Hamilton Sets Stunning Lap; Wins Pole in Singapore
SINGAPORE—R.I.S.—Becoming the 200th British Grand Prix driver to win pole position, Lewis Hamilton, followed his previous disappointing sessions, upped his game and set a blistering 1:36:015 fastest lap to win pole position Saturday night in preparation for Sunday evening’s Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay. Max Verstappen took second and Sebastian Vettel finished in third.
"That lap felt like magic," Hamilton said gleaming afterwards. "I really do feel like I got absolutely everything possible in that first lap. It felt like one of the best laps that I remember feeling. It was just about pulling all those bits that you found through practice and try to see if you could put it into a perfect puzzle and 99.9 percent of the time it doesn't go right but that lap I didn't have wheel spin, I didn't have snap anywhere, the car was just underneath me and I managed to maximize pretty much every corner. I can't remember one that I thought that I could do more."
Hamilton set his pole lap midway through the final session, following Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen, who took the first two periods, respectively. Kevin Magnussen was knocked out in the opening round in the American Haas F1 team entry, followed in the second session, with Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Pierre Gasly being the other popular names that never reached the final ten. Hamilton himself nearly escaped being eliminated from the opening round, which would have been a plus for his series rival Vettel, but pitted for better tires, complaining of a loss of grip in the back end of his car. It was good enough to have these better tires, which finished him in fifth and eventually won him the pole in the final session.
For the rest of the top ten, Valtteri Bottas had been quiet all evening in his Mercedes, but finished fourth. Raikkonen ended up fifth with Ricciardo in sixth, and Sergio Perez seventh. Haas did have a top finisher in eighth with Romain Grosjean, while Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg took the last two grid positions, respectively.
For Hamilton, his mind is very vivid about last year’s race, when Raikkonen, Vettel and Verstappen all collided and put each other out of the race. Hamilton feels that his first objective is to get trough that first corner on race day.
“I’ll see where it goes tomorrow but it’s the racing line.” Hamilton stated. “Obviously starts are always a difficult one but being on the racing line that we drive past hopefully it’s equally as good as the inside starting line. You would normally choose to be on the outside for turn one.”
GRAND PRIX OF SINGAPORE
At Marina Bay
Final Qualifying Results
1 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes- 1:36:015
2 Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
3 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari
4 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes
5 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari
6 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing
7 Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India
8 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
9 Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India
10 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
11 Fernando Alonso (SPA) McLaren
12 Carlos Sainz Jr. (SPA) Renault
13 Charles LeClerc (MON) Sauber
14 Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber
15 Pierre Gasly (FRA) Toro Rosso
16 Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team
17 Brendon Hartley (NZL) Toro Rosso
18 Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren
19 Sergey Sirotkin (RUS) Williams
20 Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.