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GP Week : Issue 228
QUALIFYING 2015 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX 61 LAPS ROUND 13/19 << Last Race – Italy Two Weeks Ago 1 Next Race – Japan >> Next Weekend 2015 SINGAPORE FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX IN SINGAPORE QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – Ending Mercedes’ pole streak at 23, and Lewis Hamilton’s pole streak at 7, both of which were 1 short of the all-time records, Sebastian Vettel takes his first pole since the 2013 Brazilian GP, and the first for a Ferrari since Fernando Alonso at the 2012 German GP. That 61-race streak is the longest spell between poles in the history of Scuderia Ferrari, again by just 1 race – they previously had a 60-race streak between the 1990 Spanish and 1994 German GPs. 2 – This is only the 5th pole in this decade for Ferrari, and Ferrari will no doubt like that 5 of the last 6 Singapore GPs have been won from pole, with the other one (Vettel in 2012) being won from 3rd place, which is where Kimi Raikkonen is starting! This is the first time in the turbo hybrid era that a Mercedes-powered car is not pole, and consequently, it is the first pole for a Ferrari turbo engine since Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto locked out the front row at the 1988 British GP (coincidentally also the last pole for Ferrari in Enzo Ferrari’s lifetime). 3 - Alongside Vettel is Daniel Ricciardo, in only his 3rd front row start, and his first since last year’s Chinese GP. Red Bull had not qualified in the top-3 at any time in 2015, while Raikkonen’s 3rd place means there are 2 Ferraris in the top-3 on the grid for the 2nd race in a row. Daniil Kvyat has a career-best start in 4th, but although they’ve outqualified Mercedes, Red Bull must be concerned about the massive difference in trap speed between Ricciardo and the Mercedes drivers (almost 16km/h, or 10mph). This is the first time since the 2013 United States GP in which there has been no Mercedes chassis or engine in the top-4, and Lewis Hamilton only has 1 win when not in the first two rows on the grid (he won the 2014 British GP from 6th place). Valtteri Bottas’ 7th place is his worst since Monaco, 7 races ago. 4 – Max Verstappen gives Toro Rosso their best Marina Bay start since 2008, while Felipe Massa hasn’t been as low as 9th since he was knocked out in Q1 in Montreal. Romain Grosjean has reached Q3 at the last 4 races, but he hasn’t started higher than 8th in any of them (he did originally qualify 4th in Belgium until receiving a penalty). Nico Hulkenberg kept up his remarkable run of 11th-place starts – this is his 3rd time in the last 4 races – as Force India still haven’t got a car into Q3 in Singapore since 2012. Fernando Alonso’s 12th ties Mclaren’s best performance in a Q2 session this year (Button started higher in Monaco after penalties to other drivers). Jenson Button has never started as low as 15th in Singapore. 5 – Both Saubers were eliminated in Q1 for the 3rd time this year, all of which have come on high downforce tracks (Monaco, Hungary and here), but the good news for Felipe Nasr was that he outqualified Marcus Ericsson for the first time in 5 races. Having previously qualified on the front row here (2012), Pastor Maldonado was knocked out in Q1 in Singapore for the 2nd year in a row. Alex Rossi was 0.502s adrift of Will Stevens, and was outside 107% of the pole time, but within 107% of the best Q1 time. Formula 1 rookie Alexander Rossi disappointed in his first qualifying session. The American was half a second off the pace of Will Stevens, the Manor duo more than seven seconds adrift of Vettel's ultimate pace. Their blushes were only saved by the fact Vettel didn't feel the need to use the super soft tyre in Q1 – had he done the team would almost certainly have had to ask the stewards for permission to start the race. Vettel, Ricciardo and Raikkonen all managed to save a set of the super soft tyres in the opening part of the session, and all used them to full effect in their final run. Vettel's pole lap was gratuitous and unnecessary but it allowed the German n opportunity to stamp his authority over the weekend in a manner he's not done since he was wearing blue overalls. 24 GPWEEK.com // 24 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> SINGAPORE PARTNERS: