Vettel storms to Singapore pole position

Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:59am EDT
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By John O'Brien

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel continued his imperious march towards a fourth consecutive Formula One world championship by storming to pole position at the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday after dominating the two days of practice.

The Red Bull driver, who is 53 points ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with seven races remaining, clocked a fastest lap of one minute 42:841 seconds around the floodlit Marina Bay Street Circuit.

The German will be joined on the front row by compatriot Nico Rosberg for Mercedes, who was just 0.091 seconds behind.

The second row for Formula One's only night race will be occupied by Lotus's Romain Grosjean and Vettel's Australian team mate Mark Webber.

"Pole is the best position to start from as it is tricky to pass on this track but it's such a long race, so there are plenty of opportunities for all of us... we usually get a safety car in this race, too," Vettel told reporters.

Lewis Hamilton will start in fifth place in the second Mercedes while Alonso languished in seventh, outqualified by Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa.

Vettel has looked unstoppable since the second practice session on Friday and although he set the quickest time ever around the demanding 23-turn circuit early in the final qualifying round, he had a nervous wait to be sure of pole after gambling that the time would suffice.

"It's a weird feeling to stand in garage with two minutes to go, it's much worse when you watch the others and there's nothing you can do," the champion told reporters after Rosberg just missed out.   Continued...

Lotus F1 Formula One driver Romain Grosjean of France (L), Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany (C) and Mercedes Formula One driver Nico Rosberg of Germany (R) stand together after the qualifying session of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore September 21, 2013. REUTERS/Tim Chong