F1 Singapore Grand Prix 2015: Sebastian Vettel seals pole position as Mercedes struggle with Lewis Hamilton fifth and Nico Rosberg sixth

Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen make up the top three after an unusual qualifying saw the Silver Arrows miss out

Philip Duncan
Saturday 19 September 2015 15:57
Sebastian Vettel celebrates taking pole in Singapore
Sebastian Vettel celebrates taking pole in Singapore

Sebastian Vettel will start on pole position in Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton only fifth in his Mercedes.

Hamilton has dominated qualifying this season, securing pole in all but one of the 12 races in his quest for a hat-trick of world championships.

But the Briton's Mercedes team have been unable to match Ferrari and Red Bull at the Marina Bay Street Circuit this weekend, with Daniel Ricciardo joining Vettel on the front row and Kimi Raikkonen to start from third.

A Silver Arrows has started on pole at every race since Felipe Massa's Williams occupied top spot in last year's Austrian Grand Prix.

And heading into this weekend it was expected that Mercedes would match the record of 24 straight poles set by Williams more than two decades ago.

But under the lights, the complete dominance which Mercedes have become accustomed to for the best part of two years bizarrely vanished into the night.

Instead it was Vettel, a three-time winner here, who claimed Ferrari's first pole since the 2012 German Grand Prix, three years, one month and 28 days ago.

His best lap of one minute and 43.885 seconds was more than half-a-second faster than Ricciardo and almost a full second faster than Hamilton.

While Hamilton, quickest in every practice and qualifying session last time out in Monza before leading every lap en route to a comfortable win, was only fifth, it was even worse for Nico Rosberg. The German, who trails his team-mate by 53 points in the championship race, will start a place further back in sixth.

"I know it is only Saturday and the main job is coming tomorrow but I have to enjoy the moment when I heard we made it," said Vettel, who let out a huge roar from his cockpit after securing his 46th pole.

"The car was fantastic to drive and it got better through qualifying. I am surprised by the margin but it came together and I had a near-perfect lap at the end."

Ricciardo, who starts alongside his former Red Bull team-mate, added: "Firstly it is nice to be up here and it is a bit of a coincidence that it is Seb and I.

"Qualifying was exciting and to have no Mercedes up here is a surprise to everyone. I thought they were playing a few card games but it looks as though they are not particularly comfortable around here."

Hamilton had been hopeful of matching Ayrton Senna's feat of eight consecutive poles in Singapore this weekend and the Brazilian's record of 41 career wins, but one, and probably both, will now have to be put on hold.

Indeed five of the last seven winner's at Formula One's only night race have started from pole.

McLaren had high hopes ahead of Saturday's qualifying session but the British team failed to get both cars into the top-10 shootout. Fernando Alonso is 12th on the grid with Jenson Button in 15th.

Outside the top six, Valtteri Bottas was seventh for Williams, Max Verstappenn eighth in his Toro Rosso, Williams driver Felipe Massa ninth and the Lotus driver of Romain Grosjean completing the top 10.

Final Positions after Qualifying:

1 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1min 43.885secs,

2 Daniel Ricciardo(Aus)Red Bull 1:44.428,

3 Kimi Raikkonen(Fin)Ferrari 1:44.667,

4 Daniil Kvyat(Rus)Red Bull 1:44.745,

5 Lewis Hamilton(Gbr)Mercedes GP 1:45.300,

6 Nico Rosberg(Ger)Mercedes GP 1:45.415,

7 Valtteri Bottas(Fin)Williams 1:45.676,

8 Max Verstappen(Ned)Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:45.798,

9 Felipe Massa(Bra)Williams 1:46.077,

10 Romain Grosjean(Fra)Lotus F1 Team 1:46.413,

11 Nico Hulkenberg(Ger)Force India 1:46.305,

12 Fernando Alonso(Spa)McLaren 1:46.328,

13 Sergio Perez(Mex)Force India 1:46.385,

14 Carlos Sainz(Spa)Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:46.894,

15 Jenson Button(Gbr)McLaren 1:47.019,

16 Felipe Nasr(Bra)Sauber-Ferrari 1:46.965,

17 Marcus Ericsson(Swe)Sauber-Ferrari 1:47.088,

18 Pastor Maldonado(Ven)Lotus F1 Team 1:47.323,

19 Will Stevens(Gbr)Manor Marussia F1 1:51.021,

20 Alexander Rossi (USA) Manor Marussia F1 1:51.523

Note: Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi have both been given five-place grid penalties for unscheduled gearbox changes, but as they qualified 19th and 20th, they remain in thos positions.


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