Lewis Hamilton takes pole position for Singapore Grand Prix

 

Lewis Hamilton maintained McLaren's recent dominance by claiming pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix, and said today the season was mapping out perfectly for a Formula One championship challenge.

Hamilton gave McLaren a fourth consecutive pole for the first time since 1999, and his chances of also making it four straight wins in tomorrow's race were boosted by Williams' Pastor Maldonado snatching a surprise second place in qualifying, providing a buffer to the Briton's title rivals.

"We have put ourselves in the best position, so we need to capitalize on that," Hamilton said. "We've done the work we need to do to put us in a strong position for tomorrow — the key will just be to stay out of trouble and look after the tires.

"I've always believed that if we could start the season strongly, we'd be able to pull ahead. We've been there or thereabouts all season, but now we're starting to see the real strength of my team pull through."

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel qualified a disappointing third after being the fastest in all three practice sessions. He was surprised he couldn't manage at least a front-row spot.

"It's hard to say what happened. A little disappointed, especially Q3," Vettel said. "It's a shame it didn't come together at the end."

Maldonado provided the shock of the night by taking second. Aside from his surprise win at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Venezuelan has been in the points only one other time this season.

He was even more enthused about the chances for a shock victory by the fact that the car performed well during the long-stint, heavy-fuel race settings.

"I'm really looking forward to the race because yesterday we showed very good pace, very consistent. So I think it is going to be a good one for us this time!"

Jenson Button of McLaren qualified fourth, ahead of Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, who holds a 37-point lead over Hamilton in the championship standings with seven races to go.

"We were not quick enough in free practice, and not quick enough in qualifying," Alonso said. "The McLarens were unbeatable, at least for pole.

"Starting fifth, on the inside, we have a good position to fight for the podium, which is maybe the maximum for the weekend."

Force India's Paul di Resta equaled a career best by qualifying sixth, one place ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber, who could be hauled before stewards to defend interference he allegedly caused to Marussia's Timo Glock in the first qualifying session.

Lotus' Romain Grosjean will start from eighth, recovering from heavy contact with a wall earlier in the qualifying session. The Frenchman again beat teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who was down in 12th, dealing a blow to his championship challenge.

Mercedes pair Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg finished ninth and 10th, having failed to set times in Q3. Instead they only did formation laps on harder tires, meaning they will start on that rubber in the race, giving them different strategies to the cars ahead.

Felipe Massa of Ferrari qualified 13th, a place ahead of Sauber's Sergio Perez, who finished second in the previous race but whose car had been off the pace throughout practice.

At the tail end of the grid, Charles Pic of Marussia will have 20 seconds added to his race finishing time as punishment for ignoring red flags during practice. 

AP

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk