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Singapore GP 2017: Vettel fends off Red Bulls to take pole

Formula 1 returned to the Far East under the streetlights and night sky of Singapore. The clear leader of qualifying was Sebastian Vettel with a clinical performance.


Q1

To commence the excitement even before the qualifying officially started, the FIA sent out a note stating there was still oil on track after an oil leak in a previous race of another racing series. Kimi Räikkönen left out to the track right as the light turned green. He was followed by his teammate Sebastian Vettel. The Ferraris obviously wanted to cover themselves from a possible yellow flag at the end of the session

Both McLarens were briefly at the top with Vandoorne 1st and Alonso 3rd as the other drivers were still careful about the oil on track. However, both Red Bulls quickly overtook them. Massa limped to the pits with a broken rear right after the Brazilian had hit a wall on the final sector.

The track was improving hugely the longer Q1 went on. With each driver crossing the line, the standings changed. The Red Bulls manned the top two with Hamilton third. The final tries witnessed massive improvements from many lower teams. Both McLarens, Renaults and Toro Rossos jumped to the top 15 to save themselves from elimination.

Out in Q1:

16. Kevin MAGNUSSEN – Haas – 1:43.756

17. Felipe MASSA – Williams – 1:44.014

18. Lance STROLL – Williams – 1:44.728

19. Pascal WEHRLEIN – Sauber – 1:45.059

20. Marcus ERICSSON – Sauber – 1:45.570

Q2

The Ferraris were early out again, this time emulated by Mercedes. Kimi Räikkönen opened the session with a 1:40.999, beating both Mercedes but falling behind Sebastian Vettels 1:40.529. After the first tries however, Red Bull was the strongest with Verstappen on top and Ricciardo 3rd.

The frantic final 3 minutes saw all fifteen remaining cars out on track. Not too much drama took place; Alonso was the only one to get inside the top ten from outside, dropping Jolyon Palmer from Q3. Karma! The Red Bulls yet again took top two, this time being followed by Kimi Räikkönen. Both McLarens made it to Q3, proving yet again that they are able to perform on the slower tracks.

Eliminated from Q3:

11. Jolyon PALMER – Renault – 1:42.107

12. Sergio PEREZ – Force India – 1:42.246

13. Daniil KVYAT – Toro Rosso – 1:42.338

14. Esteban OCON – Force India – 1:42.760

15. Romain GROSJEAN – Haas – 1:43.883

Q3

This time the McLarens were the first ones on track, but Räikkönen again led the line of the top drivers. The first laps of the top five were in the following order: Vettel 1:39.669, Verstappen 1:39.814, Ricciardo 1:39.862, Räikkönen 1:40.069 and Hamilton 1:40.192. Valtteri Bottas had a dreadful lap, over a second behind Vettel on top. 

With under three mins to go everyone left the pits. The first sector was very close between everyone, with Räikkönen and Vettel coming out on top. Both Ferraris touched the wall in sector two, which cost Räikkönen any chance of improving his time and making it into the top three.

After a hectic beginning for the final laps, no positions changed as Sebastian Vettel improved his time to defend against the attack from both Red Bulls. Hamilton and Bottas couldn’t make anything from their laps, falling back to fifth and sixth. Behind the top six, McLaren had a great qualifying with Alonso eighth and Vandoorne ninth.

Top 10 from qualifying:

1. Sebastian VETTEL – Ferrari – 1:39.491

2. Max VERSTAPPEN – Red Bull – 1:39.814

3. Daniel RICCIARDO – Red Bull – 1:39.840

4. Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN – Ferrari – 1:40.069

5. Lewis HAMILTON – Mercedes – 1:40.126

6. Valtteri BOTTAS – Mercedes – 1:40.810

7. Nico HULKENBERG – Renault – 1:41.013

8. Fernando ALONSO – McLaren – 1:41.179

9. Stoffel VANDOORNE – McLaren – 1:41.398

10. Carlos SAINZ – Toro Rosso – 1:42.056

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Mikael Kataja

I now have a podcast talking about F1. After you've read some of my articles here go check out https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzjfVh1WOdY8kHZYHxTmz5A or https://soundcloud.com/ktj-podcast and please leave your comments and thoughts on it!

I'm a 17-year-old Finn with a passion for motorsport and writing. I've been following F1 since 2007, when my still favorite driver Kimi "Iceman" Räikkönen became world champion. I also like Valtteri Bottas, call me overly patriotic... But I support drivers throughout the grid and I hope my views come out in my articles just the right way to add some color to my texts. #ForeverJules

Singapore GP 2017: Vettel fends off Red Bulls to take pole

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