Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has created the first real upset of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, by claiming pole position in today’s action-packed qualifying session. The favourite for top spot, Sebastian Vettel, managed the third-fastest time, despite being the quickest driver in each of the practice sessions beforehand.

The second upset of the weekend went to F1 2012’s ‘Mr Mercurial’, none other that Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan delivered an incredible effort in the final phase of qualifying to claim his second career front-row start. With Hamilton and Maldonado having come to grief on more than one occasion, it’s all set for another exciting drag race off the line in Sunday’s race.

Jenson Button managed to qualify fourth-fastest in the sister McLaren, relegating championship leader Fernando Alonso to fifth-fastest, but on the more advantageous ‘clean’ side of the grid.

Paul di Resta cemented Force India’s excellent practice pace with the sixth-fastest time – team-mate Nico Hulkenberg just missed out on a Q3 berth – and the Scot will start ahead of Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean, who were the slowest runners to post a time in Q3.

Neither Mercedes opted to stake a claim for a lap-time after making the Q3 cut, and Michael Schumacher will start from ninth place, one ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg.

The strong performances from Maldonado and di Resta meant that the more favoured Q3 candidates – such as Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa – were demoted at the second hurdle, after failing to better the 1:47.943 needed to get into the final phase of qualifying.

Bruno Senna was another driver who failed to capitalise on his car’s overall pace. The Brazilian suffered his third crash in as many sessions – this time he stuffed his Williams’ nose into the wall at the penultimate corner and took no further part in Q2.

Starting ahead of the under-pressure Brazilian will be Sergio Perez in fourteenth, followed by the Toso Rosso runners of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, who opted for a late run on the super-soft tyres in Q1 in order to book themselves a spot in Q2.

Their late runs came at the expense of Kamui Kobayashi, who was this weekend’s unlucky driver to join the usual suspects from Caterham, Marussia and HRT in the Q1 ‘early bath’.

imageAfter the highs of Monza a fortnight ago, it’s quite clear that the Sauber is struggling around Singapore’s streets.

The Swiss team will be hoping that its Constructors’ Championship points advantage over Force India isn’t eaten into too much after Sunday’s race.

In other news, it was announced that Marussia F1 rookie Charles Pic would be hit with a twenty-second time penalty after the race after he was found guilty of failing to acknowledge the red flags that were brought out in final practice when Vitaly Petrov crashed out of the session. The Frenchman will also have to serve a day’s community service in support of the FIA’s ‘Make Roads Safer’ campaign, as was noted in the official decision handed down by the event stewards.

2012 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix – Qualifying Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:46.362  
2. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW34 1:46.804 + 0.442
3. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:46.905 + 0.543
4. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 1:46.939 + 0.577
5. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:47.216 + 0.854
6. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:47.241 + 0.879
7. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB8 1:47.475 + 1.113
8. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:47.788 + 1.426
9. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 no time  
10. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG F1 W03 no time  
  Q2 Cut-Off – 1:47.943   Time Gap
11. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes VJM05 1:47.975 + 0.032
12. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E20 1:48.261 + 0.318
13. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F2012 1:48.344 + 0.401
14. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari C31 1:48.505 + 0.562
15. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:48.774 + 0.831
16. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7 1:48.849 + 0.906
17. Bruno Senna BRA Williams Renault FW34 no time  
  Q1 Cut-Off – 1:49.809   Time Gap
18. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari C31 1:49.933 + 0.124
19. Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham Renault CT01 1:50.846 + 1.037
20. Heikki Kovalainen FIN Caterham Renault CT01 1:51.137 + 1.328
21. Timo Glock DEU Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:51.370 + 1.561
22. Charles Pic* FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01 1:51.762 + 1.953
23. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:52.372 + 2.563
24. Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRTF1 Cosworth F112 1:53.355 + 3.546

* Denotes twenty-second time penalty will be applied to finishing result – in addition to one day’s FIA community service – for failing to ignore red flag during Saturday’s final practice session

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.