Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole in the 2018 Formula 1 Singapore GP as title rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was only third with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen slotting in second.
The gamble from Mercedes nearly didn’t pay off in the first part of qualifying in Singapore GP at Marina Bay Sands street circuits as they opted to do the session on the ultrasoft compound while all their rivals had the hypersoft tyres.
Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton barely made it through to Q2 finishing 12th and 14th respectively as Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo topped the session from Ferrari pair of Vettel and Raikkonen with Haas’ Romain Grosjean surprising with a fourth place finish.
The driver who couldn’t make it through to Q2 was the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen (1m39.644s), which seemed like a miscalculation on the part of the team as the Dane was in the pits in the dying moments of the session.
Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley (1m39.809s) finished 17th from McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne (1m39.864s) and the two Williams of Sergey Sirotkin (1m41.263s) and Lance Stroll (1m41.334s) rounding the 20 finishers.
Both Vandoorne and Sirotkin brushed the wall in the penultimate corner on their quick laps.
Ferrari decided to gamble in the second part of qualifying going on the ultrsoft tyres for their quick runs but it didn’t work, as they were forced to pit to switch onto the hypersoft compound. It helped Raikkonen to finish on top from Verstappen.
Bottas improved to third in a late lap as Vettel slotted in sixth after being held by the Haas. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (1m38.641s) almost made it inside the Top 10 but was pushed down to 11th after improvements from other drivers.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz (1m38.716s) also failed to make the cut along with the two Sauber drivers of Charles Leclerc (1m38.747s) and Marcus Ericsson (1m39.453s) in 13th and 14th respectively with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly (1m39.691s) managing only 15th.
The fight for pole went berserk after Hamilton’s mega lap of 1m36.015s to take provisional pole for the Singapore GP with Verstappen slotting in second with a 1m36.334s and Vettel only third with a 1m36.628s lap time.
It was an anti-climax in the end as nobody could improve on their second lap with Hamilton clinching pole with his mega first lap and more importantly beating title rival Vettel who was only third with Verstappen in between.
Bottas (1m36.702s) finished fourth with Raikkonen (1m36.794s) in fifth, followed by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo (1m36.996s), with Racing Point Force India’s Sergio Perez (1m37.985s) improving on his final lap to seventh and finishing as the best of the rest.
Teammate Esteban Ocon (1m38.365s) finished ninth with Haas’ Grosjean (1m38.320s) in a Force India sandwich in eighth, as Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg (1m38.588s) completed the Top 10.