a purple sector two. But fortunately my last sector was strong enough to just stay ahead.

"It was very close with Nico but that's a great feeling then because it could have gone wrong. I'm very happy with the result and the car has been phenomenal all weekend. Yesterday the gap was a bit of a surprise but today it was more like what we expected because the Mercedes was very close behind."

However, Vettel is expecting even more of a challenge in Sunday's race.

"It's one of the toughest races we face all year. I would say one of the toughest physically and mentally because it's so long and there are so many corners with hardly any room for mistake. It's very bumpy, plus the heat and humidity plays a factor.

"It will be very tough but surely pole is the best position to start form and we are very happy with that. It's hard to pass on this track but because it's such a long race there will be opportunities for all of us and usually there will be a safety car at some point in the race. I'm happy to start from pole and will try to have a good start, settle into a rhythm and see what we can do."