GOOD LUCK ON THE STREETS: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (left), on pole for the Singapore GP, shakes hands with team mate Nico Rosberg (right) and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, after qualifying at the Marina Bay City Circuit. Image: AP
SINGAPORE, Malaysia - Lewis Hamilton edged out his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg on his final quali lap to secure pole for the 2014 Singapore GP, crossing the line 0.007sec ahead of Rosberg.
Hamilton, 22 points behind championship leader Rosberg with six races remaining, lapped the 23-turn Marina Bay Street Circuit in 1min45.681 after his team mate had crossed the line in 1min45.688.
Hamilton said later: "That was quite an exciting qualifying. Nobody was expecting to see such much difference and how close everyone was. To end up the way it did is good for our team."
SEVENTH MERC 1-2
Although the dominant Mercedes duo faced a stiffer challenge from Red Bull and Ferrari in practice and the first two qualifying sessions, the front-row lockout is the team's seventh of the season - vital on a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult.
Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest in 1min45.854 as Red Bull took both second-row spots with Australian's team mate and three-times Singapore winner Sebastian Vettel clocking 1min45.902 to claim fourth on the grid.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest, ahead of Felipe Massa, whose Williams lacked speed the entire weekend before Massa suddenly found some lightning pace in the final qualifying session.
The pole was Hamilton's sixth of the season and 37th overall but when he made a big mistake on the apex of Turn 1 on his final qualifying lap, first place looked a long shot with the top six cars separated by just three-tenths of a second.
Hamilton knuckled down and made up for the error, pushing to the limit under the floodlights as he continues to take the title fight to his team mate in their season-long battle for supremacy.
Hamilton said: "I locked up and lost a bit of time. I just kept going and it got better and better. I think Sunday is going to be an interesting race. Looking after these tyres is not easy but I think it will be a great race to watch with a lot going on."
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was seventh-fastest, although a mechanical problem prevented the Finn from setting a second quick lap in final qualifying as Valtteri Bottas (Williams), Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) and Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) completed the top 10 on the grid.
'LEWIS DID A GOOD JOB'
Rosberg was happy to secure another front-row position but was left rueing just how close he had been to pole: "When I think back at the lap, seven thou is nothing. That's the way it is. Lewis did a good job to get pole. Second is OK, first would have been better, but it's a long race ahead."
Ricciardo has won three times in 2014 but has yet to secure pole in his maiden campaign for Red Bull, the rookie encouraged by his performance around the 5.065km Singapore street circuit.
Ricciardo said: "For such a long lap it's amazing how close we are. It's going to be a fun race."
2014 Singapore F1 GP quali and practice times
Third Practice Session
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