Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vettel Achieves Brightness in Singapore GP Qualifying

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service

One of the newer editions to the Formula 1 schedule, the Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street Circuit provides one of the more unique atmospheres for competition. Not only is the tight street course a challenging mix of straights and corners but the variable of a nighttime event for the premier open wheel racing series. The Glitzy Marina Bay Street Circuit's history of hosting Formula 1 races may be brief, but the track has instantly gained recognition as a wild event.

Under the nights of a Saturday evening, qualifying for the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix resulted in the race's defending winner Sebastian Vettel claiming the pole. Posting a fast time of 1 minute, 42.841 seconds in Q3, Vettel's Red Bull-Renault took a second-straight time trial session victory. Less than a tenth of a second quicker than the Mercedes AMG race car of Nico Rosberg, Vettel's heading into the final stretch of the 2013 Formula 1 season within striking position of his fourth consecutive Formula 1 driver's title. At this time, Sebastian Vettel has been padding a lead in the drivers' standings thanks to an Italian Grand Prix victory earlier this month. Entering Singapore, the reigning champion with Red Bull Racing is holding a 53-point advantage over the second place challenger in the 2013 standings.

After winning two times in the summer, Nico Rosberg is fighting to establish more consistently strong race weekends with Mercedes AMG. Holding the majority of 2013 season pole positions, the Mercedes AMG team has been realizing the Red Bull-Renault of Sebastian Vettel has upped its game. Lewis Hamilton was fifth quickest on track in Singapore frustrated by the result but determined to move up the grid during the 61-lap race Sunday.

Photo Credit: Pirelli Photo Service

Breaking into the top-three in qualifying, the Lotus-Renault driver Romain Grosjean acquired his highest grid position in the 2013 Formula 1 season. Though this season was not as noisy as Grosjean's 2012 campaign, this is actually an improvement for the Frenchman's stint at the Lotus F1 Team. Grosjean was also successful of out qualifying his teammate on the Singapore track. The first race since Kimi Raikkonen's announcement of 2014 plans to rejoin Ferrari, the lead Lotus F1 Team driver could only muster a 13th place run.

Sandwiched between the Lotus-Renault of Romain Grosjean and Hamilton's Mercedes AMG race car, Mark Webber will start fourth. Despite seeing several of the same players at the front in Formula 1 qualifying at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, there is an interesting dose of parity found at the end of this time trial. Overall, the Singapore Grand Prix qualifying session was highly competitive on the Q3 session time sheet. The top-five vehicles were only separated by nearly four-tenths of a second at the end of qualifying. 

The Ferraris led by Brazilian Felipe Massa had some struggles matching the pace of the Red Bull-Renaults on the Singapore course. With Massa placed sixth on the grid, Fernando Alonso, the man believed to be Sebastian Vettel's only major competition for the 2013 drivers' championship, will roll off seventh. In qualifying, the Ferraris outpaced the McLaren-Mercedes of Jenson Button and the Toro Rosso-Ferrari of Daniel Ricciardo.

 With Sauber, Esteban Gutierrez recorded one of best qualifying efforts in his 2013 rookie season. The Mexican driving the Sauber-Ferrari cracked the top-10 in qualifying. Teammate Nico Hulkenberg was 11th fastest on Saturday despite a malfunctioning DRS wing during qualifying.

A night race in Singapore, the 2013 grand prix on the Marina Bay Street Circuit will start at 8 am Eastern time.

2013 Formula 1
Singapore Grand Prix
Qualifying Results

Pos # Car # Driver Team Engine

1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault
2 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
3 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault
5 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Mercedes-Benz
6 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari
7 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari
8 5 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes-Benz
9 19 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
10 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari
11 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber Ferrari
12 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari
13 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault
14 6 Sergio Perez McLaren Mercedes-Benz
15 15 Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes-Benz
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams F1 Renault
17 14 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes-Benz
18 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams F1 Renault
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham Renault
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham Renault
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia Cosworth
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia Cosworth

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