25 September – Former Singapore winner Fernando Alonso has given himself the best possible chance of repeating that success by taking pole position in his Ferrari for Sunday’s FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX.
Alonso recovered from a tricky Friday, shrugged of the early exit from qualifying of teammate Felipe Massa and claimed his second pole position of 2010 and the 20th of his career with a best lap of 1 minute 45.390, an average speed of 173.287 kilometres an hour round Singapore’s demanding 5.073km Marina Bay street circuit.
“In preparation for Sunday afternoon you need to make a good Saturday and today we did it,” said the 29-year-old former World Champion. While Sunday’s race will run late into the Singapore evening, the point was taken.
“I was quite happy with my lap,” Alonso went on. “I didn’t know if it was good enough for pole, second or fourth, but I think we got 100 per cent out of the car today.”
Second on the grid is the man who had emerged as favourite from pole after a brilliant run through practice, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel. Quickest in the final free practice session, the 23-year-old German was denied what would have been his eighth pole of the year by what he called “a pretty messy qualifying”.
Vettel brushed the wall at Turn 13 in his last attempt to oust Alonso and was unable to recover from that moment. “We never really got into the rhythm, we were always a little bit in traffic, just didn’t put it into one lap as I did in practice,” he added.
Last year’s pole position man and race winner Lewis Hamilton starts third for McLaren but remains confident of erasing the five-point gap between himself and World Championship leader Mark Webber.
“I think we had a little bit more in the car, but it was tricky out there making sure you found the gap,” said the 2008 World Champion. “I can’t really complain: I’m on the clean side of the grid, we’ve had the best starts for quite some time and so that should put us in a good position for tomorrow.”
Hamilton has his teammate Jenson Button alongside him on the grid, while Webber’s Red Bull starts from fifth – the top five title contenders filling the top five spots in the starting line-up.
Before the tense qualifying hour began fans flocked to the Padang, the entertainment hub of the 2010 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX, to watch Italian performance group Studio Festi and ‘American Idol’ runners-up and popular favourites Daughtry and Adam Lambert.
In earlier track action guest driver Daniil Kyvat, the Russian teenager driving for Eurointernational, ‘won’ the opening Formula BMW Pacific race with a determined move on the 10th and final lap to beat Singapore’s Richard Bradley but earned a three-second penalty that saw the top two spots reversed. With guest drivers ineligible for points, Bradley strengthened his grip on the 2010 title as main rival Jordan Oon struggled home ninth. The final podium place went to Malaysian driver Calvin Wong.
The opening Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race went to Australia-based New Zealander Craig Baird, who profited from pole-sitter Christian Menzel’s disastrous decision to start on wet weather tyres then held off the determined late run of former champion Darryl O’Young to win by three-tenths of a second.