Hamilton takes pole by Seven Thousandths of a second in Singapore

Lewis Hamilton took pole by a whisker in today’s Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying session, clocking a time just 0.007 seconds faster than team mate Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes duo had lingered in the middle of the top 10 for most of the session, and it looked like Ricciardo or one of the Ferraris might be lining up on the front row of the grid. but a late surge from the Silver Arrows saw them lock out the top spots for the 7th time this season.

PRACTICE 3

The pace of the Ferraris was apparent on Friday and Saturday. Alonso had already topped the sheets in P1, and was just behind Hamilton in the second, so it came as no surprise that the Spaniard, whom controversially won the inaugural event in 2008, topped the sheets once again in P3. His time of 1:47.299 was just 51 thousandths of a second (0.051) quicker than Ricciardo.

It marks one of the very few times this season (possibly the first, but don’t quote me on that) that both a Ferrari AND a Renault-powered car have been ahead of Mercedes. Rosberg was Germany’s best hope in third, with the surprising appearance of Jean-Eric Vergne popping up in an impressive fourth place.

Hamilton sat in sixth, but it was trouble for his former team; Magnussen could only muster 12th place, and F1’s elder statesman Button, an unlucky 13th.

As darkness fell upon Marina Bay, the first ‘big business’ session of the weekend began; it was time for Qualy.

QUALIFYING 1

The red cars carried through their strong pace into Q1, with Raikkonen topping the timing sheets just ahead of Alonso. The Caterham-Marussia battle was of course won by the ever-impressive Jules Bianchi. He was joined by his fellow stragglers, the ailing Maldonado, and Adrian Sutil who was bested by his team mate for only the 5th time this season.

Kevin Magnussen came perilously close to going out and lingered in 15th.

Eliminated in Q1

Adrian Sutil, Sauber
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus
Jules Bianchi, Marussia
Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham
Max Chilton, Marussia
Marcus Ericsson, Caterham

QUALIFYING 2

Both Williams drivers lingered in the knock-out zone for much of the session, but eventually Massa pulled out the 5th-fastest time, and Bottas moved through in P8. The out-developed Force India cars struggled and both were dumped out of the session, bringing Button and bad luck magnet Jean-Eric Vergne with them.

Eliminated in Q2

Jenson Button, McLaren
Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso
Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber
Sergio Perez, Force India
Romain Grosjean, Lotus

QUALIFYING 3

The final session was of course a two-horse race once more, but that didn’t stop Daniel Ricciardo setting the early pace. Nico Rosberg rounded the final corner and scorched the top of the timing sheet with a time of 1:45.688. Rosberg’s time looked unassailable, until his team mate and Championship nemesis Lewis Hamilton beat it – by a margin of 7 THOUSANDTHS of a second – that’s 0.007 in numerals!

Final Top 10

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
Felipe Massa, Williams
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas, WIlliams
Kevin Magnussen, McLaren
Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso

It’s one of the closest contests for Pole position in history, but that distinction goes, of course, to the European GP of 1997, where Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher, and Heiz-Harald Frentzen all clocked IDENTICAL times for the first grid slot.

But anyway, that’s enough reminiscing for now. Here’s how the cars will line up for the 2014 Singapore GP.

THE GRID

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
Felipe Massa, Williams
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas, WIlliams
Kevin Magnussen, McLaren
Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso
Jenson Button, McLaren
Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso
Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber
Sergio Perez, Force India
Romain Grosjean, Lotus
Adrian Sutil, Sauber
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus
Jules Bianchi, Marussia
Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham
Max Chilton, Marussia
Marcus Ericsson, Caterham

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