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Qualifying - Hamilton blasts to Singapore pole 22 Sep 2012

Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 22 September 2012 Ferrari mechanics push the Ferrari F2012 in pit lane.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 22 September 2012 Scenic view.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 22 September 2012 Bruno Senna's afternoon comes to an abrupt end as he clips the wall and does irreparable damage to his rear suspension At the beginning of Q3 a queue of cars leave the pits as the lights go green

Lewis Hamilton and McLaren dramatically turned the tables on Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull in qualifying for Sunday’s 2012 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix. Fighting for the Woking team's fourth consecutive win, the Englishman was fastest in Q2, and then put in a lap of 1m 46.362s right at the start of Q3 as Vettel’s best of 1m 47 694s fell short.

Hamilton kissed a wall on his second run, which was nevertheless still quicker, at 1m 46.622s, than Vettel’s subsequent best, but the surprise of the session was a 1m 46.804s lap which left Pastor Maldonado on the front row for Williams.

Behind the Venezuelan, Vettel eventually improved to 1m 46.905s to edge Jenson Button down to fourth after the McLaren driver had improved to 1m 46.939s on his second run. Then came Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, whose hopes of vying for pole took an early tumble from the start of qualifying. The Spaniard eventually had to be content with 1m 47.216s after a single run, which left him on the third row with the impressive Paul di Resta, who recorded 1m 47.241s for Force India.

When the chips were down Red Bull’s Mark Webber couldn’t better 1m 47.475s on his second try, after getting sector two wrong on his first, while Romain Grosjean will start eighth for Lotus with a lap of 1m 47.788s.

The Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg will be on the fifth row in ninth and tenth, though neither recorded a Q3 time.

Hamilton owned Q2 from Vettel, 1m 46.665s to 1m 46.791s, with only Webber able to get near them with 1m 47.513s, but Grosjean made amends for a half spin in Q1 by becoming Lotus’s only representative in Q3 as Raikkonen couldn’t improve on his once-fastest 1m 48.261s and thus ended up 12th.

A very late improvement for Schumacher bumped Nico Hulkenberg from the top 10. The Force India driver’s 1m 47.975s left him 11th ahead of the Finn, while behind him were Ferrari’s Felipe Massa (1m 48.344s), Sauber’s Sergio Perez (1m 48.505s), Toro Rosso team mates Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne (1m 48.774s and 1m 48.849s), and Williams’ Bruno Senna. The Brazilian once again hit a wall with his right-rear wheel, and thus failed to record a time.

Late improvements for Ricciardo and Vergne bumped Kamui Kobayashi out in Q1, where Grosjean set the fastest time of 1m 47.688s, the Sauber driving failing to better 1m 49.933s. That was well ahead of Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov, who made up lightly for his FP3 indiscretion with 1m 50.846s, which left him ahead of team mate Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 51.137s. Timo Glock was 21st ahead of Marussia partner Charles Pic, 1m 51.370s to 1m 51.762s, while Narain Karthikeyan was 23rd for HRT on 1m 52.372s ahead of Pedro de la Rosa on 1m 53.355s.

The Spaniard gets a rather redundant five-place grid penalty, while Webber was handed a reprimand for leaving the track twice during his in-lap at the end of Q3. The Australian was also investigated for impeding Glock during Q1 but no further action was taken by the stewards.

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