Published: Mon, September 17, 2018
Life&Culture | By Mildred Hamilton

Engine cut-out cost Max Verstappen Singapore Grand Prix pole shot

Engine cut-out cost Max Verstappen Singapore Grand Prix pole shot

Going into the meeting this was supposed to be Ferrari's race.

Four-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton flipped a small deficit in practice to a huge advantage in qualifying, seizing pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix by more than three-tenths over his closest competitor, Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen, and by 4.111 seconds over his 2017 Q3 time.

"I'm spent. It felt like the longest race of my life so I'm glad it's over", said Hamilton when interviewed on track after hugging his crew in celebration.

Starting from pole, the Brit held off the challenge of Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who finished second, while Sebastian Vettel was third as Ferrari again made hard work of strategy. The British driver had nailed an extraordinary lap to take pole.

This is Vettel's best chance.

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The Briton maintained breathing space between him and Vettel after the restart, extending it to more than two seconds by lap 13 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Yet given Ferrari's form in Singapore it was still a win against the odds.

"For us it was a bit of a messy qualifying", he lamented.

"We can't expect miracles tomorrow because nobody has the pace to lap the others but overall I think it's good to have pace then we see what we can do and how much we can fight. So it was really quite a monumental moment for us as a team". "There has been a slow improvement of our performance", he said. "We just struggled to get the balance on the hypersofts, the pink tyre, absolutely nailed".

Saturday was a pretty miserable day for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. They still have the quicker auto yet are failing to exploit it and the German is becoming frustrated as the title looks to be slipping away. The second incident of race took place on lap 34 when a frustrated Perez collided with Sirotkin, pushing the Mexican to the back of the grid.

They brought Vettel in on lap 14 and switched him on to the ultra-soft tyres, hoping to benefit from the rubber's extra pace on its initial laps.

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"It was a great qualifying", said Verstappen, the youngest driver to win an F1 race when he was 18.

The race returned to its steady rhythm, but Perez was providing some action further down the field.

"I think it was trickier than we expected but then this is what can often happen between qualifying and practice", Raikkonen told media after qualifying.

"With the way we raced we didn't have a chance".

"It's the most challenging track of the year for us. What we tried to do was get to first position and get ahead, but Lewis was too quick".

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The trio were closely-matched throughout but never seriously battled for position. "I'm really happy with it. I said before the weekend we can only beat ourselves and today we didn't get everything out of the package".

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