Paul Di Resta’s wretched second half of the season continued as the Scot will start from 17th in today’s Singapore Grand Prix after failing to make it through the first 20-minute qualifying session for the fourth time this year in his Force India.
Di Resta, however, remained positive as he said: “We’ve not given ourselves the best chance, but whether that’s good enough to fight through and score points we’ll have to wait and see.”
Sebastian Vettel survived a rare nail-biting moment to further sink his teeth into this year’s Formula One world title, claiming his second successive pole, fifth of the season and 41st of his career for today’s race on a track where he has reigned supreme for the last two seasons. Looking so comfortable in qualifying, with a six-tenths of a second cushion after his first explosive run, Vettel stepped out of his Red Bull and watched the action unfold as his rivals embarked on a second run.
But it proved nerve-wracking stuff for the three-time world champion as team-mate Mark Webber, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean in his Lotus all set the fastest time at various stages.
At one stage a camera showed Vettel biting his nails as he looked on, before punching the air and displaying his now trademark raised index finger upon realising he had taken pole.
It was a close-run thing, however, as Vettel edged out Rosberg by 0.091secs, with Grosjean third and Webber fourth, and Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes not in the picture on this occasion as he will start fifth.
As for Vettel’s two other title rivals in Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus, the Spaniard lines up seventh behind team-mate Felipe Massa, with the Finn 13th.
Vettel said: “I’m very happy with the result, and the car’s been phenomenal all weekend.”
Trailing Vettel by 53 points, qualifying day was another to forget for Fernando Alonso as it is now eight successive races he has failed to start from the front rows.
Hamilton, 81 points down on Vettel, was particularly downbeat post-race as he said: “Ultimately I wasn’t fast enough. Clearly the car was quicker than I was able to get out of it, so it’s frustrating not to have qualified closer to the front as Nico did.
“There are still people ahead of me that we can beat and our target will be to get on the podium, that would be amazing.”
McLaren’s Jenson Button lines up eighth.