F1 Singapore Quali Results & Report: Alonso Takes Pole, 5 Title Contenders to Start in Top 5


What Happens When an Island is a Happy Place for Alonso

11:14am EST —Fernando Alonso made it two poles in a row for Ferrari winning pole position for the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix halfway through the final qualifying session, with second-place starter Sebastian Vettel unable to beat the Spaniard in their final flying laps. McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button with Mark Webber round our the top five starters, while Rubens Barrichello put in a good showing for Williams to start sixth. Michael Schumacher again made it into Q3, qualifying in what feels like his typical ninths. It was a mixed-emotion day at Ferrari, with pole-sitter Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa starting last after an electronic issue kept him from posting a time in Q1 and leaving him to start last on Sunday.

It was Red Bull all the way in both Friday practices, with Webber taking the lead as the circuit finally dried out after a typical late afternoon storm put standing water on the track an hour before the first practice. It was a topsy-turvy session, as Kobayashi, Schumacher, and Virgin Racing’s Glock spent quite a bit of time on the top of the timesheets in the middle of the session. It was the second session that brought representative dry times, as Vettel was the first and only driver into the 1:46s range, over a half second faster than his teammate Webber, who was second fastest, and a second or more faster than Button, Alonso, Hamilton, and the rest of the field. Alonso ended his session with twenty minutes to go when he went down an escape route (after being poised to set a very fast lap time) to avoid crashing and seemed to have stalled the car. According to Ferrari, “We need to wait until the car is brought back in the garage to understand what happened when Fernando was rejoining the track.” Vettel kept to the top of the timesheets for the final practice before qualifying on Saturday, leading Alonso, Hamilton, Massa, and Rosberg as the top five on a patchily damp circuit. Again, there were spins, but no major incidents.

Q1:
It was a bit of a procession to get out of the pits for the first sector of qualifying as twelve cars were on the circuit straightaway; while Hamilton was one of the first out, Button, both Ferraris, Red Bulls, Williams, and a few others remained in the garage. The track was delcared dry, though there were a few wet spots, “It looks that there are still some damp patches at turns 3 and 5,” according to Ferrari. Four minutes in and only five drivers had not headed out, with early “fast” times set by Liuzzi, Glock, and other new teams until Hamilton went straight to the top, followed by Kobayashi. Button and Vettel were fastest and second fastest, with Schumacher’s time also eclipsing Hamilton’s, and Liuzzi rouding out the top five with thirteen minutes left in the twenty minute session.

Alonso was soon fastest, but he lost that time to Vettel, both of them the only drivers in the 1:47s range as Alguersuari was a surprise in third, only to be moved backward by Webber’s 1:47.794, with Button fourth fastest. The session was stopped with just over ten minutes left for Massa stopped on the circuit with a suspected engine issue. His session was over before he could set a time. According to Ferrari, “The engine stopped but we need to see what exactly happened once the car will be brought in the garage.” Hulkenberg was the first one back onto the circuit as everyone but his teammate and Alonso stayed in the garage. Neither Williams, Sutil, nor Kubica had set a time, along with the luckless Massa. With seven minutes left in the session, Vettel remained at the top, followed by Alonso, Webber, Button, Alguersuari, Hamilton, Schumacher, Rosberg, Heidfeld, and Liuzzi as the top ten. Still, Barrichello, Kubica, and Sutil had not set a time, until Barrichello went straight to eleventh with his first time. Ferrari also tweeted, “Loos like a problem with electronic management of the gearbox but we need to wait until the car is back in the pit.” Sutil was off to tenth with his first lap.

With five minutes left, Kubica went to third fastest, while Trulli, Glock, Kovalainen, di Grassi, Klien, Senna, and Massa were in the knockout zone. Buemi was in danger of being knocked out, well of the times of Alguersuari up in seventh with two minutes to go as yellow flags were out for a spin by Senna. He continued on once the circuit was clear. Alonso was fastest with a 1:46.541, finally outpacing the Red Bulls, and by four tenths over Vettel. It was still the un-timed Massa along with the new teams in the knockout zone with a minute left while Ferrari was explaining that Massa’s issue was an electronic issue. As the seconds ticked off, Barrichello was seventeenth and on the bubble, despite posting a decent time earlier in the session. He moved up to eighth with his final lap. At the end, Alonso (1:46.541, fastest time of the weekend) led Vettel, Webber, Kubica, Hulkenberg, Button, Alguersuari, Barrichello, Hamilton, and Schumacher as the fastest ten for Q1. Klien was 1.2s faster than teammate Senna, in his first F1 qualifying in years.

Drivers Knocked Out at the End of Q1:
18. Glock 1:50.721
19. Kovalainen 1:50.915
20. di Grassi 1:51.107
21. Trulli 1:51.641
22. Klien 1:52.946
23. Senna 1:54.174
24. Massa, no time

Q2:
Petrov was the first out in Q2, with most of the field onto the circuit in the first of fifteen minutes for Q2. Petrov, then Alguersuari, then Kubica were fastest as they were some of the first drivers out, though Vettel adn Webber had soon sandwiched Kubica for first and third, with Alonso and Alguersuari completing the top five with ten minutes left. Petov caused yellow flags for a few seconds as he spun, hitting the right rear wheel and breaking his suspension. With the yellow near Petrov, despite his being on an escape road, a few times were improving, and some drivers were heading for the garage with seven minutes to go, as Hamilton led Vettel, Button, Rosberg, Kubica, Barrichello, Webber, Alonso, Alguersuari, and the stopped Petrov as the top ten after the track returned to green.

Only Alonso, Alguersuari, and Buemi were on the circuit with five and a half minutes to go, as Vettel joined them. Buemi, Kobayashi, Sutil, Heidfeld, Hulkenberg, Liuzzi, and Schumacher were in the knockout zone. Soon only Button was in the garage as Alonso was posting a personal best in the first sector, with Vettel posting the best time of the session in the first sector as Alonso went fastest (1:45.809), leading Hamilton, Vettel, Button, and Rosberg as the top five with two and a half minutes to go. Vettel’s next lap, though, was two and a half tenths faster than Alonso, likely foreshadowing Q3. Alonso pitted as Hulkenberg, Petrov, Buemi, Sutil, heidfeld, Sutil, Liuzzi, and Schumacher were in the knockout zone with one minute left. Schumacher managed ninth to drop Kobayashi to the knockout zone as the session ended. After a session spent nearer the top than usual, Alguersuari did not managed to make it to Q3, as Vettel led Alonso, Webber, Hamilton, Button, Rosberg, Kubica, Barrichello, Schumacher, and Kobayashi as the top ten.

Drivers Knocked Out at the End of Q2:
11. Alguersuari 1:47.666
12. Hulkenberg 1:47.674*
13. Petrov 1:48.165
14. Buemi 1:48.502
15. Heidfeld 1:48.557
16. Sutil 1:48.899
17. Liuzzi 1:48.961
*Hulkenberg will drop to 17th starting position for a gearbox change, moving Petrov, Buemi, Heidfeld, Sutil, and Liuzzi up one position each on the starting grid

Q3:
Button was the first driver out, leading the rest of the title contenders and everyone but Barrichello, Kubica, and Kobayashi directly onto the circuit with nine minutes left in the final session for pole. Both McLaren drivers were quite quick in the first sector, only to be barely outpaced by Vettel, with Barrichello matching them in the second sector on his first hot lap. Hamilton’s 1:45.571 was quite quick, though not as much so as Alonso, who had the fastest lap to that point of the weekend, but nearly two tenths on Hamilton. After the first laps, Alonso led Hamilton, Webber, Button, and Barrichello as the top five while neither Kubica nor Kobayashi had posted a time halfway through the ten minute session.

It was back into the garage for everyone with four minutes to go, though Barrichello and Kobayashi remained out on the clear circuit, joined by Kubica for his first run. Webber was a half second off Hamilton’s time for third while Vettel was only seventh fastest as they all began their final runs for pole. With two minutes left no one was in the garage and only time for one flying lap each. Vettel appeared to be one of the first to start his final lap, fastest of all in the first sector. Alonso was a tenth slower in that sector, but two tenths faster in their respective second sectors, and Vettel could not beat the Spaniard’s previously set time on his final lap, leaving the German in second, while Button beat Alonso in the second sector, and Alonso did not improve on his final lap. Neither Hamilton nor Webber were faster than the two-time champion, nor was Button, leaving Alonso’s earlier fast time as the pole-setting lap.

Final Positions for the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix:
1. Alonso 1:45.390
2. Vettel 1:45.457
3. Hamilton 1:45.571
4. Button 1:45.944
5. Webber 1:45.977
6. Barrichello 1:46.236
7. Rosberg 1:46.443
8. Kubica 1:46.593
9. Schumacher 1:46.702
10. Kobayashi 1:47.884

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