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. Minardi (@gitanes) said on 21st September 2013, 18:50

    If you are a real fan of F1 then you should appreciate the monstrously powerful combination that is Newey-Vettel. It won’t last forever. And when they are beaten it will then be that much more sweet. Boring races some may be….but that is F1. Period.

    • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 21st September 2013, 19:11

      I appreciate it. But appreciation and love are two entirely different things. I just can’t shrug off the feeling that two of the greatest drivers ever to have grace an F1 car, Alonso and Hamilton, are wasted in inferior cars, while Vettel – who I by no means consider a bad driver, he’s a very very good driver – shatters records. I just can’t shake off the feeling that it’s not the best driver, which rules F1 for years now. And that’s kind of annoying for me. Maybe I’m wrong, one can never tell – if Alonso and Hamilton are indeed better than Vettel. And that’s a bit annoying as well.

      • Sebas (@seabass) said on 21st September 2013, 19:29

        The evidence this day is that Alonso and Hamilton aren’t the best drivers in the pack. They’re both behind their teammates, Massa and Rosberg respectively. Vettel is ahead of Webber.

        F1 isn’t as simple that the biggest talent wins. There is more to the sport than that. It is the combination of the speed of the car, finding the right setup for each track and sheer pace of the driver. At the moment Vettel is the driver who does this the best. But I refuse to accept that the first criteria, the car, is the only thing that gives him an edge over the rest of the pack. He’s always around half a second faster than Webber in qualy this year. The latter two criteria do play a major part as well.

        • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 22nd September 2013, 9:19

          @seabass I agree with you regarding setups .

          However , to say that Alonso and Hamilton are not better than their teammates because in one race they got outqualified is absolute nonsense .

          I know Nico and Lewis are evenly matched for pace . But to talk in absolutes after a few sessions in Quali is ridiculous .

      • Hamilton – the thing about him is his talent was at its peak as soon as he entered f1. he hasn’t grown like vettel, he fades at the end of seasons (2007,08 and 10 he could have won in all 3) he is not consistent in races, in qualifying yes, but not races. He cannot dominate a teammate, (button scored more points then Hamilton at McLaren, rosberg has more wins at Mercedes) while Alonso and vettel can.
        Vettel is the best driver in F1 -he has proved it and continues to prove it, YES- it is hard to accept, but accept it. Alonso a close second for what he achieves with the consistently 3rd best Ferrari year after year.

        • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 22nd September 2013, 9:16


          Vettel is the best driver in F1

          No I cannot accept it . He is one of the best but not “the best” . Just after 4 seasons where Red Bull have been the fastest .

          The concerns you raise about Lewis’ consistency are true , though I would never say he has not learned anything since 2007 . He has matured a lot as a racer and to put up with everything including all sorts of bad luck ( I know every driver has a fair share of it , but sometimes his shares are a slight majority ) .

      • If Hamilton – often described as “the fastest driver on the grid” – had managed to beat Rosberg in qualifying then he’d most likely be starting on pole tomorrow. He and Alonso are under-performing this year, at least by the standards to be expected of “two of the greatest drivers ever to have grace an F1 car”.

        • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 22nd September 2013, 9:28


          He and Alonso are under-performing this year

          If you expected Nico Rosberg to be behind Lewis Hamilton in all Qualifying this year , then you are throwing a veiled insult at Nico .

          I agree that Vettel has been faultless but to say Lewis has under performed would be harsh as he is in a new team and is trying everything possible . Maybe he got his setups wrong . And whenever he makes mistakes , he agrees that it is his fault . making a few mistakes and under performing are two different things . Lewis under performed in 2011 . Massively. But since 2012 , he has not done a lot of mistakes as you are making him out to have done .

          Alonso ,also has made some errors and looked bleak compared to his own 2012 campaign . But you have to understand that Red Bull have the strongest development rate of them all and this makes them such a strong adversary .

          “two of the greatest drivers ever to have grace an F1 car”.

          Now don’t think I am a guy who believes that okay . That is another extreme .

  2. Ron (@rcorporon) said on 21st September 2013, 18:54

    Can’t say I’m too upset with this grid… looking forward to seeing Seb tear it up tomorrow morning!

  3. James (@goodyear92) said on 21st September 2013, 19:15

    Here we go again, for the third time on the trot. Vettel will lead into the first corner, have a +1s advantage at the end of lap one, and sail off into the distance from there, provided his gearbox doesn’t go kaput. Whilst it’s a glimmer of hope for some, I’m none too fond of seeing drivers denied results because the car lets them down. Yes, I’d rather see almost anyone else win this race than Vettel (namely, Lewis), but if they do so through inheriting it only after he retires (as Vettel did last year), it just doesn’t taste quite as sweet. I want to see him beaten fair and square, on a track and in a car that should see him win. The likelihood of that is slim to none, though.

    I’ll be honest, after the last four seasons of his dominance (and, yes, I appreciate the Championships of 2010 and 2012 finished rather close, but he still turned up at numerous race weekends in those two years with a car that was on rails and simply untouchable for the rest of the opposition), my excitement is starting to wane. It’s all very well people coming out in his and Red Bull’s defense, saying it’s not their fault that they keep winning, or that it’s up to the other 21 drivers and 10 teams to take the fight to them, and that we should admire just how efficiently both team and driver are opperating. That’s all true, to a degree. I personally acknowledge that Lewis, Alonso, Kimi etc. need to up their games, as do Mercedes, Ferrari et al, and I am in admiration of Red Bull and Vettel for what they’ve achieved and keep on achieving. None of that changes the fact that for those of us not in support of Vettel and Red Bull, or those who downright dislike them, watching them turn up and dominate so many race weekends is insufferably boring. Yes, there are 21 places and drivers besides the man in 1st, but 1st place is what everyone is most interested in, along with the Driver’s Championship, and when you’re watching a session as early in proceedings as P2, and can say with complete certainty that Driver A will get pole position and win, then it takes all of the fun out watching this sporting contest (unless of course it’s you’re favoured driver, but even then, predictability lessens the experience).

  4. Aussie Rod (@aussierod) said on 21st September 2013, 23:15

    Another Q3 for Ricciardo. That’s six Q3 showings in the last 7 races and 7 in total for the year.

    The record for Q3 appearances for a Torro Rosso driver in a single year was 10 in 2008, by a young guy named Vettel. I wonder if Dan can beat that by the end of the year in an, arguably, less competitive Torro Rosso car…

    There’s a lot of doubters about how he will go next year and whether he deserved the seat, but no one can doubt he has one lap pace.

  5. Erik Kennedy (@erikkennedy) said on 22nd September 2013, 11:42

    Seeing Rosberg throw the Merecedes around like that was very exciting. I really had the feeling that thar car did not deserve second on the grid, and Nico put it there by taking risks.

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