Vettel gambles and wins To Take dramatic Singapore Pole
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By:   |  21 Sep 2013   |  3:47 pm GMT  |  187 comments

He took pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix standing in the Red Bull garage, biting his nails, as his rivals scorched around the Marina Bay Circuit. But even when he isn’t on the circuit, Sebastian Vettel still stays ahead.

The championship leader opted not to do a final run in qualifying this evening, believing that his lap of 1m 42.841 would be enough, but fastest sector times from team mate Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean made him sweat. In the end, Rosberg missed out by 9/100ths of a second and Grosjean was 12/100ths only off Rosberg in third.

It is Vettel’s fifth pole of 2013, and the 41st of his career. And the even better news for him is that his only title rival Fernando Alonso, was only seventh in the updated Ferrari, outqualified by his team mate Felipe Massa for the second race in succession and the fifth time in 13 races.

In a typically frantic session around the twenty-three cornered Marina Bay circuit, Red Bull went about their business in the usual manner, completing only single runs in the early phases of qualifying before an all-out assault in the top ten shoot out.

But for Vettel, only a single run was necessary in the final ten minutes as a first flying lap saw him hold provisional pole by 6/10ths of a second. His confidence was tested as others found significant gains on their late laps.

Opinion is divided on how best to plan strategy for the race; Pirelli believe the supersoft tyre will be the favourite because of its pace advantage and Vettel is well placed with a new set of the tyres available from not running again in Q3.

Others feel that the medium will feature in two stints after the initial phase on the supersofts. Two stops looks like the way to go.

Rosberg was on pole in Monaco and this result gives him his first front-row start since his victory at the British Grand Prix. He has had the upper hand over his team mate this weekend. Lewis Hamilton finished fifth behind the Red Bull of Mark Webber.

Grosjean pipped Mark Webber to lead the second-row, after an impressive display from the Frenchman. He was bouncing back from technical issues yesterday which restricted his running. Today it was Kimi Raikkonen who struggled, the Finn hurting his back and ending up only 13th on the grid.

Grosjean’s result tomorrow will be key for Lotus’ hopes in the Constructor’s Championship. He is also driving like a man who wants to lead this Lotus team next year when Raikkonen moves on.

Webber, in fourth and starting on the dirty side of the track, looked to be Vettel’s main challenger for pole after ending Q2 second to his team mate. But his gain of 6/10ths from Q2 to Q3 could not match the 9/10ths found by Rosberg and Grosjean. Webber was faster than Vettel on the medium tyre early on, but once they went to supersofts Vettel had in excess of 6/10ths over him.

Lewis Hamilton also struggled to find the necessary pace at the business end of the session but importantly starts on the clean side of the grid. He is joined by the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who was able to beat Fernando Alonso for two consecutive qualifying sessions. Alonso used the new front wing on the Ferrari, while Massa went with the old one.

Alonso begins the race in seventh place alongside a satisfied Jenson Button, with Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Gutierrez completing the top ten.

Gutierrez out-qualified the sister Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg for the first time in his Formula One career.

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX, Singapore, Qualifying

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m42.841s
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m42.932s +0.091s
3. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m43.058s +0.217s
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m43.152s +0.311s
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m43.254s +0.413s
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m43.890s +1.049s
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m43.938s +1.097s
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m44.282s +1.441s
9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m44.439s +1.598s
10. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber No time set
11. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m44.555s +1.650s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m44.588s +1.683s
13. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m44.658s +1.753s
14. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m44.752s +1.847s
15. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m45.185s +2.280s
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m45.388s +2.483s
17. Paul di Resta Force India 1m46.121s +1.925s
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m46.619s +2.423s
19. Charles Pic Caterham 1m48.111s +3.915s
20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m48.320s +4.124s
21. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m48.830s +4.634s
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1m48.930s +4.734s

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So how are all those well informed anti Pirelli F1 fans feeling now? Do u guys love how absolutely rubbish F1 is

Schellto watch since Silverstone?…..What a joy it must be to hear a fellow F1 purist like Crofty have nothing to comment on since nothing is happening during the races anymore. Let’s analyse the boredom after tonight’s procession…..I’ll watch a re run of hmmmm Valencia 2012.

Don’t fall asleep. Keep the coffee close u crazy fans


I’ll gamble and say Vettel will have a DNF.


Hope you didn’t put any cash on that!


Just my life savings.


Well done to Esteban for getting out of Quali One for first time, and into Quali Three for first time. Maybe this track works for him; Sky mentioned that he either qualified or finished in 3rd here in GP2.

Marina Bay has not been a lucky track for Lewis in the past. From memory, Lewis has his Webber and crashed out or been penalised; Webber has hit him in exactly the same way, and Lewis has crashed out or been penalised, and last year, his MacLaren broke down while he was in the lead.

Although, come to think of it, Sky replayed the 2009 Singapore GP, and Hamilton did win that one.

Eric Boullier defending Lotus on why they haven’t paid Kimi this year: “We had to make a decision, and decided to pay OUR people.”

Hold on, so your drivers aren’t your people as well? Is the team paying Grosjean? Or if so, is that only so you can take your managers’ cut?


Yeah, seriously, guys:

Where is the love for Esteban right now?

The kid did a freaking great job to get into Q3.

I’ve been following his career for a while. I always thought he had talented. He probably wasn’t ready for F1 at the beginning of the year. But if he keeps this up, hopefully he’ll keep his place in F1 and we’ll be one driver richer.


Massa out qualifies Alonso again. 5 times already this year. Alonso just isn’t getting the most out of the car in qualifying and it really cost Ferrari when they had the best car (Ferrari was overall best car up until the British Grand Prix).

Grosjean out qualifying Kimi again. More 3rd and 4th row starts next year for Ferrari.

Vettel in ominous form. His main foes look almost demoralised.


You are correct…After red bull got the sport to change the rules to suit their car, we can all see how great vettel is. So different to the average looking driver in the first 7rounds of the year…… But that was due to Pirelli not Seb being unable to adjust to a car that was not .5 to .8 seconds a lap quicker


Change what rules? Are you talking about the tyres that were blowing up at Silverstone? Funnily enough, Lotus were most vehemently against changing the tyres, yet they were the fastest car on the new tyres at subsequent race in Germany…

Alonso had the best car on balance up until the British Grand Prix and did nothing with the advantage.


There ended up being six seconds between the fastest cars and the Marussia’s, which is effectively six percent. It would be interesting to get an idea from a Q3 team as to how much it believes the track improved during the remaining 40 minutes.

Downforce at low speeds to give apex speed and traction while losing some of that downforce at high speed to cut drag seems to be a large part of success in F1.


You need to agree with me that when Felipe “can” race, he always beats him tem mate! It was this way last year when ferrari needed to release him, and he actually started to out-qualify Alonso. And now, as he does not have any compromisse, he started to run on front of his team mate again.

It’s clear for me that Ferrari has agreed to have a number two driver to let Fernando try to be WDC, but with a timeline, and now this has come to an end with KR, and now Alonso will need to race with just his car. BTW, as any other driver…


So Felipe could have been a multiple world champion but decided to sign contracts that prevented from fulfilling his talent. Deliberately qualifying mid field more often than not and making mistakes during the race so he didn’t get to close to Alonso. Even if your fantasy were true how could u support a driver who has no testicular fortitude. Same as Kimi fans who pretend he was noble in not getting paid. When really Kimi didn’t say anything until he signed for Ferrari cos he didn’t expect any offers and thought to keep lotus happy. Now he can talk but would Jenna, Mandela or Alonso accept that? Not even Damon hill lowered himself in 1997 when sir Frank lowballed him.


Jenna is senna

Mandela is mansell

Autocorrect is annoying like Ron dennis


happy to see so many giving kudos to drivers who over-performed this weekend. but sorry to see nobody mentioned Max. he almost owned his well thought of team mate in Monza and is right there again.

I hate the idea of pay drivers in any series, but am happy to see Max working hard and trying to prove he belongs…


Hi James,

From where we’re seating facing Turn 1 you can really see the confidence Vettel has on approach an and turn in.

He seems the only driver looking a bit oversteery when everbody else look cautious and understeer by using too much kerb.

I’d recommend that spot if you are watching the cars on track during practice. (There’s a cordoned off area for photographers at Turn 2 grandstand I assume you could use).


Thanks for sharing


I don’t like him, but credit where due, [mod] was on fire, particularly through the final sector.

To my fellow readers and posters on this (former) great site. Whilst it is good to support your favourite driver/s, this site has been slowly falling to the level of some others. Please show a little more objectivity and respect to all involved.


100% said the same earlier in the season


It’s a bit rich to say that while using abusive term for Vettel- double standards at work here!!


Sorry James, perhaps Bryce didn’t phrase his post very well, but he has a point. The levels of abuse and general did, didn’t, did…. ad infinitum type of comments have been on the increase in my opinion.


I would just like to say that, having re-read my post, it might appear that I am ungrateful. That is certainly not the case and I enjoy your site and articles and appreciate your effort to bring F1 closer to the fans – and all for free 🙂


Yes, and we apologise for that, the comment levels have been very high and we need to be more careful to moderate out the ones which add nothing

Problem is some are quite complex in that there can be some vaild points, but then aspects which are unpalatable. So it takes time to mde out elements, rather than simply trash the whole comment.
But we will raise the bar.


In LdM’s words: “Marussia beat Ferrari by more than 1.0 sec.”



Did you notice?

In Shanghai this year Vettel let him pass, but Monza 2011 Vettel did another great move…

Bahrain 2013 Vettel fell back from P2 to P3 before the first corner. He passed Alonso without DRS. And I think Vettel passed Alonso in wet/dry conditions during a HungaryGP, but I’m not sure.

So… Alonso never won a race, when Vettel was fighting…

Great, that we all can agree to that.

The Spanish Inquisitor

Pilot / Poles / Wins / % Fail

Vettel / 40 /32 / -20%

Hamilton / 32 / 22 / -31%

Alonso / 22 / 31 / NA

Nothing more to say……


Shows Alonso has had fast cars but bottles it in qualifying…


Vettel is Jim Clark to Newey’s Chapman. And unfortunately for Vettels rivals, there are no trees by the sides of the circuits anymore. Prepare for unseen levels of F1 domination. He’s going to catch Schumacher.

A Button fan.


In terms of chemistry between a driver and the team car designer engineer I agree. But what we have now it´s not racing compare to the old days.


Oh not comparable to the days a car was 3 seconds faster than the next .


Not comparable with blown exhauts, DRS, DDRS, huges front wings, silly tyres to force pit stops, computers everywhere, automatic gearbox,safesty measures, KERS, blown diffusers. And many tech and aero things that are or were used this days.

People didn´t have much of this is the 60´s


A good way of putting it

Jackie Stewart commentated FP2 with us on BBC 5Live and clearly he sees a lot of himself in Vettel’s style


I might stick to watching Q1 and Q2 only from now.


Why? Vettel put down a fast lap and then put his cards on the table and waited. Brought some pretty good drama to the session I thought.


I’m surprised at how many of us seem to think the title race is over. Of course, Vettel is looking strong, but the advantage is roughly two wins, seven races to go. Raikkonen was almost two wins behind in 2007, with two races to go. But… Vettel is a phenomenon, and great for the sport.


“Vettel is a phenomenon, and great for the sport.”


Most seasoned F1 fans are weary of watching Vettel
and his superior Newey-designed cars walk all over the rest of the field. Too much of this success has little to do with Vettel, and everything to do with the superiority of the car.

I’d like to see the IROC happen again. Vettel would not be dominant in that series, and I’d stake my house on that.


In my eyes Vettel will remain just a above average driver until he goes to some other team and wins there as well without Newey’s help.


Vettel Gambles and wins to take dramatic pole.

Boy it’s already tough to find interesting words to use for the remainder of the season to describe how there really is no competition. Yawn.


Deja vu: brazilian driver crash against the wall, security car out, Alonso win.


Go Gros!

Time for the underdog to crest the top step.

One-stopping Grosjean to keep race pace with Vettel and use one less set of tires, or go head-to-head and undercut on two laps more per stint to pass during the pits.

Go Gros, go!


No one will 1 stop tomorrow.


Hoping JEV gets in on a rain and safety car influenced race to disrupt the order to take second in front of Massa.


Just to show you how Kimi was affected (from BBC site) :

“Raikkonen initially complained of some discomfort in Friday practice but on Saturday he was in significant pain, to the extent that he could not breathe while braking for Singapore’s 23 corners. “

Anyway great job by Vettel (once again), Grosjean and Gutierrez. Not so excited for tomorrow, as Singapore (despite being a night race and close walls) is quite a boring race in terms of overtakings.


Massa is too pumped up but starting on the dirty side. Let’s hope he doesn’t take title contenders Vettel, Hamilton or Kimi out in his excitement. He is racing for him now.


I’m looking forward to see what the “I’m racing for myself Massa” is like. If he races hard, puts the squeeze on Alonso and has a coming together, I can just imagine LdM choking over his cappuccino. Mama Mia!


Fair play ….. Vettel has the best car … It’s getting a bit boring but for gods sake when Shumi kept on winning then before his time it was Williams .. lets start a fresh nexyear . Think Vettel is on his way to no 4 .


Massa is erratic in an erratic/slow car. Put him in a great car and he will be as consistent as he was a few years ago. He has true speed, but cannot “over drive,” a car like Alonso. If he signs with Mclaren for 2014, and the car is good he will beat Button easily.


Massa ahead of Alonso in Qualifying again-and this time without all the towing shenanigans of Monza!!!

Felipe did himself no harm there regarding sticking around in 2014.

Hopefully not a Vettel walk in the park and as for Moan di Resta what is his problem??? if i hear him say “its just not good enough” again im gonna……. really starting to bug me now!

Thread the Needle

Just no stopping Vettel these days


His domination has reached Jim Clark level.




And he is no Jim Clark.

Am out of here until next season when I hope we see a level playing field. F1 is so unsatisfying at the moment. That is unless you are a Vettel fan. Boring for others.


He’s better than Jim Clark you are watching poetry in motion enjoy it!


The sour grapes from the anti-Vettel crowd has gotten to hilarious levels all over internet.

So much that more and more people want Vettel to dominate, just to see these sour grape people cry more.


C’mon we fans wanna see some good close racing and a close championship, that’s all and I don’t think Vettel is hated as much as Hamilton in his earlier years.

Any driver who dominates like Vettel does, fans will sure get bored. I am.


Dear K,

Let me tell you honestly. I am Ham fan but never hated vettel. Why I hate him? I love f1 are respect all the driver. If Ham wins fair & square I will be more happy otherwise fair play to whom ever wins it but not in such a MS type of margins.

Truly I remember how I was jumping like a kid at the final race of 2008, 2010 & 2012. I love such kind of last race battle to win the champ.

So that is the main reason I believe many f1 fans are bored to se Vet run away with it with almost no challenge. At least that us the reason for me.


Insipid commentary. Can we talk about the racing please?


Try telling that to the anti-Vettel crowd all over internet.

Why aren’t they talking about racing but prefer talking about the finger, blonde hair, the finger, Justin Bieber, the finger, multi21, the finger, World War 2, the finger, booing, the finger and last but not least, the finger.

People who really love F1 would only show respect to and praise a young man writing F1 history. Not sulk and waste their private time writing long angry tirades against him because their favorite driver is not doing the writing of F1 history.

It is just silly on hilarious levels. So much that I have started rooting for Vettel while I am for Alonso, because it is entertaining to see them go off after yet another pole/win/title.


Not only Vettel has people who don´t like him. Alonso and Hamilton also have many fans who don´t like them. And those fans are always talking about the Fernando is faster than you thing. Or in Hamilton case that he is spoilt and Button beat him in 2011. And many things like that.

I don´t know why people think that if you are a fan of a particular driver or team you should bash others all the time. It souldn´t be this way but it is.


I don´t think people are anti Vettel. More likely they are anti boredom. We can only hope Rosberg and Grosjean find a way to make the race exciting.


So when others win from light to flag its not boring only when Vettel wins.


Many people are always saying how boring it was to see Schumacher win all the time when he was in Ferrari. At least when McLaren was dominant during the Senna and Prost days they have two drivers winning not just one.


No, they are anti-Vettel. If they were anti-boredom they’d have been willing to give Vettel credit back in 2010 and 2011. And 2012. But the criticism and hostility remains a constant over time, the only variable being the excuses offered for it.


I am only sure of myself but I believe most others have the same feeling of being bored. But if anyone says vettel is not deserving champ then who else should be. Even Button is a champ with the rocket BGP. I am happy for him to win it fare & square but at the last GP because I want to watch with same enthusiasm all the races.


No. Vettel is a very quick driver and one of the best in formula one. I do feel sorry for him as he is getting stick for be very good. There will always be the argument in any team about which driver gets preferential treatment depending on who people support.

However, I see comparisons in this current situation to the Mansell and Patrese season in 1991-1992. But you’ll tell me that Mansell was way better than Senna?


Vettel is doing a great job of course, but his rivals are also crumbling. Kimi, Alonso and Hamilton were all beaten by their lesser ranked teammates. In the case of the latter two drivers, beaten for the second race in succession.


Just got back from the circuit. The direction change of the RBR was shocking to watch. In the last few turns they were so much more aggressive than anyone else. It will be a good start tomorrow, the clean/dirty split is interesting. I will enjoy the race!!!


So Nico wasn’t aggressive in S3? He had the fastest time in that sector.

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