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Lewis steals Singapore pole from Rosberg

2014-09-20 16:14

SINGAPORE WIN IN SIGHT: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton grabs pole position during qualifying for the 2014 Singapore GP. Image: AP/ Aaron Favila

SINGAPORE, Malaysia - Lewis Hamilton snatched a dramatic last-gasp pole position from his Mercedes team mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg for Sunday's (September 21) Singapore GP with a phenomenal lap in the final seconds of qualifying.

Hamilton left it late, crossing the line after three rivals had in succession cut their times to take provisional pole, to the raucous delight of the crowd as he secured the prime starting position by just 0.007sec.

Rosberg, who leads him by 22 points in the Drivers' championship with six races left, will start alongside him in second with the Mercedes pair taking their team's seventh 1-2 of the season.


It was Hamilton's third pole success in Singapore, his sixth of the 2014 season and the 37th of his career.

Rosberg's reaction was pithy, but understandable, when he was given the news on team radio: "Dammit!"

Mercedes F1 boss Niki Lauda said: "Unbelievable. They did a good job, my two guys, but everybody's catching up. That worries me a bit."

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, whose final quali lap seemed to be enough for pole and delighted many of his Australian compatriots packed into the Marina Bay street circuit, fell back to third on the grid as the Mercedes pair stormed home.

Team mate, defending four-times champion Sebastian Vettel who won the previous three Singapore races, will start fourth.

Fernando Alonso qualified fifth for Ferrari ahead of Williams' Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, seventh in the second Ferrari.

On a tense and thrilling evening Valtteri Bottas was eighth in another Williams ahead of Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) and Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso).


In hot conditions with humidity at 77% at the start of the city's seventh F1 GP, the opening Q1 session was busy from the start as Hamilton and Alonso set the early pace under the circuit's 1500 floodlights.

Hamilton, one of only three drivers - each an F1 champion - to have won in Singapore, clocked a best early lap of 1min47.847 to set the pace. The other two, Alonso and Vettel (chasing a fourth consecutive win) adopted alternative strategies.

Alonso was soon on the pace but Vettel delayed until the final minutes when Ricciardo and Hulkenberg also took advantage of the improving track conditions as the cars laid down a layer of rubber from their super-soft tyres.

By Q1's end Ferrari was on top with Raikkonen ahead of Alonso and Hamilton third ahead of Button, an outcome that suggested Mercedes' mastery was under threat. It was the first time in the 2014 season that the Finn was fastest.

A late effort saved Massa from joining the usual suspects in early elimination as Adrian Sutil (Sauber), Pastor Maldonado (Lotus), Jules Bianchi and his Marussia team mate Max Chilton went out with the Caterham pairing.


In Q2 Alonso then Hamilton set the pace again as Ferrari continued to flex its new-found muscle before a late Rosberg lap lifted him on top by nearly half a second.

McLaren's Jenson Button missed out on the top 10 shoot-out by one slot but ahead of Toro Rosso's job-hunting Jean-Eric Vergne, the two Force Indias, Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) and Romain Grosjean (Renault) was 16th.

Button has now been out-qualified 8-6 by Magnussen so far in 2014 while for Grosjean, a front-runner in 2013, frustration boiled over. "I cannot believe it, bloody engine, bloody engine," he complained.

Qualifying times for the 2014 Singapore F1 GP

1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min45.681
2 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min45.688
3 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 1min45.854
4 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min45.902
5 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min45.907
6 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 1min46.000
7 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min46.170
8 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min46.187
9 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1min46.250
10 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso 1min47.362

11 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min46.943
12 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min46.989
13 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min47.308
14 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 1min47.333
15 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 1min47.575
16 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min47.812

17 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber  1min48.324
18 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus 1min49.063
19 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia 1min49.440
20 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham 1min50.405
21 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 1min50.473
22 Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham 1min52.287

1-10 - final qualifying
11-16 - second qualifying
17-22 - first qualifying

Third Practice Session
Second practice
First practice

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Singapore GP weekend

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