Vettel wins pole in the pits

2013 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2013Sebastian Vettel coolly claimed his fifth pole position of the season after sitting out the final moments of the top ten shoot-out.

Vettel told his team he could find a tenth of a second at most following his first run in Q3, so they kept him back in the garage while his rivals tried in vain to beat his time.

Nico Rosberg almost managed to do it – falling short by less than a tenth of a second – while Romain Grosjean claimed third for Lotus.


With the super-soft tyres offering a performance gain of around two seconds over the mediums there were few teams who believed they could get through to Q2 without using them.

Mercedes, who’ve had their fingers burnt in qualifying already this year, chose not to risk it, giving Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton runs on the super-soft tyres. Hamilton set the pace with a 1’44.196.

But Red Bull committed to the medium tyre and both their drivers made it through – Webber slightly faster than Vettel, as had usually been the case on the medium tyre during qualifying.

Another driver to made the gamble paid off was Romain Grosjean – though he was just 0.3s clear of the drop zone. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen also got into Q2 despite nursing a back injury.

Felipe Massa continued to lag some way off team mate Fernando Alonso’s pace. Beginning his final run he was down in 18th place, facing potential elimination. His last effort brought him within half a second of Alonso and secured his place in Q2.

It came at the expense of Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado. The Williams driver, who qualified on the front row last year, was seven-tenths of a second slower than team mate Valtteri Bottas on his first visit to the circuit.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’46.121
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’46.619
19 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’48.111
20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’48.320
21 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’48.830
22 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’48.930


Vettel eradicated any doubt about who would be on pole position, lapping eight-tenths of a second faster than any of his rivals could manage in Q2. Just as impressive as his margin over his rivals was the manner in which he achieved it – a clean, error-free tour of Singapore’s two dozen corners and seemingly endless barriers.

Behind him the field was closely-matched and produced a few surprises ahead of the top ten shoot-out. Among those who failed to make the cut was Raikkonen, still struggling with his back, who ended up on the wrong end of a close-knit bunch of cars.

Also narrowly failing to make the cut was Nico Hulkenberg, who for the first time this year had to watch team mate Esteban Gutierrez reach the final ten instead of him.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’44.555
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’44.588
13 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’44.658
14 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’44.752
15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’45.185
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’45.388


Vettel’s first effort in Q3 looked like an action replay of his Q2 lap and it produced almost the same time – just six-hundredths quicker. It was still sufficient to put him ahead by more than half a second to begin with.

Red Bull were confident it was enough to keep him out of reach of his rivals – and Vettel climbed out of the cockpit with two minutes to go while his rivals tried to beat his time.

Rosberg led his challengers, followed by Webber, Hamilton and Grosjean – the only other drivers to join the track at the start of the session. Having been over half a second off Vettel to begin with he came within a tenth of a second of giving Vettel a nasty surprise. “I think he was watching your lap, getting somewhat anxious,” said Ross Brawn.

Webber couldn’t move closer to his team mate on the grid as Romain Grosjean clinched third place.

Having been slower than Alonso earlier in the session Massa beat his team mate to sixth place, thanks in part to race engineer Rob Smedley explaining where Alonso had found the time he was missing.

Gutierrez elected not to set a time after reaching Q3 for the first time in his career and will start tenth behind Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo.

Top ten in Q3

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’42.841
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’42.932
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’43.058
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’43.152
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’43.254
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’43.890
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’43.938
8 Jenson Button McLaren 1’44.282
9 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’44.439
10 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari

2013 Singapore Grand Prix

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87 comments on Vettel wins pole in the pits

  1. So. Imagine this situation.

    The guy that’s been dominating the whole weekend sets a time which he thinks is good enough for pole. While 8 drivers give it a go again, the dominating man watches from the pitlane. Suddenly, it’s a massive shootout to see who can get the better of him and throw an enormous surprise. It’s game on, babe. It’s game on.

    We, the spectators, rub our hands and watch carefully to this last do-or-die minute of qualifying at a very difficult track.

    But no. TV Director thinks otherwise. And shows the WHOOOOLE lap of Massa. Who only qualifies 6th. We get to see Rosberg, just behind him, for 3 seconds and he goes 2nd just 0.091 seconds behind.

    Being a TV director must be a difficult thing. But they had shown Massa at every part of the qualy and it was OBVIOUS he wasn’t going to go for pole ! He was struggling badly ! So why the …. did they not show ANYONE ELSE?!?!?!?!?!?!

    I hope you lose your job, TV director. You’ve been letting me down for years now. But the SINGLE moment things could get exciting, you throw it to the bin !

    Faultless by Vettel. I said it on tuesday, no way he’s leaving Singapore without the win.

  2. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 21st September 2013, 15:21

    Yawn it is getting tiring now.

  3. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 21st September 2013, 15:21

    I would have fell over my couch in laughter if Rosberg beat Vettel at the end.

    Nevertheless, I don’t expect much of a race tomorrow.

    • @kingshark Any update on the gearbox issues of the Redbulls, that could spice up the race tomorrow

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 21st September 2013, 15:25

      Ah , just when we think he can’t dominate more . He teases us by sitting in the garage and still getting pole . This is getting boring .

      What happened to Lewis there ? Lock up ? mistake ? or just not fast in track? setup ? Anybody with sky race control who watched his lap and not the stupid cameraman’s version on telly ?

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 21st September 2013, 15:26

      You never know. If Vettel’s gearbox gives up then we’ll get a battle for the lead.
      61 laps in 30 degree heat and 70% humidity is incredibly tough on a brand new gearbox, let alone a 4 GP old one with short shifting problems to deal with.

      I’m quietly confident that tomorrow’s race will be very very interesting.

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 21st September 2013, 15:37

      I would have fell over my couch in laughter if Rosberg beat Vettel at the end.

      I think that even if Rosberg had beaten him, Red Bulls call to spare a set of option tyres is still a smart move, giving that there is a 2 s difference between the option and the prime compound.

  4. richard said on 21st September 2013, 15:24

    good thing I read it hear. No coverage until late night, just before race in US. #NBCSPORTS sucks

    • Shreyas Mohanty (@) said on 22nd September 2013, 9:13

      Better than here in India atleast, usually it is Sky’s broadcast on ESPN HD, this time it’s in some channel that most service providers don’teven carry. So no F1, will have to stream.

  5. Nick.UK (@) said on 21st September 2013, 15:28

    Standard boring qually. Rapidly loosing interest in F1.

  6. Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 21st September 2013, 15:33

    I’ll be watching so i can see that gearbox fail, otherwise it’ll be a boring race

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st September 2013, 15:36

      @wackyracer There are 21 other cars in the race, I don’t see why the fortune of one of them should matter so much.

      But if you’re watching to a sporting event in the hope that one particular competitor will fail through no fault of his own I suppose you’ve missed the point of the whole endeavour to begin with.

      • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 21st September 2013, 15:49

        @keithcollantine The fortune of one of them doesn’t matter so much but the winner of the race (which will be Vettel unless his car breaks) is important and the Championship battle (which will be won by Vettel unless his car breaks regularly) is even more important.

        Watching cars battle through to score vital points for the Championship can be interesting but if Vettel is leading, it’s irrelevant anyway. Essentially, we have a race that is largely just an exhibition. It doesn’t matter what happens because Vettel will win the race and the title.

        Having said that, anything can happen and there’s a chance that something will go wrong for Vettel and we can have an exciting race.

        • Traverse (@) said on 21st September 2013, 16:42

          Just because someone is winning convincingly and with aplomb doesn’t make the entire process pointless. Floyd Mayweather wins all of his fights at a canter but that doesn’t automatically render the event pointless does it? Every team on the grid is just as important as the next and to disregard them is to disregard the sport/event in its entirety. If all that matters is the championship, then we may as well just have a championship between 4 teams from the get go.

          If you wanted to take it further, we could make Wimbledon a tournament that is exclusively between the top 4 player – Djokovic, Murray, Nadal and Federer. After all, they’re the only tennis players that actually win anything, all of the other players are just also-rans who’s entire careers are completely pointless.

        • If you want an “exciting race” (which you very obviously define as a race won by somebody other than Vettel) then you could do one of two things. 1) Root for problems for Vettel. 2) Root for the other drivers, many of whom have been under-performing, to do better. The latter is the more sporting approach, and as it happens, is also the only way Vettels success is likely to be halted.

          The other three “great drivers – that is, Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen – have let themselves and the fans down. I’d rather wish for them to up their game than for Vettel to have mechanical problems.

      • Eddie (@wackyracer) said on 21st September 2013, 16:09

        Keith, i just don’t wanna see the guy leading 2-3 seconds on the second lap, where in the first round of pitstops he’s already 10seconds, i wanna watch guys battle for the win, that’s how im entertained and my perception. Only safety car can spice things up a bit and some of the guys at the back overtaking

        • you can watch guys battle for 2nd, 3rd, even 15th – just because vettel is likely to win doesn’t mean it will be a boring. if that is boring for your, then maybe you can go watch nascar or some other motorsport with closer competition, this is how f1 is in so many seasons, but there is so much to like about it even if there is one driver dominating.

        • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 21st September 2013, 23:42

          You mean like Lewis and Alonso have been doing this year?

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd September 2013, 0:40


          i wanna watch guys battle for the win

          Which would be fine, but that isn’t what you said. What you said is you want one specific driver to retire through no fault of his own. I thought that was a rather shallow view to have of a race.

      • Sergio Perez (@sergio-perez) said on 21st September 2013, 17:39

        Agree. Vettel deserves what he’s getting. he is a hard working professional driver. He has a great car, but just look at Webber in comparison- and he is no slouch. Merit where merit is due. I for one will enjoy watching the race, and if Vettel wins, so be it. I love formula 1, even if the championship is over, there are other interesting things to watch: Rosberg vs Hamilton, Massa’s last hurrahs, seeing how the midfield guys battle it out for points…

      • obviously said on 21st September 2013, 18:33

        So all three titles he has are through no fault of his own, since it’s the car that runs after all? And please, give me a break from the hypocrisy. They are all there to win, not to come second on third, so if the winner is a forgone conclusion, it’s pretty much normal to find it much less exciting.

        And I don’t mind Vettel having all the mechanical DNFs to the rest of the year. When you have a car, you take the good with the bad, and all the mesmerizing performances that this car is capable of, are to be taken together with some fragility too.

        I’d rather have a close battle for the lead in every race, but I wouldn’t find it too bad if Vettel gets a DNF in each of the remaining races. I don’t see how some people can claim they actually enjoy it, unless they cheer for Vettel, which is again perfectly reasonable too.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st September 2013, 20:13

          The idea that he ‘deserves’ car failures because he has a quick car is ridiculous. The bitterness from some at Vettel’s success never ceases to amaze.

          • Rockie said on 22nd September 2013, 9:06

            The problem is they know their idols can not match Vettel in the same car hence its Newey its the car, Vettel’s consistency is really painful to watch for them.

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 21st September 2013, 15:36

      @wackyracer don’t count on it mate . Better to expect the worst and be surprised if at all it happens.

  7. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 21st September 2013, 15:35

    He was struggling badly

    and yet Massa beat Alonso again? so well, I guess taht could be a good reason to keep on Massa’s lap, @fer-no65

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 21st September 2013, 16:09

      @fer-no65 @omarr-pepper wanna go Mexico next year? ;)

      Anyway, happy for Massa. Hope Ferrari doesn´t mess up with his race.

      Why do I feel so nervous about Grosjean being so close to Vettel and Rosberg.

      And the worst week in Nico Hulkenber´s life continue as Guitierrez just beat him…

    • @omarr-pepper

      yeah, but that’s not a good enough reason…

      @celeste I’d love to !

    • I do not like how some people are bagging Alonso for being outqualified by Massa. Massa is a great driver too, and on his day he can beat anyone. and anyway it was by less then a tenth of a second, which shows how hard it is to beat Alonso.

      • Massa is a great driver too

        That’s the point, he’s not. Since 2010, his driving has been decent at best, terrible at worst. Borderline mediocre most of the times. Basically no one would even put him in the top 8 these days.

        it was by less then a tenth of a second, which shows how hard it is to beat Alonso.

        That’s trying a bit too hard to find a way to praise Alonso. Alonso had a very weak qualifying season, and it’s not he first time this season. No way to spin that.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 21st September 2013, 19:08

      @omarr-pepper Not… as we said in my country we will paid for himself… ;)

      @fer-no65 Bernie better confirm the date soon, need to check by vacation time next year :)

  8. Krichelle (@krichelle) said on 21st September 2013, 15:36

    Rosberg. Just needed a thread of needle on that lap to snatch Pole Position and possibly deny Vettel the race win tomorrow. Hoping that he can stay on to Sebastian tomorrow. This seems unlikely as Vettel is unstoppable on clean air. Unexpected from Rosberg, but stupendously put himself in a good position.
    Webber. Purple in S1, matched Vettel in the middle sector. However, he loses about 2 tenths in final sector. A good start needed to stop Vettel winning.
    Hamilton. Has he lost the pace? Or is his car not setup properly. This was unexpected to occur.

  9. CNN to advertise Singapore 2014, with Massa’s Drift

  10. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 21st September 2013, 15:47

    I wonder, how Ferrari will react if Alonso doesn’t overtake him on the first lap and has to watch his gearbox until first pit stops. Repeat of 2008 anyone?

  11. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 21st September 2013, 15:48

    Interesting enough having Grosjean and Rosberg in the mix. I don’t have any realistic hope that Vettel will be given a serious challenge tomorrow, but I will be interested to see what else happens. Will Massa actually fight Alonso for position? Will Hamilton be able to challenge Rosberg, Grosjean and Webber? Could a safety car jumble the order?
    I know many people are bemoaning Vettel’s current dominance, but for me watching F1 can be more than just who wins. There’s 21 other drivers racing tomorrow, and that’s 21 stories I want to see unfold over two hours on a really challenging track. I’m looking forward to the racing, even if it probably won’t be for 1st place.

    • Latvian (@latvian) said on 21st September 2013, 16:04

      yes. there is 21 other drivers, that’s true. but everybody want to see his favorite to win. that is why Vettel is so unpopular- he doesn’t allow others to win.

      • he doesn’t allow others to win

        Which is a silly reason because, you know, that’s exactly his job.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 21st September 2013, 17:39

        This is a sport, and currently one team and one driver are doing by far the best job. Periods of dominance happen sometimes in sports such as F1. People who dislike Vettel and Red Bull for no other reason than being excellent at what they do are not true F1 fans to me. I’m not happy we don’t have an exciting championship at the moment either, but I have nothing but respect for what Vettel and Red Bull are achieving.

      • @latvian
        Get real.
        Why don’t you people direct your anger at those who are actually responsible for his dominance. The other teams and their drivers. Because it’s their fault that they aren’t good enough to match him.
        No driver is going to slow down to please a bunch of people, who would most likely hate him anyway. For whatever reason there is next on the list.

      • f12007v (@f1fan-2000) said on 22nd September 2013, 4:15

        People hates him because he is “boringnising” f1, winning so many races, but thats what he and red bull do in their careers: winning races and get the money.

  12. Yawnnn!!
    When is the first race of 2014? ;)

  13. Going to copy this from the other entry:

    That’s my problem with Alonso this year. He’s not pushing the car as much as he could (and should!) in qualifying. It’s not the first time he’s been bested by Massa. Sure, he’ll make a superb race (probably will pass Massa on the start), but this is one place he shouldn’t need to recover.

    On the other side, Vettel has been virtually flawless, pushing his car to the limit every weekend (surpassing Webber every single time).

    One can argue Alonso had a better campaign that Vettel in 2012, but I don’t see that this year.

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 21st September 2013, 17:59

      One can argue Alonso had a better campaign that Vettel in 2012, but I don’t see that this year.

      That’s very true, Vettel made no errors this year, his worst finishing position is 4th (if we don’t consider his British race).

      Red Bull had a dominating car in 2011 but this year, it’s a combination of the car and his flawless driving that has given him a 50+ gap between him and Fernando.

  14. Stunning lap by Vettel. Never saw it coming.

  15. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 21st September 2013, 17:06

    So… can anyone enlighten me who has how many sets of fresh rubber?

    We know Vettel, Webber, Grosjean and Gutierrez got away with not using a super-soft in Q1 and Q3 respectively. Do we know if Gutierrez used two in either Q1 or Q2? He ran 14 laps, so he could have. And/or if Webber and Grosjean used two new sets in Q3?

    What we know for sure is that Vettel used one new set in Q3 and one in Q2. Therefore he surely has one extra.

    This is important for me, could we discuss it, do you have info? (E. g. from the F1 app, which is more elaborate than the live timing screen on the web.)

    • Eric (@) said on 21st September 2013, 17:52


      As far as I know only Vettel has got new options left. I doubt it will matter too much though.

      • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 21st September 2013, 18:01

        It can be pretty important if there’s a safety car and the chance of getting a SC at Singapore is 100% if we look at the last 5 races here :D

      • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 21st September 2013, 18:05

        Thanks, and yeah, as @paeschli said a well-timed SC (e. g. a good super-soft stint ahead of the checkered flag) could make it so that it makes a difference. It just makes Vettel’s race strategy more flexible.

        I digged deep into the live commentaries, F1F live chat, Twitter accounts, etc. and I also think only Vettel has this advantage.

        • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 21st September 2013, 18:46

          @atticus-2 , I think I’ve got something for you :)
          Grosjean: Sebastian [Vettel] semble disposer d’une nette avance, mais il nous reste pas mal de pneus neufs pour demain.
          Traduction: Sebastian has a better car but we’ve got a lot of fresh tyres for tomorrow.

          • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 21st September 2013, 19:07


            Well, that’s strange, because it contradicts the official Lotus twitter feed, however, that is Gorsjean’s official post-quali statement, so it seems pretty legit.

            He might have then used a scrubbed set in either Q2 or on his first Q3 run – but judging by the lap times, 44.0, 43.9, 43.7, 43.0, I can’t imagine any of these could have been set on a scrubbed set, especially as the first two belong to his first ever run on the super-softs in Q2.

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