Sebastian Vettel has rued a small mistake which cost him a shot at claiming pole position for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix. The defending winner at Marina Bay will start fourth-fastest in his Red Bull Racing RB10, one spot behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
In an incredibly close final session, Vettel finished 0.221 seconds slower than the pole-winning lap-time posted by Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes, who headed another 1-2 for the Silver Arrows.
“I’m not happy with that final lap, I was pushing a bit too hard and didn’t get it all together, but it is what it is now. I think pole could have been in our grasp,” he said after qualifying.
“We’ll hope to have a good race tomorrow, with good pit stops and a good strategy and we’ll see what we can do from there. I think we have good speed, but everyone seems to have good speed here. It’s a long race, so we’ll see how the tyres work and what we can do.”
Teammate Ricciardo continued his advantage over Vettel in their head-to-head qualifying stakes – now reading 8:6 in the Australian’s favour – and he was confident he could threaten for victory, if he could make a good start from the cleaner right-hand side of the grid on Sunday.
“If the start goes okay then it’s about trying to be smart and doing something with the strategy,” he said of his prospects for Sunday night’s 61-lap race.
“If I can get close, then I’ll have a go, I haven’t been shy doing that this year, but it’s difficult on a street circuit.”
Team Principal Christian Horner praised the season’s most qualifying performance by his drivers: “Second row of the grid for both of the drivers in a really tight qualifying was a really strong team performance. It was very close at the end and it was certainly the closest we’ve been to Mercedes in qualifying all year, so hopefully that bodes well for tomorrow’s race and we can put them under pressure.”
Images via Sutton Images and XPB Images