Stun­ning Vet­tel takes pole at Sin­ga­pore GP, Hamil­ton fifth

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - Front Page - Agence France­Presse sports­desk@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel came from nowhere to seize pole po­si­tion at the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix as he threw down the gaunt­let to cham­pi­onship leader Lewis Hamil­ton.

Vet­tel, who had strug­gled in prac­tice, timed a record 1min 39.491sec at the flood­lit Ma­rina Bay street cir­cuit ahead of Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen and Daniel Ric­cia­rdo.

Fer­rari’s Kimi Raikko­nen will start fourth with Hamil­ton, who leads Vet­tel by just three points in the stand­ings, fifth ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valt­teri Bot­tas.

Ver­stap­pen, 19, had looked set to be­come the first teenager on pole but Vet­tel stormed through with two blis­ter­ing laps in the fi­nal ses­sion to clinch it by three­tenths of a sec­ond.

“Yes­ter­day was dif­fi­cult, this af­ter­noon was dif­fi­cult but tonight the car just came alive,” said Vet­tel, who looked stunned by his own per­for­mance.

Qual­i­fy­ing has of­ten been cru­cial in Sin­ga­pore, where seven of the nine races so far have been won by the driver who started from pole.

Vet­tel was 11th in Fri­day’s sec­ond free prac­tice ses­sion, and he took a chunk out of one of the cir­cuit’s walls in the fi­nal pre-qual­i­fy­ing runout on Satur­day.

He was just 12th in Q1, the open­ing sec­tion of qual­i­fy­ing, be­fore im­prov­ing to fourth in Q2. But he is now in a great po­si­tion to claim his fifth win in Sin­ga­pore, while Hamil­ton will be up against it when he starts from the third row of the grid.

“I knew we had it in us. It was a bit of a strug­gle to get there but now I’m just happy,” Vet­tel said.

SE­BAS­TIAN VET­TEL STORMED THROUGH WITH TWO BLIS­TER­ING LAPS IN THE FI­NAL SES­SION

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