Red-hot Ros­berg siz­zles in Sin­ga­pore

Ger­man starts in pole, two places ahead of Hamil­ton

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

Nico Ros­berg will start his 200th For­mula One race from pole po­si­tion af­ter pro­duc­ing a stun­ning drive to leave a be­lea­guered Lewis Hamil­ton trail­ing in his wake in Sin­ga­pore.

The Ger­man was a crush­ing seven tenths of a sec­ond faster than an off-colour Hamil­ton, who will start in third place at the Ma­rina Bay street cir­cuit.

Daniel Ric­cia­rdo split the cham­pi­onship ri­vals af­ter he hauled his Red Bull on to the front row, al­beit half a sec­ond adrift of Ros­berg’s out­stand­ing lap.

“I am def­i­nitely happy with that one,” Ros­berg said af­ter se­cur­ing pole. “It was one of my top three laps ever. It wasn’t clear in qual­i­fy­ing how we would stack up against Red Bull so I re­ally had to give it ev­ery­thing and pull it out of the bag, which is cool.”

Ros­berg, a win­ner of the last two grands prix, is en­joy­ing a pur­ple patch and his per­for­mance in qual­i­fy­ing will rank as one of his best in the sport.

His quick­est lap of one minute and 42.584 sec­onds, at a cir­cuit where he has failed to fin­ish on the podium since the very first staged here in 2008, will leave Hamil­ton scratch­ing his head.

And with over­tak­ing largely im­pos­si­ble un­der the lights, Ros­berg will start as the firm favourite for what would be the eighth vic­tory of a sea­son which could yet her­ald his first ti­tle.

“It wasn’t re­ally a frus­trat­ing ses­sion it just hasn’t re­ally been my week­end so far,” said Hamil­ton.

“Nico did a great job in re­leas­ing the full po­ten­tial of the car and I will do as good as I can to get at least one step up.

“There have been some ups and downs, this week­end we might come out be­hind, but there’s still a way to go so I’ll keep push­ing.”

Hamil­ton holds a slen­der two-point ad­van­tage over Ros­berg, but by the time the che­quered flag falls to­day he could find him­self back be­hind his Mer­cedes team­mate in the cham­pi­onship race.

Not only will he have to try and catch Ros­berg, but he will also be bat­tling with the Red Bull of Ric­cia­rdo.

“We made im­prove­ments through qual­i­fy­ing and, in prac­tice we were still try­ing to find stuff in the car, and it fi­nally came good in qual­i­fy­ing,” said the Aus­tralian. “The rhythm through­out the ses­sion was good.”

Ric­cia­rdo’s team­mate Max Ver­stap­pen will start the race in fourth place, while it was a day to for­get for Fer­rari’s Se­bas­tian Vet­tel.

The Ger­man may have won half of the eight races staged in Sin­ga­pore, but he will be last on the grid af­ter suf­fer­ing from car prob­lems.

Mean­while, Vet­tel’s Fer­rari team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen will start in fifth place on the grid, with the Toro Rosso duo of Car­los Sainz in sixth and Daniil Kvyat in sev­enth.

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