• Singapore Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel takes pole in Red Bull lockout

ESPNF1 Staff
September 24, 2011

Sebastian Vettel secured pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix as his team-mate Mark Webber locked out for front row for Red Bull at Marina Bay.

Vettel's time of 1:44.381 was 0.351s quicker than Webber, who needed a final run to beat the McLaren pair of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso could only take fifth place alongside his team-mate Felipe Massa, heightening the chances of Vettel securing back-to-back world titles on Sunday.

Ahead of the first runs in Q3 there was a queue of cars as Button, Alonso, Massa and Hamilton wanted to get out early. Hamilton muscled his way past Massa towards the end of the lap and set the quickest time of the four, just beating Button, until Vettel comfortably beat it by 0.4s. Hamilton then didn't do a second run in order to save a set of supersoft tyres having lost a pair in the second session.

Button followed Webber over the line and was able to knock Hamilton down to fourth by just 0.005s, while he was only 0.05s slower than Webber as once again it was close between Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari, Vettel aside.

Kamui Kobayashi caused a red flag midway through Q2 as he crashed at turn 10. Kobayashi's accident was very similar to that of Kimi Raikkonen in 2008 as he was launched off the middle kerb and couldn't turn the car while airborne, landing heavily before hitting the wall. There was a late scare for Hamilton too as he picked up a puncture and couldn't do a lap on supersoft tyres, but was able to get through on the softs.

As Hamilton watched on in the pit lane, Sergio Perez took 10th spot to split the two Force India's, but Paul di Resta delivered under pressure to make it through with his last lap and knock Perez out alongside both Williams, Toro Rossos, Bruno Senna and Kobayashi.

The first part of qualifying turned out to be a straight fight between the Renaults of Senna and Vitaly Petrov to avoid starting 18th. Petrov's final lap knocked Senna down, but his team-mate was still on his lap and responded to the pressure with a time a full second faster. That left Petrov to drop out along with Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Jerome d'Ambrosio, Daniel Ricciardo and Tonio Liuzzi.