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Qualifying - Vettel eases to Singapore pole 21 Sep 2013

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 in front of the big wheel.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Singapore Grand Prix, Qualifying, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Saturday, 21 September 2013 Having elected not go out for a second Q3 run, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel looks on nervously in the dying seconds of qualifying Mercedes' Nico Rosberg puts in a very fast lap to qualify second on the grid under a tenth of a second behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel Kimi Raikkonen can only manage the 13th fastest time with his Lotus and is eliminated in Q2

When push came to shove, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull proved equal to the challenge from Mercedes as the German took pole position for the 2013 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday night.

Q1 saw Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton fastest on 1m 44.196s, close to Vettel's FP3 best of 1m 44.173s, as, perhaps surprisingly, McLaren's Jenson Button, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and McLaren's Sergio Perez lined up next. In sixth and seventh, Mark Webber and Vettel harvested tyres on their Red Bulls.

A very late improvement put Felipe Massa up from 18th to 13th for Ferrari, thus bumping Paul di Resta's Force India which the Scot could not persuade beneath 1m 46.121s. Pastor Maldonado also failed to get through with 1m 46.619s for Williams. At Caterham, Charles Pic jumped team mate Giedo van der Garde, with 1m 48.111s to 1m 48.320s, and the Marussias were still close behind with Jules Bianchi on 1m 48.830s and Max Chilton on 1m 48.930s.

The Mercedes had control of Q2 for a while as Red Bull waited until there were only four minutes remaining before promptly bettering their times by a second as Vettel recorded 1m 42.905s to Rosberg's 1m 43.892s. There were other surprises, as Esteban Gutierrez beat Nico Hulkenberg to put a Sauber seventh, and the German was the first to fail to get through as 1m 44.555s left him 11th ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne's 1m 44.588s for Toro Rosso. Troubled by a trapped nerve in his back, Kimi Raikkonen could only manage 13th for Lotus in 1m 44.658s, as Perez did 1m 44.752s for McLaren. Adrian Sutil put his Force India 15th on 1m 45.185s, as Valtteri Bottas was 16th for Williams on 1m 45.388s.

Q3 brought Vettel a few anxious moments as he elected not to do a second run, and Nico Rosberg got close to his 1m 42.841s with a great 1m 42.932s for Mercedes, but Webber's second effort came up short with 1m 43.152s. Hamilton couldn't match that but 1m 43.254s moved him to fourth until Romain Grosjean pulled a blinder with 1m 43.058s to jump by both of them into third place for Lotus.

Massa's 1m 43.890s again shaded Ferrari team leader Alonso's 1m 43.938s, leaving the red cars sixth and seventh. Button took his McLaren round in 1m 44.282s for eighth and Daniel Ricciardo's 1m 44.439s left Toro Rosso ninth. Esteban Gutierrez didn't do a Q3 lap, and thus will start 10th for Sauber with a choice of tyre compound.

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