Hamilton on pole after championship rivals fail to challenge

Lewis Hamilton took a comfortable pole position for McLaren on Saturday in Singapore beating Williams’ Pastor Maldonado and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton looked comfortable throughout all three qualifying sessions and was not challenged by fellow championship rivals Vettel, who could only manage third, and Fernando Alonso who qualified fifth. Hamilton’s teammate Jenson Button qualified fourth ahead of Alonso, whilst Mark Webber could only manage seventh.

There were plenty of shocks in the session as Maldonado took a surprising second on the grid for Williams in a mixed day for them with Senna qualifying 17th after another brush with the wall. Paul di Resta qualified a strong sixth for Force India, whilst teammate Nico Hulkenberg starts 11th after being knocked out of the top ten in the dying moments of Q2 by both Mercedes drivers. Mercedes went onto qualify ninth and tenth after deciding to not set a time in Q3.

Lotus’ quest for Kimi Raikkonen to win the drivers championship was stalled by him only managing to qualify 12th. He has come from worse positions to score this season already so they will be hopeful of still being able to make an impact on tomorrows race. Sauber will be disappointed to only qualify 14th with Sergio Perez and 18th with Kamui Kobayashi,who failed to make it out of Q1, after such a strong result in Monza.

Back-markers Charles Pic and Pedro de la Rosa both picked up penalties over the course of the weekend. De la Rosa has a five place grid penalty for a gear box change but it will make no difference to the grid placings tomorrow after he qualified last. Pic will have 20 seconds added to his race time tomorrow after overtaking a car under red flag conditions in practice.

Hamilton will hope to continue McLaren’s winning form and pick up a second straight win for himself and four consecutive wins from four races for his team. He is likely to face strong challenge from Vettel and Alonso as they continue to battle it out for the championship. Maldonado could possibly challenge, as seen previously in Barcelona, however he is reliant on Williams having optimised their car for the race, rather than for making gains in qualifying. If Hamilton can be as dominant as he was in Italy then he stands a good chance of securing his fourth win of the season.

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