Hamilton on pole as Maldonado shines in Singapore

2012 Singapore Grand Prix

Pastor Maldonado, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Singapore, 2012Lewis Hamilton claimed his fifth pole position of the year at the Singapore Grand Prix.

He is joined on the front row of the grid by Pastor Maldonado, who relegated Sebastian Vettel to third.

Championship leader Fernando Alonso starts fifth behind Jenson Button.

Q1

The large performance gap between the soft and super-soft tyres nearly caught out some big names in Q1. Felipe Massa ended the session 16th after electing not to do a run on the softer rubber.

Lotus decided they were vulnerable and sent both their drivers out for a run on super-softs towards the end of the session to guarantee their place in Q2.

Bruno Senna clipped the wall on his final lap while in 17th, but fortunately for him he fell no farther. Kamui Kobayashi was already back in the pits in 18th place.

Vitaly Petrov out-qualified Heikki Kovalainen but both Caterhams were knocked out along with the Marussias and HRTs.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’49.933
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’50.846
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’51.137
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’51.370
22 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’51.762
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’52.372
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’53.355

Q2

Romain Grosjean’s session looked to be over early in Q2 when he went off and hit the barrier. But he got his Lotus back to the pits and was able to continue.

Senna wasn’t so lucky. He hit the wall at turn 21 – his third such mistake of the weekend – and limped back into the pits with suspension damage.

Vettel took to the top of the times with a lap of 1’46.791, but Hamilton showed he had the pace to match, eclipsing the Red Bull by a tenth of a second.

The final laps were a frantic scramble for survival among the midfielders. Michael Schumacher claimed his place in the final ten with his last effort.

That eliminated Nico Hulkenberg, who said he could have gone quicker in the first sector.

Also out was Kimi Raikkonen while team mate Grosjean completed a remarkable escape by securing a place in Q3. Felipe Massa joined those whose sessions ended after Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’47.975
12 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’48.261
13 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’48.344
14 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’48.505
15 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’48.774
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’48.849
17 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault No time

Q3

Eight drivers left the pits at the beginning of Q3 but only three of them set lap times to begin with. Hamilton carried over his pace from Q2 into Q3 and led Button and Vettel with a scorching lap of 1’46.362.

Grosjean was next onto the track and a slightly scruffy lap of 1’47.788 ultimately left him last of those who set times. The Mercedes drivers did not return to the track and will occupy the fifth row.

Vettel had failed to improve on his Q2 time with his first effort. He returned to the track in front of Hamilton’s McLaren but although his second effort was quick enough to move him in front of one McLaren it couldn’t carry him past both.

That left Vettel third on the grid after a superb lap by Maldonado put the Williams on the front row.

Hamilton didn’t need to improve with his final lap to keep pole position. That proved to be a good thing for him, as he clipped the wall with his final effort.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’46.362
2 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’46.804
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’46.905
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’46.939
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’47.216
6 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’47.241
7 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’47.475
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’47.788
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes No time
10 Nico Rosberg Mercedes No time

2012 Singapore Grand Prix

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123 comments on Hamilton on pole as Maldonado shines in Singapore

  1. Asif (@) said on 22nd September 2012, 15:18

    I have a feeling that Maldanado will repay Lewis for all those points by holding up vettel

    • He can repay Lewis by crashing into Alonso just like he nearly did in Australia…in addition it would be Alonso’s way to repay his tainted victory in Singapore in 2008! (I don’t seriously support anyone crashing but if things developed this way it would be good Karma;)

      • William Brierty said on 22nd September 2012, 15:31

        Maldonado crashed into the wall, not Alonso at Australia!

      • Asif (@) said on 22nd September 2012, 15:31

        When interviewed Alonso said Strategry whill be important tomorrow and I started thinking “uh oh, is Massa going to Crash out at the perfect time”

      • You guys are such a sour grapes…

        • I agree. They are scare of Alonso!

          • maaaarsh said on 22nd September 2012, 15:55

            Nah, Alonso’s scared of having a team-mate who isn’t just there to play 4th fiddle to him – hence the media support for Massa against the threat of another younger quicker teammate – we know how much he hates that scenario.

          • David BR2 said on 22nd September 2012, 16:20

            Well… scared of what ‘team Alonso’ might come up with – though it never has anything to do with Alonso himself, as many an honest FIA inquiry has thankfully shown.

            My impression is we’re heading for the same situation as 2010 with Alonso in the mix until the end, but suffering from the absence of an effective team mate compared to his likely contenders – Hamilton and Vettel. But most of the year that’s what Alonso seems to prefer, a team mate some distance off his own (very fast) pace. Just a wait to see if this policy actually works this year, but putting aside ‘Alonso luck,’ I think Hamilton will win, a better car and driving just as well as FA.

      • Still blaming Alonso for something two crook managers did?

        • F1 Lunatic (@f1lunatic) said on 22nd September 2012, 17:01

          Hmmm..Are u sure there were ONLY two crooks!! After all, many hands make (singapore) light work! ;-)

        • Yeah. This people still talks about Alonso . To me it is because they know Alonso will do sOmetng special in the 4 th fastest car tomorrow. That’s why even if the news is about qualifying the make it as it is Alonso’s article.

    • I think all of you are making Maldonado far too much of a boogie man here. Just think at what he can do. He has looked calm and composed all weekend, even his teammate got the same kind of overdriving he had at Barcelona (Didn’t Senna crash out so he did not set a time in Q2 there exactly like today?).
      I wouldn’t be surprised if Maldonado could keep Alonso, Button and Vettel behind him here just like he could win over Alonso there.

      • @BasCB Well since it would be his first points since Barcelona I cant blame them for being pessimistic. He also has a habit of getting overexcited in races leading to crashes. I imagine if he doesn’t crash he’ll go back in the race, you’ve got to expect Vettel, Alonso, Button and Webber to get past him at least, they should have better race cars.

        I have to say Maldonado deserves his place in F1 in pure speed terms, but he needs to work on his racecraft in terms of fighting other cars, and stop running into people on purpose.

    • i think that maldonado is going to hit someone 1st curve

  2. necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 22nd September 2012, 15:23

    How much longer will we have to see Senna in an F1 car? It’s embarrassing for everyone.

    • Byron 123 said on 22nd September 2012, 15:28

      I prefer to call him Bruno. Calling him Senna is too much of a compliment.

    • William Brierty said on 22nd September 2012, 15:28

      Cannot agree more, a bit like Aryton really, but with Ayrton it was embarassing for everyone in a very different way.

    • I could bet my whole paycheck on the fact that Senna will be the first to hit the wall tomorrow. It’s either him or Grosjean. Believe!

    • At least he’s had 5 points finishes since Spain, unlike his team mate who has none. unfortunately, his worst weekends seem to coincide with Maldonado’s best, making him look worse than usual.

      • necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 22nd September 2012, 18:05

        True, but don’t you think many other drivers could’ve gotten much more out of that obviously quick Williams?

        • Today, certainly. Over the last few races I don’t think the same pace has been in the car though- I do believe Maldonado is very fast (it is a shame he combines it with being an idiot), so I trust that his qualifying performances probably give a fair indicator of the car’s pace. Last year, I thought Senna showed speed but inconsistency. Unfortunately, I think this year is the reverse, but he still isn’t completely consistent either, as this weekend shows. He has also had bad luck in some races. But today was undoubtedly just a very poor showing.

      • @matt90 I can’t agree with you here. Senna scored 11 points since Spain. What happens if Maldonado finishes strongly into the points tomorrow? He’ll score in one race more than the sum of points his team mate has accumulated during 8 races. Think about it…

        No matter how reckless Maldonado is compared to Senna (who, by the way, trashed his car twice in two days). If I were a team manager and I had to choose between the two and only these two, it would take me about half a second to decide on Pastor.

        Maldonado needs to learn level-headedness. That can be taught through discipline. Senna needs to learn to be fast…I’m not sure one can learn that after his 3rd season in F1…

        • He’ll score in one race more than the sum of points his team mate has accumulated during 8 races.

          And more than he himself has scored over a similar period…

          I don’t think I said anything there that could be disagreed with, I’m just pointing out that in terms of the championship he isn’t actually doing much worse than his team mate.

        • F1 Lunatic (@f1lunatic) said on 22nd September 2012, 19:32

          it would take me about half a second to decide on Pasto

          Half a second…AND 46mill dollars? ;-)

          But a Team Head would definitely choose the mad, money and maldonado!

  3. Jake (@jleigh) said on 22nd September 2012, 15:26

    I made a bold prediction in the live blog that the pole sitter here would go on to win the championship… I stand by that, Lewis looks unstoppable at the moment

    • David BR2 said on 22nd September 2012, 17:24

      All cars are stoppable, as Maldonado and Grosjean will tell you!

      But yes, I agree, given no dubious bits of driving and equal good luck to all, I think Hamilton can reel Alonso in and win the championship. Indeed he would already be ahead in the points, had the early team perforance not been so damaging. Kudos for McLaren for apparently sorting out their problems though.

      • The if doesn’t,t exist in formula one or in any sport. If Alonso wouldn,t have been taken out by grosjean and Hamilton he would have scored at least 15 points as he was third before they took him out. If Alonso didn’t have the mechanical failure in Monza he would have won the race or score at least 3 points more than what he scored. If I match the 6 winning number in the lottery I would be rich but since I didn’t,t then still have to go to work everysingle day.you understand what I,m trying to say or do I need to explain it a bit more.?

        • David BR2 said on 22nd September 2012, 17:55

          What are you trying to explain?

          I’m not detracting from Alonso’s driving this season, I’m just saying – unlike last season – Hamilton has been his match and that would have been reflected in the points had McLaren not made a series of mistakes (and two drivers taken Hamilton out) even counting for Alonso’s own misfortunes.

          • i,m just debating your “if” comment. there is not “if” in f1. Alonso would have won the 2007 Wdc if the team would have supported him instead of Hamilton. He would have won the 2010 Wdc “if” the Ferrari crew wouldn,t have made the mistake they did in the last race. So I think it is useless to image results on thing that could have happened but that never happened.

          • Jake (@jleigh) said on 22nd September 2012, 18:45

            you say there’s no if in F1… well … there kinda is… 1f (sorry)

  4. Its nice how Q showed this is a real street track where the barriers are eve so close and its hard to get everything right on one lap

  5. Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 22nd September 2012, 15:26

    Maldonado is so fast for one lap. He makes me remind what Montoya used to do.

  6. Maldonado was a little surprise. Still I can’t see anyone can stop Hamilton unless it means physically. The season goes easy for Hamilton I guess.

    • Ginola14 (@ginola14) said on 22nd September 2012, 15:47

      The last thing Hamilton would want is Maldonado besides him on the grid.

      If Hamilton can make it past Turn 1 without being swiped by Maldonado into the walls, then i might place a bet on him winning the race.

  7. Yayra A (@xdugu19) said on 22nd September 2012, 15:29

    I am expecting Button to go on twitter and produce some datasheets as to why Hamilton was fifth tenths quicker!!!
    haha just joking but it would be funny though.

  8. Wasn’t Senna crashing out of qualifying in Barcelona too? So now we just need a penalty for Hamilton and have Maldonado win another race!

  9. Interesting grid – didn’t expect a Williams on the front row. Whatever you think about Maldonado (I’m certainly not a fan), you’ve got to be impressed by his speed.
    For those worried about an incident at the start, don’t forget that Maldonado could just as easily take out Vettel, who’ll be starting on the faster side of the grid, at the first corner.

    Does anyone how many out of the top ten still have a new set of options left for the race ?

    One other thought… Martin Whitmarsh looked less than deliriously happy in his post quali interview.

    • I’m more worried about Maldonado coming together with Vettel than with Hamilton to be honest and not necessarily because of Maldonado. The Williams has been starting well, but assuming everyone gets off the line ok, I’m betting Maldonado will be closer to Vettel than to Hamilton going into turn one. I’d be interested to see how Vettel will react to that.

    • OOliver said on 22nd September 2012, 16:20

      Maldonado is a very fast driver. He just forgets sometimes how fast he is and acts desperate.

  10. I got a feeling Hamilton will crash with Maldonado or Maldonado will pass Hamilton in the first corner. Maldonado will hold everybody up and then the race will be for any of the top 5 drivers. I still feel that the race will come down to tire wear and strategy nd I got a feeling the Ferrari’s setup is intended to take care of the tires as no one exactly know how long those tires will last . Also the Mercedes seem to be the one in the bet position since they will start the race with the soft tires. It wouldn’t surprise me if vetted and red bull has problems with the alternator.

  11. William Brierty said on 22nd September 2012, 15:45

    It just looked so easy for Hamilton, whilst everyone else was smashing the curbs or scrubbing off too much speed, Hamilton calmly drifted from apex-to-apex all the while carrying tremendous speed; he truly is the fastest, not the best, but the fastest driver in the world. For the first time in his career, Hamilton is dominating and now he only has one target – Alonso. Hypothetically, if Hamilton won and Alonso was fifth, cutting the gap to just 22 pts, would Hamilton become the favourite for the championship?

    • OOliver said on 22nd September 2012, 16:13

      Looked easy for someone who brushed the wall trying to set an even faster time?
      What you have to ask is what happened to Vettel and Button.

      • Alehud42 (@alehud42) said on 22nd September 2012, 17:10

        Button didn’t have the pace.
        Vettel probably had a poor outlap, but that doesn’t necessarily explain his poor last sector.

      • Just a question ? Does amilton has to start the race with the tires he almost damaged when he brushed the wall? Or does he has to start the race with the tires he set the fastest lap. There was not need for him to risk the car the way he did as he was the last car on track and better did not improve his time. Hamilton had the best car in qualifying(doesn’t mean he will have the best car in race) yet he almost crash it. You don,t see vetted or Alonso do those kinds of mistakes driving car that have oversteering or vice eras. That’s why I think Hamilton will have some kind of crash with Maldonado or a wall. You just have to remember how Hamilton drives hen he is in a lot of pressure.

    • Alehud42 (@alehud42) said on 22nd September 2012, 17:08

      +1
      While he struggled in Q1, once he found that balance in the 2nd sector he was unstoppable.

    • panache (@panache) said on 22nd September 2012, 21:56

      It looked too easy for my liking, both for Vettel and Hamilton. Both of them looked like they had substantially more grip and balance than their teammates judging from onboards.

      Where did Ferrari and Lotus pace dissapear to? How did Mercedes transition from being truly abysmal during practice to both cars reaching the top 10 in qualifying? Why did Vettel go from dominating every session to being comparatively lacklustre in every sector during his first Q3 run? Where did Williams amazing pace come from this weekend? Why are Saubers struggling to outpace Torro Rosso’s here?

      I think large variations in performance caused by tyre issues are occuring again. Keep in mind this is only the third race event this year with the combination of Supersoft/Soft tyres, the others being Canada and Monaco. I enjoyed the consistency of performance between cars and teammates during the last few races with the harder compound tyres.

      All that being said, Hamilton absolutely deserved his pole position. Ultimately he made the most of opportunity and is one of the only drivers who has been consistently superlative in qualifying all season. I expect him to dominate the race with ease tomorrow considering his very strong long run pace during free practice.

      I am concerned that Button might struggle for pace and tyre degradation and go backwards fast during the race tomorrow, judging from his build up through practice and qualifying and comments he’s made so far this weekend.

      • Like everyone else, you didn’t mention Di Resta in the Force India on the 3rd.row just behind Vettel and ahead of Webber on a “high downforce” track where Maldonado in P2 was 15th. in the speed trap, so, is Newey stuck up a dead end development street, is the FI a very fast car or is Di Resta as fast as we think Maldonado is ?

        Nobody seems to be talking about this !

  12. No. I wouldn’t be as confident as many hamilton’s fans are. 1. Maldonado is starting next to him. Maldonado has absolutely nothing to lose and a lot to win while Hamilton has a lot to lose. 2. As many of you remember Hamilton did a pole similar to this one in Hungary and as many of you remember he wasn’t as fast and the lotuses were fastest. Hamilton got lucky to have won the race since the track layout impeded the lotuses to pass him. So I’m expecting the same thing to happen. Hamilton will go bfackwards in terms of race pace. Yesterday in a interview he said that he was fast in one lap but was worried about his race pace since he was quite slower and unhappy with it. I think the best car will be the red bulls as it was the fastest in p1,p2,p3 and q1,q2. That’s the car to watch and even Alonso has something to say as he might have the best setup for the race and the Ferrari is quite good at taking care of the tires.

    • maaaarsh said on 22nd September 2012, 15:58

      Hamilton was 1.5 to 2 seconds quicker than Pastor in the race pace runs, but feel free to just predict what you would like to see, rather than what is likely to happen.

      • Yeah,the same happened in Hungary but as you saw hamilton’s pace wasn’t anything compared to his qualifying pace and the lotuses were way faster than him. Hamilton got lucky that the track layout played in his favor and that the lotus couln’t passed in such useless track. If I’m not mistaken that race has been the most booting race of the year because there werenot many passes in that race, am I lying? You seem to have short term memory.

    • andrewf1 (@andrewf1) said on 22nd September 2012, 15:59

      he didnt exactly say that, he said he didnt feel comfortable with his race pace but even so it seemed to be better than others’. if he stays first after turn 1, then he will control the race just like he did in hungary and monza – looking out after the tires and always keeping a gap.

    • I think Maldonado really does have a lot to lose. He has won one race, but hasn’t had points since then. If he throws away a front row start here, he would be getting a very big talking to from the team.

      • I think he has a lot to win. Why? Because if he wins he will be one of the only drivers to win 2 or more races in a good car but not in the best car like Hamilton, button and others have had. So he has nothing to lose and a lot to win if he wins the race. While ha,intoning will be out of the WAC with a dnf. I think Maldonado will pass hamilton at the start and then he is going to held everybody up which will make the race more interesting. Also a safety car will happen for sure due to the fact that it take quite a long time to remove a car from the race track.

        • @tete, maybe the Williams is the best car out there, maybe if Vettel, Hamilton or Alonso were driving it it would be dominating the championship, Williams have done it before and without a driver of known performance we can’t tell if it is the car or driver that is so good/bad.

      • David BR2 said on 22nd September 2012, 17:58

        I agree, Maldonado’s points this season: 0 0 4 0 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
        He needs points, not another reckless incident.

    • davidnotcoulthard said on 22nd September 2012, 16:53

      @Tete
      Worst alternator(s)-……
      I hope the alternators won’t fail, though…

    • David BR2 said on 22nd September 2012, 17:37

      I agree with BasCB, Maldonado won’t want to take out Hamilton, even accidentally. If they both get a good start, my guess is he’ll concetrate on holding onto second.

      As for Hamilton, his car’s race pace and tyre degradation were good in practice, better than Lotus for example. I can see Vettel as a threat but only if race incidents slow Hamilton down (presuming he gets away cleanly).

    • maldonado is going to hit someone, he is fast but reckless

  13. Hamilton-Maldonado has to be a killer front row tomorrow. Maldonado tends to do well and have great starts when he has the whole track in front of himself. To be honest, I expect him reach the first corner in P1. From there on, it’s impossible to predict anything except for the McLarens being there, in the top 3 and Mercedes and Sauber trying to push through on alternative strategies.

    Raikkonen, Massa, Perez – are just not there this weekend, unfortunately. Senna and Kobayashi are probably already candidates for the “worst driver of the weekend” titles. On the positive side, I kind of have high hopes for Di Resta and the Mercs…

    Decent grid though. Some serious points of interest on that line-up.

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 22nd September 2012, 18:16

      I think it’s a little harsh to include Pérez in that list. His car just isn’t suited to the track.

      • Neither is Raikkonen’s. I’m just saying they are not there. Whether that is a result of them not being able to adapt to the car / track or their teams not delivering the best racing material, that’s a different story. They all still look like they are miles away from what Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Maldonado might be able to achieve tomorrow. :)

        Not throwing the blame (I actually like Perez, a lot), just stating the facts.

  14. Jason (@jason12) said on 22nd September 2012, 16:03

    The guys behind Maldonado will struggle to make a clean pass through him…
    And hey, an Alonso-Maldonado crash would make the WDC very tight at the top.

  15. “Hamilton didn’t need to improve with his final lap to keep pole position. That proved to be a good thing for him, as he clipped the wall with his final effort.”

    Why was that a good thing for him? He was still 2 tenths quicker than Maldonado despite clipping the wall.

    • McLaren messed up again – there was no need to send Hamilton out on the 2nd run in Q3.

      Now with a damaged right rear, he mayl suffer in the race. I hope that willl turn out to be an unnecessarily wasted pole position!

      • Andy G (@toothpickbandit) said on 22nd September 2012, 16:36

        There was every need to send him out – by all means Vettel should have improved his time by the same margin Hamilton did. McLaren would’ve been berated if they’d kept Hamilton in and Vettel pipped him for pole.

        Also, I’m sorry to dash your ill-informed hopes, since Hamilton will be unlikely to use those tyres in the race (he’ll start on the tyres he set his fastest lap with).

        • Suspension damage is the worry. Tyres are not a worry, as they can be replaced if damaged -:
          Rule 25.4
          e) At the start of the race each car which took part in Q3 must be fitted with the tyres with which the driver set his grid time. This will only be necessary if dry-weather tyres were used to set the grid time and if dry-weather are used at the start of the race.
          Any such tyres damaged during Q3 will be inspected by the FIA technical delegate who will decide, at his absolute discretion, whether any may be replaced and, if so, which tyres they should be replaced with.
          A penalty under Article 16.3(b) will be imposed on any driver whose car is not fitted with the tyres with which he set his grid time (except if damaged tyres have been replaced with the approval of the FIA technical delegate).

    • He clipped that wall quite hard. He scrubbed off the paint so it may end up with problems with this tyre very early in the race. If he’s going to have an early pit stop, then his chances of winning it will drop massively.

      • Andy G (@toothpickbandit) said on 22nd September 2012, 16:33

        You start on the tyres you set you best time on. McLaren will probably not even use that set for tomorrow.

        • It is not the tyres that are a worry – it is damage to the suspension.

          • Not sure on the rules here, but if the car is damaged and therefore unsafe surely there must be a clause in the rules allowing fixing of that? Otherwise its downright dangerous

          • @tomy, but it was hamilton’s fault. So it would be unfair for the other drivers that didn’t make mistakes. Although I understand that it might be unsafe for him and the other drivers around him

          • Jake (@jleigh) said on 22nd September 2012, 21:00

            so according to that thinking, Bruno should start with a completely mashed suspension?

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