Tweet from @vitalypetrovrus: Don't worry. Everything will be good. Gearbox is "alive". All ready for qualifying ...
Sebastian Vettel led all three sessions of Free Practice - read into that... well, nothing, really, but it's a good enough start for him.
Tweet from @radarguruf1: #F1 Singapore: The rain radar is clear for miles around with 20 minutes to go until qualifying. A hot and steamy session ahead. Air temp 28c
|Free Practice 1||L Hamilton||1:48.599|
|Free Practice 2||S Vettel||1:46.374|
|Free Practice 3||M Webber||1:46.081|
|The Race||S Vettel||1:59:06.757|
Ten minutes to go now, have you made your predictions? Do share them with the Sidepodcast comments! https://sidepodcast.com/event/qualifying-singapore-formula-1-world-championship-2012
You might also find live timing handy - the FP3 times have just cleared and it will soon be qualifying time! http://www.formula1.com/live_timing/live_timing.html
Comment from Lukeh: Predicitions, FBFB? I can't see past a Red Bull pole today. Really want Kimi to win a race though.
Interview with Stefano Domenicali: "I see Red Bull and McLaren are in very good shape. We are there, but who knows. Every race is a different story, so we need to maximise what we can do."
Comment from Steven Roy: I think pole will be between Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel. No idea which one so I will say Lewis because I would prefer it to be him on pole
Tweet from @TheFifthDriver: After the three practice sessions so far this w/e, the MP4-27 looks competitive. But we're about to find out how competitive! Come on VMM!!
Don't forget the tyres of choice this weekend are soft and supersofts (yellow and red respectively).
Qualifying session 1 begins.
Lotus, Sauber, Williams and Paul di Resta head out on track.
Tweet from @OfficialSF1Team: during all FPs we struggled with the car's balance. can't expect too much for Quali. Hope for a solid position in Q2. fingers crossed. #F1
Plenty of drivers head out on track, testing the grip in the humid conditions. It's so bumpy, as Pérez begins his first lap of the session.
Pérez misses the chicane at turn ten completely, takes it in a straight line, so this first lap time won't count.
Notably, the kerb that was at turn ten was removed this year, so there's no risk to missing the corner and taking it straight. Except losing your time, of course.
Pérez sets a 1:52.725, but there are many drivers heading towards the finish line behind him.
Kobayashi tops his teammate's time, then Grosjean improves on that, and Maldonado takes P1 for the moment, the times already down to 1:49.976.
Massa moves out the way for Alonso, as the championship leader comes round for his first lap of this session - 1:49.511 and that's P1.
Remaining in the garage for now, both Red Bull drivers and both Caterhams.
Jean-Éric Vergne locks up big time as he slips into 9th place - those tyres will be less comfortable now!
Hülkenberg has moved up to P2, as Michael Schumacher slips into fourth with a ragged lap that was too close to the wall for comfort a few times!
Maldonado improves to P1 again, as Kimi Räikkönen returns to the garage. The only driver yet to come out of the pit lane is Vettel.
Rosberg drops the times again, we're looking at 1:49.463.
Vettel finally heads out for his first lap of the day, just as more drivers return to their garages preparing for a second stint.
Over half the session gone, and Lewis Hamilton's first time leaves him outside the 107% cutoff. I imagine he will be doing another.
I knew it! Hamilton is on the soft tyre (harder of the two) and moves up to first place, with a 1:48.285.
Kimi studies the screens, via @Lotus_F1Team.
With all drivers now setting times, the drop zone features Verge, Kobayashi, Kovalainen, Glock, Pic, Karthikeyan and De la Rosa.
Sebastian Vettel popped up in second place a moment or two ago, and there is 0.002 seconds between him and P1 Hamilton.
Both Lotus drivers have returned to the track on the softer compound now. Vettel's engineer is on the radio suggesting they believe the times are good but the track is getting quicker and quicker, and they want to be safe.
Petrov is currently out of the drop zone, at the expense of both Vergne and Kobayashi, but I can't believe that will last the full session.
Kimi Räikkönen knocks a tenth off the fastest time, now down to 1:48.169.
Paul di Resta jumps up to P1 but is pushed down by Romain Grosjean, with the times dropping into the 1:47s.
Kobayashi has improved to 16th, which is only just out of the dropzone, whilst Pérez moved up to 7th.
The drop zone now features all the usuals, although Petrov is still ahead of Vergne in 18th.
Qualifying session 1 ends.
Both Toro Rosso drivers improved there, Vergne up to 15th and Ricciardo up to 7th - which puts Kobayashi back in the drop zone. He's in the pitlane too, so out of qualifying early.
Fastest three in that session, Grosjean, Di Resta and Räikkönen.
|24||P De la Rosa||HRT|
Sauber said earlier that they weren't expecting too much from qualifying, but I can't believe they thought they'd have a car drop out in Q1!
Qualifying session 2 begins.
The first driver heading out in this session is Kimi Räikkönen, and he's quickly joined by his teammate and the one remaining Sauber.
Eleven drivers out on track now, the bright Singapore laps glistening off the colourful liveries.
There's talk of Webber and Glock being under investigation for impeding - not sure which way round the issue was though.
Kimi sweeps round the corner and rides the bumps, with sparks kicking up off the back of the Lotus, he's heading towards his first lap time of Q2.
A 1:48.261 for Kimi, as he crosses the line and sets the benchmark.
There were brief yellow flags during Kimi's lap, as his teammate Romain Grosjean spun the car and bashed into the wall. He kept the car going but has returned to the pitlane.
Meanwhile, Alonso has popped up in P1, and Rosberg in P3, sandwiching Kimi. Webber moves up to second.
Bruno Senna slows in the pit lane before he reaches his box, he's gesticulating for the team to come and give him a push.
Replays show Senna hit the wall and broke the rear suspension.
Fernando Alonso is pushed back into the garage, currently sitting in fourth place.
Senna climbs out of the car, frustrated and disappointed. He circles the car to have a look at the damage he did.
Both McLaren drivers come back to the pitlane, simultaneously being pushed back into their respective garages. A bit of McLaren ballet, there.
With half the session remaining, we've got everyone with a time except Grosjean and Senna - both of whom have crashed.
The drop zone also features Di Resta, Schumacher, Hülkenberg, Pérez and both Toro Rosso drivers.
Both Lotus drivers are out on track, as well as both the Force India boys.
Hamilton, Vettel and Button sit at the top of the timesheets in that order, and all three have remained in the garage.
The rest of the drivers, barring Senna, are out on track, battling for those remaining seven places in Q3.
Grosjean jumps up to P3 as Di Resta improves to fifth place. His teammate Hülkenberg is not far behind on track, or on pace, into sixth.
Qualifying session 2 ends.
Webber just misses out on the opportunity to complete another lap, but he moves up to third place anyway, so should be secure.
Both Pérez and Massa cross the line 11th, both missing out on the top ten. Alonso and Maldonado both move up into the top ten.
Hülkenberg sits in tenth, a precarious place as Schumacher is on a lap. It's 9th place for the Mercedes driver, knocking the Force India out.
|11||N Hülkenberg||Force India|
|15||D Ricciardo||Toro Rosso|
|16||J-E Vergne||Toro Rosso|
Interview with Kamui Kobayashi: "I struggled with the car, myself I cannot get confident with this car. We did everything to make it right, but still now I can't feel confidence in the car. It was really difficult driving. Huge oversteer, I cannot handle this track with oversteer. It's something very strange."
Interview with Bruno Senna: "Not much damage, but enough to stop me from running. Unfortunately, it put me in a bad position for the race tomorrow. A bit like Monaco where we started from the back. I think we have a good car for the race, but it's not easy to overtake. I think we're going to have to push very hard to get points out of this."
Qualifying session 3 begins.
Nico Rosberg heads the queue of drivers desperate to get the session underway. Button and Schumacher follow him out.
Eight drivers on track now, just Alonso and Grosjean wait for now.
Waiting for the first lap time to come in, we're watching the two McLaren drivers - just ten seconds apart on track.
It's Hamilton who crosses the line with the fastest time - 1:46.362. Button almost a second off, with Vettel in third.
It's that midway moment, with just three minutes left (not really midway), and drivers stopping off for their final sets of tyres.
Grosjean has a massive sideways moment that costs him a few tenths, but could have cost so much more as he narrowly avoided the wall.
Grosjean crosses the line fourth, there are only the four times on the board so far.
Hamilton, Button, Vettel and Grosjean. The rest need to set a time, although rumour has it Mercedes aren't going to.
Pastor Maldonado puts in a great lap to pop up into second, five tenths off Hamilton's time.
Qualifying session 3 ends.
Fernando Alonso jumps up to third place, behind Maldonado. Webber sits fifth.
Vettel crosses the line for third, splitting Maldonado and Alonso. Button slips into fourth, as Hamilton is the last driver to complete his lap - and he remains top.
|3||S Vettel||Red Bull|
|6||P Di Resta||Force India|
|7||M Webber||Red Bull|
Interview with Christian Horner: "We were looking good in Q2, I think we just lost the rhythm on outlaps in Q3. Most cars went three or four tenths quicker in Q3 compared to Q2. Seb was four tenths slower. It's a long hard race tomorrow, we know we've got a quick car. We can have a good start and go from there.
"It's tough on the tyres here, it's a long race, probably the longest of the year. It's very physically demanding, very punishing on the tyres, it's going to be a fascinating race. Renault have assured us they've fixed [the alternator], hopefully it should be alright."
Tweet from @TheFifthDriver: What a brilliant performance by Lewis - and it was 40 years ago this weekend that McLaren took its first pole courtesy of Peter Revson!
Interview with Nico Hülkenberg: "The first run in Q2 was pretty compromised, we went out a bit late so all the guys that were on a hot lap, I had to let past. Starting the lap, I couldn't get a feel for the car... the first sector wasn't good enough, the rest of the lap was not good enough either. It's a shame because we had a Q3 car today, for sure. I'm not happy at all."
Press Conference Quotes - Lewis Hamilton: "The guy's have done a fantastic job all week... Sebastian was incredibly fast through most of the sessions, I'm not sure what happened at the end. Nevertheless, I'm very happy to be able to pull that time out at the end. Very happy with it.
"Trying to find a gap is very difficult, especially in Q1. Making sure everything is up to temperature... my first few laps on the prime were quite poor. I'm glad I did at least one lap on them so I didn't have to go again."
Press Conference Quotes - Pastor Maldonado: "We were working very hard because at the beginning of the weekend, and during the practice, we were a little bit lost in the setup. We were improving, especially in the qualifying, to adapt the car to my style. We find naturally a good balance. I'm really looking forward to the race, because yesterday we showed very good pace, very good consistency, so I think it's going to be a good one for us this time."
Press Conference Quotes - Sebastian Vettel: "A little disappointed, especially Q3, I don't know why we couldn't do the step. Nevertheless, third is a good position to start from. It's a long race tomorrow, a lot of things can happen, I think the pace is there, we've proven through the weekend. But surely, if you don't do the last step in qualifying, then it's a shame because I think the speed is there. So, yea, it didn't come together in the end. "
The top three drivers in qualifying: Hamilton, Maldonado and Vettel.
Interview with Jenson Button: "I mean, it's not too bad. Obviously, not as good as my teammate, but for me, the whole of qualifying, all day, all weekend, I've really struggled on one lap to put it together and also on rear degradation on one lap. I hope this isn't what we have tomorrow or it could be very tricky for us."
That's all for today, then, an intriguing qualifying session. A front row to look forward to, and some out of place drivers with work to do.
Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean both outqualified their teammates well, Pastor Maldonado did a great job to make second, whilst Senna couldn't keep out of the wall.
It looks set to be a good race, I hope you'll join me for some Factbyte Factboxing fun as the winner of the Singapore Grand Prix is decided!
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22 September 2012
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