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Qualifying analysis - flying Alonso surprises Red Bull 25 Sep 2010

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F10.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 25 September 2010 Parc ferme after qualifying. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 25 September 2010 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW32. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 25 September 2010 Scenic action. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 25 September 2010 Bruno Senna (BRA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) HRTF1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 25 September 2010

However you look at it, with all five championship contenders qualifying in the top five, a great race is in prospect on Sunday. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso may be on pole position, but there’s no doubt Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, will do all they can to stop Alonso claiming a second successive win. We take a team-by-team look at where things stand after qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix…

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 45.390s, P1
Felipe Massa, No time, P24

Ferrari’s qualifying started badly when Massa stopped on the circuit with an engine electronics problem. The team were running with what Alonso described as experimental settings, which were reverted to standard on his car as a precaution. He then lapped fast enough to take his 20th pole, after what he said was a decent lap. Massa’s problem was traced to sudden gearbox seizure, and the Brazilian starts last on a circuit that he must be beginning to feel is not his luckiest. Given that his grid slot will effectively nullify penalties, Ferrari have understandably opted to give the Brazilian's F10 a fresh engine - his ninth of the season - and gearbox.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 45.457s, P2
Mark Webber, 1m 45.977, P5

Vettel said he got much too close to Schumacher on his first run in Q3, then clipped the wall in Turns 12/13 on his second, but he improved to second and said he had to be content with that even though he believed he had the car that should have been on pole. Webber was much closer to his team mate than he had been in practice, but was disappointed to lose a momentary second row start to Button at the end.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 45.571s, P3
Jenson Button, 1m 45.944s, P4

Hamilton set his time, like Alonso, on his first run in Q3 and said he lost downforce at the end of it because he was too close to Button, who had been the first man out at the end of the session. He’s very confident that he can make a strong start and be competitive in the race. Button lost fourth to Webber, then regained it, but rued pushing too hard on his first run out lap and then not hard enough on his second, so that his tyre temperatures weren’t quite optimised. Overall, third and fourth was a big fillip for the team after their high-downforce performance in Hungary.

Williams
Rubens Barrichello, 1m 46.236s, P6
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 47.674s, P12, will start P17

Barrichello made the most of another Williams aero upgrade to take an excellent sixth on the grid, but Hulkenberg couldn’t better 12th because of yellow flags and then dropped to 17th when a five-place penalty was applied for a gearbox change.

Mercedes GP
Nico Rosberg, 1m 46.443s, P7
Michael Schumacher, 1m 46.702s, P9

Rosberg complained of poor rear-end grip on the softer Bridgestone tyre, while Schumacher said that some minor set-up changes worked better on some parts of the track than others.

Renault
Robert Kubica, 1m 46.593s, P8
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 48.165s, P13, will start P12

Kubica was realistic about Renault’s chances after they only brought a small upgrade here in contrast to the top teams which continue to push hard on development. He said his R30 lacked overall grip, and was sliding front and rear. Petrov spoiled his day by spinning in Turn Five after setting the time that would eventually leave him 13th before Hulkenberg’s penalty was applied.

BMW Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 47.884s, P10
Nick Heidfeld, 1m 48.557s, P15, will start P14

Kobayashi was very pleased to make Q3 and to put new team mate Heidfeld behind him, following a couple of good laps in qualifying. Heidfeld was less cheerful on his return to active race duty for his old alma mater, and didn’t think he got the most out of the C29.

Toro Rosso
Jaime Alguersuari 1m 47.666s, P11
Sebastien Buemi, 1m 48.502s, P14, will start P13

Alguersuari was on it all weekend and was slightly disappointed to miss out on Q3 as the team made a step forward with their F-duct. Buemi struggled to match the Spaniard all weekend, and said all of his decent runs were spoiled by yellow flags.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 48.899s, P16, will start P15
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 1m 48.961s, P17, will start P16

Sutil ended the day frustrated, after being quick enough for a brief top 10 slot in Q1 on the hard tyre, but then suffering in Q2 on the soft which offered little improvement. He complained then of lack of grip, and traffic. Liuzzi had a front brake problem which made him miss the chicane on his first run in Q2, as the car was pulling to one side. After losing the best of his tyres because of that he was able to improve while compensating for the problem on his second, but not enough to make a difference.

Virgin
Timo Glock, 1m 50.721s, P18
Lucas di Grassi, 1m 51.107s, P20

Glock was very happy with his performance in making Virgin the fastest new team, while Di Grassi was satisfied with his and said that despite missing Friday’s first practice session it felt like his best qualifying effort of the year.

Lotus
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 50.915s, P19
Jarno Trulli, 1m 51.641s, P21

Kovalainen complained of traffic, and said that his best lap came on his second set of tyres when they were past their best, while Trulli said he struggled on the option tyres and set his time on the primes while coping with locking rear brakes.

HRT
Christian Klien, 1m 52.946s, P22
Bruno Senna, 1m 54.174s, P24

Klien was very happy with his qualifying performance as he returned to race duty, but Senna struggled with both understeer and oversteer before spinning in Turn Five.

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