Free Practice 3
Rain fell some hours prior to practice, but even by the green light, the track was still rather damp as the road struggled to clear water. The times would gradually drop bit by bit as the circuit dried out, but it was still proving to be difficult to master around certain corners.
Turn 5 being one of them – the quick righter hander retained a good deal of water late into the evening; something that would eventually catch out Lewis Hamilton, Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Rosberg.
Someone not caught out was Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull driver set the fastest time around the Marina Bay circuit, again with a large gap in hand over his competitors.
Ferrari – having decided to drop the F-duct following yesterday’s session – had heir two drivers in the top 4. Fernando Alonso took 2nd place just over half-a-second behind Vettel and 0.3 of-a-second ahead of team mate Felipe Massa(4th). The Ferrari pair squeezed Lewis Hamilton in 3rd spot; however Hamilton’s McLaren partner, Jenson button was unable to register a solid time, leaving the reigning World Champion in 13th.
At the rear of the pack, Bruno Senna spun around at the entry of turn 10 chicane, as the young Brazilian struggled in his Hispania Racing machine. Senna eventually finished last on the timing sheets, something not helped by him running off circuit at turn 18 as the clock ran out.
Just when Red Bull entered a phase when they were to kings, Fernando Alonso dethroned them in spectacular style. The double-World Champion threw his Ferrari around the Marina Bay street circuit to lay claim to his 2nd pole position of the season and his 2nd in a row. This time Sebastian Vettel was Alonso’s closest rival, with the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton in 3rd place – just. Both Vettel and Hamilton really let their respective machines hang out around the 23-turn course – on this day, it was simply not enough. The top three had two runs in the final session, but their time from their initial runs were enough to solidify their positions. More disappointed were Jenson Button and Mark Webber – as they took the chequered flag, both improved, but only enough to register 4th (Button) and 5th (Webber).
Surprisingly, the fastest Brazilian in qualifying was the Williams driver, Rubens Barrichello – the veteran let his confidence reign on the brightly lit streets and will be happy to be sharing the third row with the Championship leader. Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica found themselves paired on the fourth row, while Michael Schumacher (his first top ten in qualifying since July) and Kamui Kobayashi secured the fifth row of the grid.
Jaime Alguersuari topped the list of drivers knocked out at the end of the second qualifying period. The young Spaniard had been looking at a top ten spot during practice, but couldn’t make it work when it mattered most; however he was still somewhat ahead of his Toro Rosso team mate, Sebastien Buemi (14th).
Between Alguersuari and Buemi were Nico Hulkenberg (12th) and Vitaly Petrov (13th) – both of whom had been hoping to do better. Unfortunately for Hulkenberg, his fate was sealed before qualifying – the German needed a new gearbox and garnered a five-place grid penalty as a result (he’ll start 17th), a fact that left him angry after his run. As for the under pressure Petrov, he threw his Renault into the barrier at turn 4, damaging his right rear suspension and ending his session prematurely. Prior to qualifying, the Renault team had decided to leave the F-duct off of Petrov’s car to help him learn the track, but it was not enough to get the Russian up to speed. Upon his return to Formula 1, Nick Heidfeld qualified put in the 15th best time, but managed to go quicker than both Force India’s headed by Adrian Sutil.
Timo Glock headed the battle of the new teams, as the German took led the group ousted from the first qualifying period. The Virgin Racing driver just beat his team mate Lucas di Grassi (20th) by less than half-a-second, as they squeezed the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen in 19th spot. Jarno Trulli struggled in the second Lotus and planted his green and yellow car on the 11th row of the grid in front of both Hispania’s. A spin for Bruno Senna at turn 4 did not help his cause – the Brazilian found himself well out-qualified by his new Hispania Racing team mate, Christian Klien (22nd).
Felipe Massa stopped on track ten minutes into the opening period – an electronic issue killing his engine and gearbox leaving him in a precarious position on the road at the exit of turn 14. It brought out the the red flag, while corner workers busied themselves trying to clear his Ferrari – the fraught Brazilian never got in a lap time and will start from last.
Singapore, Qualifying (September 25th)
1 ALONSO Ferrari 1m45.390s
2 VETTEL Red Bull 1m45.457s
3 HAMILTON McLaren 1m45.571s
4 BUTTON McLaren 1m45.944s
5 WEBBER Red Bull 1m45.977s
6 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m46.236s
7 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m46.443s
8 KUBICA Renault 1m46.593s
9 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m46.702s
10 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m47.884s
11 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m47.666s
12 PETROV Renault 1m48.165s
13 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m48.502s
14 HEIDFELD Sauber 1m48.557s
15 SUTIL Force India 1m48.899s
16 LIUZZI Force India 1m48.961s
17 HULKENBERG Williams 1m47.674s (* 5-place penalty for gearbox change)
18 GLOCK Virgin 1m50.721s
19 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m50.915s
20 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m51.107s
21 TRULLI Lotus 1m51.641s
22 KLIEN HRT 1m52.946s
23 SENNA HRT 1m54.174s
24 MASSA Ferrari no time
Singapore, 3rd Free Practice (September 25th)
1 VETTEL Red Bull 1m48.028s
2 ALONSO Ferrari 1m48.650s
3 HAMILTON McLaren 1m49.000s
4 MASSA Ferrari 1m49.023s
5 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m49.056s
6 WEBBER Red Bull 1m49.212s
7 HULKENBERG Williams 1m49.304s
8 KUBICA Renault 1m49.520s
9 SUTIL Force India 1m49.916s
10 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m49.949s
11 PETROV Renault 1m50.040s
12 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m50.053s
13 BUTTON McLaren 1m50.060s
14 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m50.067s
15 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m50.067s
16 LIUZZI Force India 1m50.868s
17 HEIDFELD Sauber 1m51.016s
18 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m51.027s
19 GLOCK Virgin 1m52.340s
20 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m53.146s
21 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m53.297s
22 TRULLI Lotus 1m53.681s
23 KLIEN HRT 1m54.826s
24 SENNA HRT 1m55.367s