Singapore GP: Lewis Hamilton beats Maldonado to pole at Marina Bay

Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix with a brilliant lap of 1m46.362s, ahead of Williams driver Pastor Maldonado

Singapore GP: Lewis Hamilton beats Maldonado to pole at Marina Bay

It was the 24th pole of the McLaren driver's Formula 1 career, and the third in four races, as he put down the rising challenge of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull, who had set the pace throughout the weekend until qualifying.

It wasn't all plain sailing for the Briton, who brushed the wall on his quick lap - though apparently without damage.

But it won't be the world champion Vettel that starts the grand prix at Marina Bay on the front row, as perhaps was expected, but Spanish Grand Prix winner Maldonado, who delivered a stunning (and surprising) lap to go second fastest ahead of Vettel.

Jenson Button was fourth fastest ahead of points' leader Fernando Alonso and Paul di Resta in the rapid Force India. Mark Webber was seventh fastest for the moment, but that may change as the Australian is under investigation for allegedly impeding Timo Glock during Q1.

Romain Grosjean, with what might have constituted the scruffiest lap of the season, was eighth fastest ahead of the two Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, who both declined to set a laptime in Q3.

Grosjean, having set the fastest time of all in Q1, also tapped the wall with the rear of the car at Turn 14 at the beginning of Q2. The Lotus driver bounced back from his shunt though to go fourth fastest in Q2, behind Hamilton, Vettel and Webber.

He wasn't the only one in the wall in that session. Bruno Senna hit the retainers at the penultimate corner, the same place he'd brushed in Q1, but this time he damaged his suspension and, unlike the Frenchman, would take no further part.

It was the third time the Brazilian had been in the barrier over the weekend - and he starts Sunday's race 17th.

Joining Senna on the Q2 fail list, but obviously starting ahead of him, were Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Hulkenberg, Raikkonen and Massa in particular might have expected to progress further, but late laps from the Mercedes duo put paid to their hopes.

With speculation surrounding Vitaly Petrov's future at Caterham, he put in a tremendous effort in Q1. For most of it he looked like he might outqualify Toro Rosso's Vergne and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi on merit to move into the second session.

But both of those drivers would eventually move ahead of the Russian, who lines up 20th for the race ahead of his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, as the Toro Rossos injected some super-soft pace at the crucial moment (Ricciardo was seventh fastest overall in Q1!).

Kobayashi however was the star scalp dropped early as he was already in the pits when the Toro Rossos fired up the afterburners. The Japanese, let us not forget, was on the front row at Spa.

Also worth mentioning was the fact that Narain Karthikeyan outqualified HRT team-mate Pedro de la Rosa for the second time in a row, and by nearly a second, as the pair occupied the last row of the grid.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap  1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m46.362s 
2. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m46.804s + 0.442
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m46.905s + 0.543
4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m46.939s + 0.577
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m47.216s + 0.854
6. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m47.241s + 0.879
7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m47.475s + 1.113
8. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m47.788s + 1.426
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes no time
10. Nico Rosberg Mercedes no time
Q2 cut-off time: 1m47.943s Gap **
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m47.975s + 1.310 12. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m48.261s + 1.596 13. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m48.344s + 1.679 14. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m48.505s + 1.840 15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.774s + 2.109 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m48.849s + 2.184 17. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault no time Q1 cut-off time: 1m49.809s Gap * 18. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m49.933s + 2.245 19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m50.846s + 3.158 20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m51.137s + 3.449 21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m51.370s + 3.682 22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m51.762s + 4.074 23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m52.372s + 4.684 24. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m53.355s + 5.667 107% time: 1m55.226s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
shares
comments
Five themes to watch for in Singapore

Previous article

Five themes to watch for in Singapore

Next article

Singapore GP: Toro Rosso Saturday quotes

Singapore GP: Toro Rosso Saturday quotes
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Pastor Maldonado
Author Simon Strang
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

Formula 1
May 9, 2021