Early picture of the mechanics hard at work in the Williams garage, via @dickiestanford.
There have only been three drivers in pole position so far this season... it's about time we saw someone else up there, isn't it?
Tweet from @alo_oficial: Stretching in gym before going to the circuit. Difficult Saturday ahead looking the pace of our rivals yesterday, but we'll attack maximum!!
Pirelli have opted to bring the medium and supersoft tyres this weekend, that's white and red sidewalls respectively. Paul Hembery says: "Singapore is quite bumpy – a typical feature of street circuits – and there’s lots of street furniture such as painted white lines and manholes that compromise grip and traction. We’re racing at night, which presents a unique set of parameters for the tyres to deal with when it comes to the way that track and ambient temperatures evolve."
|Free Practice 1||L Hamilton||1:47.055|
|Free Practice 2||S Vettel||1:44.249|
|Free Practice 3||S Vettel||1:44.173|
In case you've not heard yet, turn ten has been changed from a chicane to a faster flowing corner, which is aimed to speed up the lap just a little bit.
Of course with 23 corners, Singapore offers up a long old lap, and a two-hour race. That's for tomorrow though, today it's all about one-lap speed.
Grosjean finished ahead of teammate Kimi Räikkönen in final practice today, there's potential for Romain to qualify ahead - although he's not done so too often so far this year.
Talking of Räikkönen, reports are circling that the Finn has a back problem that could make things tricky this weekend. He's been cleared to qualify, and will probably go back to the hotel to rest afterwards.
Tweet from @Lotus_F1Team: It's a bumpy old' track so a bit of back pain for our man, but that won't keep #Kimi away from the track
Drivers are getting strapped into their cars, looks of concentration all over the faces of Jules Bianchi and Daniel Ricciardo. The former has a blast of cooler air pointing at him as well.
Qualifying session 1 begins.
Mark Webber strides through the pit lane, his overalls hanging at his waist at the moment. The Australian has admitted it is hard to stay motivated now that he's leaving at the end of the year.
Pastor Maldonado is the first driver to head out of the garage, the Williams driver found himself nose-first into the wall on Friday, so will be hoping to avoid a repeat of that today!
Pastor is informed he's going for three timed laps - fast, slow, fast.
Nine others have left the garage, as all the drivers head out to get an exploratory lap in.
Tweet from @F1onNBCSports: The first few runners head out on the prime tire, which is thought to be around 1.5-2 seconds per lap slower than the option #F1onNBC
Vettel is just putting his earphones in, taking it very casually in the garage as the early minutes tick by.
Sergio Pérez is also yet to get in his car, having a quick final chat with the crew before jumping in the machinery.
Thirteen cars out on track, medium tyres all round, and Maldonado about to cross the line for the first lap time of the session - 1:48.458.
Ferrari send both their drivers out early in Q1, via @InsideFerrari.
Tweet from @OfficialSF1Team: around 45.9 is the target to go through to Q2. both our boys still in the garage.
Hamilton heads to P1 for an early benchmark of 1:47.087. Ricciardo and Bottas slot in behind.
Kimi Räikkönen is on his first lap of the session.
Team radio to Lewis Hamilton: "Currently P1, half a second to P2. Weakest sector in the middle, think we can find another half a tenth there."
Replays of Fernando Alonso show a pretty big front left lock-up into the first corner, so that's the first lap ruined already.
Some drifting for Pastor Maldonado, but he manages to catch it this time and avoid the walls.
Nico Rosberg bumps his teammate down with a 1:46.288, Alonso also managed a 1:46 despite that early lock-up.
Paul di Resta's first lap of the afternoon is good enough for seventh.
There are supersoft tyres going on now, with Marussia, Caterham and Sauber all on the red striped rubber.
Vettel, Webber and oddly Sergio Pérez still have yet to join the session.
Pit stops for those higher up the order. Rosberg's radio lets him know they'll try the supersoft tyre next, despite their current P1 time.
Nico Hülkenberg, on the supersoft tyre, puts in a 1:45.381 to go P1.
A stressed looking Monisha Kaltenborn watches on from the pitwall. A P1 is good news though, no matter how temporary it is!
The three that were waiting it out, Vettel, Webber and Pérez are all out on track now - Sergio has gone straight onto the supersofts.
Vettel crosses the line for the second fastest time, a 1:45.755.
Williams push their drivers in and out of the garage, before letting them loose on the track again, via @WilliamsF1Team.
Webber goes faster than Vettel to snatch P1, with a 1:45.271. The two Red Bulls are still split by Hulk.
The times are dropping rapidly now - Rosberg goes fastest, knocked down by Pérez, then Alonso, Button and Hamilton. The P1 time now 1:44.196.
Romain Grosjean crosses the line for the tenth fastest time, Räikkönen is currently comfortable in eighth. Well, probably not comfortable with a bad back.
The supersoft tyres have taken over, with just Webber, Vettel and Grosjean on the mediums. Everyone else has put in laps on the red tyres.
Giedo van der Garde clipped the wall on his lap, a spark but no major damage it seems.
Qualifying session 1 ends.
Massa is currently in the drop zone, he's stuck behind some traffic and needs a fast lap right about now!
Massa improves to 13th, Paul di Resta drops down into the bottom six.
Impressive gamble from Lotus to keep Grosjean on the mediums, saving a set of tyres and managing to squeak through to Q2.
|17||P di Resta||Force India|
|20||G van der Garde||Caterham|
Some brilliant replays from that session, particularly a shot of Massa drifting close to the wall and just managing to avoid it.
The fastest three in that session were Hamilton, Button and Alonso.
|G van der Garde||5|
A very disappointed Paul di Resta hops out of the car and disappears to the back of the garage, with a serious frowny face.
Fastest three, any excuse for a gap analysis.
Tweet from @OfficialSF1Team: both car prepare for Q2. engineers are discussing the strategy. everybody very close together in Q1. the show goes on.
Qualifying session 2 begins.
Eric Boullier from the pit wall on Kimi: "He's not 100% but he's okay."
Räikköne and Ricciardo head out early in the second session. Felipe Massa follows on behind.
We've got some thermo cam on Alonso's car, showing how hot the tyres are as soon as the blankets come off - but all the heat has dissipated before he's even exited the pit lane.
Interview with Paul di Resta: "I think it's quite simple, we're not quick enough as a team at the moment. This was going to be the impression to see where the car was, we've not got the speed. I'm struggling a bit more over one lap than Adrian, but my long runs are in a completely different league to him, for some reason... I think we can try and fight our way through tomorrow but if that's good enough to get points we'll just have to wait and see."
Eleven cars out on track now, just the Red Bulls, McLarens and Grosjean remaining in the garage at the moment.
Kimi sets the first lap time of the session 1:44.794, Ricciardo slots in behind him, almost a second later.
The times pour in, Rosberg and Hamilton head to the top, with a tenth of a second between them.
Ross Brawn is on the pit wall, laughing and joking. He's a lot happier than Monisha!
As the rest of the field come in for a tyre change, Vettel, Webber and Grosjean head out for their first laps of the session.
Fernando Alonso currently sits third on the timesheets, behind both Mercedes cars, via @F1onNBCSports.
It's supersoft tyres for everyone, as even Red Bull and Grosjean run the red sidewalls.
Massa and Ricciardo head out first for the second stint, they are currently 6th and 9th respectively.
Vettel jumps straight up to P1, taking almost an entire second off Rosberg's banker time.
Webber's lap slots him into second, and he's still eight tenths down on his teammate.
Just over a minute left of the session and everyone is out on track except the two Mercedes drivers - Hamilton and Rosberg are satisfied with their time.
Vettel returns to the pit lane, definitely content that he is faster than the rest of, well, the world.
The McLaren drivers are saving it all for one lap, they're currently 15th and 16th - but will they go for a proper lap?
Qualifying session 2 ends.
The drop zone currently features Räikkönen, Sutil, Gutiérrez, Bottas and the two McLarens.
Vergne crosses the line for the ninth fastest time, Ricciardo currently sits seventh. Alonso is between them.
Sutil can't improve into the top ten, he sits 12th for now. Bottas also remains outside the top ten.
Pérez's first and only lap is good enough for 13th, whilst Jenson Button pulls the best out of his car to squeeze into tenth!
|12||JE Vergne||Toro Rosso|
|15||A Sutil||Force India|
This is the first time that Esteban Gutiérrez has outqualified his teammate, even if he only manages tenth, it's still 1-12 now.
Tweet from @tabathavalls: And that's a first! GUT into Q3 for 1st time! Up until now his best result in Qually had been 2 fourteenth places in Malaysia & Germany
Hülkenberg has said over the radio that his KERS didn't activate until halfway round the lap, which could explain his troubles.
The fastest three in that session then, Vettel, Webber and Rosberg.
Qualifying session 3 begins.
There's a big queue at the end of the pitlane, as everyone tries to get out early. It looks like Vettel may be leading the pack, which is unusual - he likes to be last across the line.
Button looks as though he's not going for a big time here, he's got the medium tyres on that McLaren, as everyone else has the supersofts.
Vettel crosses the line for a 1:42.841, that's an incredible lap.
Rosberg manages a 1:43.431 and the rest fall in behind. Webber, Hamilton and Grosjean all in the 1:43s.
Vettel comes back in to the pitlane, is he going to come back out again? It barely seems worth it!
We have only five times on the board, Button didn't set a time on those medium tyres.
Tweet from @F1onNBCSports: Button comes in after completing an outlap and two sectors of his flying lap. If none of the others come out, that will be enough for P6.
When asked if he will go back out again, Vettel says: "I think I can improve by a tenth or two."
Nine drivers out on track, with just under two minutes to go.
Button bolts on the supersofts to have a go for it!
Vettel remains in the garage, saving tyres and presuming no one can make up half a second in the last couple of minutes.
Felipe Massa hauls his Ferrari round for his only lap of the session, sixth fastest a 1:43.890.
Qualifying session 3 ends. Rosberg was almost on for the lap there, but takes second with a gap of 0.091 - that's close and Vettel looked nervous in the garage for a moment.
Pole position for Sebastian Vettel with a time of 1:42.841.
Tweet from @sarahholtf1: So this is the new qualifying eh? He doesn't even have to be in the car... (Sighs)
Grosjean jumped up to third on his flying lap, faster than Mark Webber. Good job from the other Lotus.
|1||S Vettel||Red Bull|
|4||M Webber||Red Bull|
|9||D Ricciardo||Toro Rosso|
Pretty evenly spaced for a change.
Felipe Massa outqualified Fernando Alonso again, he's starting to make a habit of that.
Hamilton might be a little disappointed with that run but can console himself with the knowledge it was better than at the last race!
Tweet from @virtualstatman: Red Bull now tie Renault for 5th on all-time constructor poles (51), while Renault engines only 1 short of Ferrari's record 208 poles
Press Conference Quotes - Sebastian Vettel: "It's a weird feeling standing in the garage when there's two minutes to go in the session. It's much worse when you see the others at their final attempt, there's nothing you can do. I was watching the sector times very closely. Mark started with a purple sector 1... then Nico had a purple sector 2... but then fortunately my last sector was strong enough to just stay ahead. That's a great feeling then, because it could go wrong, but very happy with the result. The car has been phenomenal all weekend."
Press Conference Quotes - Nico Rosberg: "Unfortunately, Sebastian has been really quick all weekend. It was really close at the end, a pity, one tenth more would have been possible, that would have been great. But second is still a great result and gives me a good position to start the race tomorrow."
Press Conference Quotes - Romain Grosjean: "The car has been okay today, if we look at how many laps we did so far, it's not too bad. We knew we were strong this morning... I think the team did a good decision with the strategy and the cutoff. We had two attempts in Q3, and it's good to be at the front for this Grand Prix."
Press Conference Quotes - Sebastian Vettel: "It's one of the toughest races we face all year, the toughest physically and mentally. It's so long, there are so many corners, there's hardly any room for mistakes. It's very bumpy... the heat obviously and the humidity plays a factor. It will be tough. Pole is the best position to start from as it's tricky to start from on this track, but as it's a long race, there's plenty of opportunities for all of us. Happy to start from pole, try to have a good start, settle into a nice rhythm and see what we can do."
Lewis Hamilton looks disappointed, he says again: "I just wasn't fast enough today." He's hoping to push for the podium tomorrow though.
It was closer at the end than we might have expected, but it's always worrying when a driver doesn't even have to compete and is still successful!
The race tomorrow is set up to be a good one, depending on Vettel. He could run away with it. But there are two drivers next to him of which one is Grosjean. It's a street circuit, it suits the Mercedes, and there are often safety cars.
There are also a few drivers to watch down the field - Gutiérrez is somewhat out of place in the top ten, whilst Kimi Räikkönen could have a recovery drive on his hands if his back holds up.
It's a long old race, usually pushing the two hour limit, so a real test of endurance for both man and machinery. And me!
I hope you'll join me here again tomorrow for more Factbyte Factbox fun!
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