Vettel on pole in Singapore with Hamilton 5th
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel put himself on pole position to retake the Formula One lead from Lewis Hamilton with a sensational late lap in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.
Hamilton, who leads the German by three points with seven rounds remaining, qualified his Mercedes only fifth for Sunday’s night race with teammate Valtteri Bottas set to start alongside in sixth.
Dutch teenager Max Verstappen will start second for Red Bull, after going fastest in the first two phases of qualifying, with Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo third and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
Vettel, who lost the lead to Hamilton at the previous race in Italy, is a four-time winner in Singapore and the pole was also his fourth in the city state as well as the 49th of his Formula One career.
It was also his third pole of the season, but he had to put everything on the line when it really mattered to beat the Red Bulls in a close-run session, lighting up the timing screens with a lap of one minute 39.491 seconds.
“I’m still full of adrenaline so maybe whatever I say doesn’t make any sense,” a breathless Vettel, who let out a loud whoop of joy over the team-radio, said after he stepped out of the car.
Red Bull had topped the timesheets in every session leading up to qualifying and had looked on course for its first front row lockout since the US Grand Prix in 2013, with Verstappen also fastest in the opening two phases of qualifying.
Had he been on pole, the 19-year-old would have been the youngest driver in the history of the sport to start from the top slot.
“I think the final lap was not great but we were quite close so I’m pretty happy with that,” said the Dutch driver, who turns 20 in two weeks’ time. “During the race it will be difficult to pass IJN TP XF IBWF UP TFF PO UIF GJSTU MBQ u