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.


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


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


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. Blackmamba (@blackmamba) said on 22nd September 2012, 16:11

    Hamilton for World Champion. Any takers?

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 22nd September 2012, 16:53

      I’ve said it all season, and I’m an Alonso-Ferrari fan! He’s driving really well and has the fastest car under him. McLaren for the WCC too.

      • I don,t think so. Alonso still has a big lead that he can have a bad race and a dnf and still have at least a 12 points lead. While if vetted,Hamilton,kimmi,button,webber have a dnf then they will be pretty much out of contention since Alonso will have at least a 45 points lead . Also the start will be quite interesting. Maldonado next to Hamilton And Hamilton once again made a mistake. He brushed the wall and used a set of super soft that he won,t be able to use for the race , and he was lucky that he didn’t,t improve his time in the last flying lap otherwise he would have to start with those damaged tires. So the driver and the team still make mistakes even having the best car in qualifying.

  2. This is why I’m not yet sold on the idea that Vettel is the best qualifier. What we saw last year was a driver in the best car, gelling in a way his team mate couldn’t, with the most aggressive engine mappings for his Q3 runs. And his car may not have always been the strongest in the races in 2010, and it may have been a closer championship due to reliability, but there is no doubt that year that the Red Bull was fastest over a single lap by a mile. So impressive though his last 2 years have been, I need to see more from both Hamilton and Vettel before I can really venture a guess for who is best over a single lap.

    • OOliver said on 22nd September 2012, 18:11

      There is no logical answer to this question, as there are so many factors to take into consideration.
      You will also have to rule out team mistakes and inter team driver advantages.
      Vettel has set very good pole positions last two years and a few this year, which is the only conclusion you can arrive at.
      Pole position is also car dependent, as there are some cars not capable of pole, but much faster over a race distance. Then again, are those same cars lacking a driver who can actually put the car on pole and still driver faster over a race distance?
      The great unknown. GP2 is a place you can conduct that study as the cars are identical but for the paint work.

    • Drop Valencia! said on 23rd September 2012, 1:58

      well just remember than Vettel has out qualified every teammate by a healthy margin (except Heidfeld, but that was just one race, mid year, and Vettels first)
      His teammate for the last 4 years had never been outqualified by his many teammates in F1, lemans etc before Vettel, and is highly rated as a qualifier, but Vettel has made him look slow.

  3. Ivan (@masaivan) said on 22nd September 2012, 18:05

    If you can remember it is same top three driver as in Valencia only little bit different lineup in Valencia it was
    1. Vettel
    2. Hamilton
    3. Maldonado
    This two tracks are very similar in my opinion by being street circuit but with few very fast sections.

  4. kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 22nd September 2012, 20:03

    @JamieFranklin –

    when his races have been just as good as Hamilton’s. You only have to look at the points that both drivers have taken over the years that they have been team mates to see that.

    I don’t understand how you could come to this conclusion. On average race pace (taken when both drivers HAVE finished) , Lewis has been consistently 2-3/10ths faster than Button over the years they have been team mates. And every one knows that using points to tell the story is a facile argument (even though Lewis is still ahead on that) Basically, on every measure you care to add up over the 3 years they have been team mates, Lewis is ahead – and thatbis taking his horrible 2011 into account.

    Plus, the reason that McLaren want Hamilton to take a pay cut is that the world is in a financial mess, and Formula One teams aren’t void of that.

    If you really believe this, then you are living in an alternate universe. This is the nonsense spewed out by the bourgeoisie to keep us proles from rebelling. Every study done on the issue, show that not only are the rich getting RICHER, the gap between the rich and poor is widening at a faster rate than before. Put simply, the economic turmoil does NOT affect the rich. If anything, they benefit from it. Just ask those who bought Goldman Sachs shares during the sub prime meltdown. Also, you need to know who McLaren’s main backers are to know there is no “economic turmoil” in their world.

    ÂŁ12m a year (What I hear the new offer is) is still A LOT of money.

    Based on what exactly? Vettel earns more than that. and Alonso certainly earns more than that. Offering Lewis and Button the same salary is certainly a snub to Lewis and has nothing to do with the economic climate as insinuated by Big Ron.

    Any intelligent driver would rather have a great car than a huge wage packet.

    If you replace “a huge wage packet” with “No.1 status in the team“, then i would certainly agree with you.

    If Hamilton doesn’t think this way, and wants more money, then let him ruin his career and go to Mercedes.

    He has already gone to Mercedes, we are just chewing mouth over this. And good for him too.

    • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 22nd September 2012, 20:27


      I’m sorry, but I don’t see how you can come to that conclusion. In 2010, the two were comparatively equal, and the only reason that Button finished down on points is because of technical issues that were out of his control, and Vettel crashing into him in Spa, which again was completely out of his control.
      In 2011, Button was just superior, whilst Hamilton was busy continuously making mistakes, colliding with Massa and blaming his personal life for his poor form.
      Hamilton has been better this year, and I can admit Button had some poor form this year, but without the technical issues again (Such as Monza) the two would be closer, though you could take Maldonado hitting into Hamilton into account as well.
      The fact that people say that Hamilton is far better than Jenson is ludicrous. I’m not saying Button is the best driver on the grid, but Hamilton has a lot of growing up to do before he joins the pantheon of the greats. I mean, let’s face it, he was completely out of order in Spa and this isn’t the first time.

      As for the wages, every team wants to pay as little as possible, and I agree with that. I don’t care if they are struggling for money or not, but they need money for the car and staff, not just the driver, and YES ÂŁ12m is a hell of a lot of money for a year’s work, especially to do what you’ve always dreamed of doing. Even if I was the best driver on the grid, I wouldn’t care for having the highest wages, I would only care about having the best car, and that is what drivers should be pushing for. As far as “No.1 status goes” – Hamilton simply doesn’t deserve it. He hasn’t proven that he’s worthy of the whole team focusing solely on him, and any team should focus on a great driver line-up rather than one great driver.

      Like I said before, let him go to Merc. It will be his funeral. Mercedes have been below-par for most of the year, and their only saving grace seems to be the possibility of 2014. They seem to be the BMW of the current era, on the verge of the top teams, but never there. Just look at this year, they’ve had one win, and yet could be passed by Sauber. I say give a driver the chance to join McLaren who will do more with it. Hamilton has complained all too often, despite being in one of the best teams on the grid. If it were me, I wouldn’t even think about leaving, unless it was to join a team that would be equal to or better than my current team.

      • kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 22nd September 2012, 21:04

        @JamieFranklin –

        I could demolish your arguments on just about every single front – but i am not going to bother, as it seems it wouldn’t make any difference . As the saying goes – you cant reason someone out of a position they didn’t reasom themselves into.

      • This ignores that Hamilton lost a huge number of points both this year and in 2010 through no fault of his own as well.

  5. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd September 2012, 20:23

    Gutted for Sauber. I didn’t expect this track to suit them so well but Kobayashi not even making Q2 is disappointing. He’s usually the better qualifier too, I wonder what happened to them?

    RBR will be asking some major questions. What happened with them? They were nowhere near on it in Q3 and I find it hard to believe that the MP4-27 could have .6s over the RB8 and us not know about it until Q3.

    Looks like Mercedes are trying their best to have a two stopper tomorrow. Sincerely hope that their gamble of starting 9th and 10th pays off.

  6. maxthecat said on 22nd September 2012, 23:38

    I’m still laughing at Toto Wolff calling Pastor Maldonado an ‘Unguided Missile’ :D

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd September 2012, 0:33

    Let’s give credit where credit is due. Once again, Maldonado has put in a top-three qualifying performance, which proves he obviously has speed and deserves to be in the car. Hopefully, common sense will prevail. He had an incident-free – if somewhat disappointing result – at Monza, so if the trend continues and he can drive the way he did in Barcelona, I think it will go a long way to addressing some of his criticisms.

    But hoping for him to screw up the start and take out some drivers for the benefit of others is not cool.

    • Michael Brown (@) said on 23rd September 2012, 0:57

      It wasn’t a really disappointing result, he finished half a second behind Senna in 11th place, once again showing his superior pace.

  8. SPIDERman (@spiderman) said on 23rd September 2012, 10:16

    i have a bad feeling Hamilton will have a DNF. his rear right wheel whacked the wall in one f the corners.so there could be some damage that will manifest itself during the race from that shunt.

  9. SPIDERman (@spiderman) said on 23rd September 2012, 13:57

    told you so …they should have changed his gear box after qualifying and get five places penalty instead of a dnf

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