Vettel breathes sigh of relief as gamble pays off

Sat Sep 21, 2013 12:44pm EDT
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By John O'Brien

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel put pole position on the line with a bold and risky gamble that paid off, after an anxious wait, at the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday.

Red Bull's triple Formula One world champion was able to celebrate his 41st career pole while watching the monitors in the team garage after deciding not to go out for a final quick lap around the floodlit Marina Bay street circuit.

The championship leader had stormed to the fastest time ever seen in Singapore and retreated to the garage content that his one minute 42.841 second lap would be enough to hold off his rivals.

It turned out closer than he had imagined, with fellow-German Nico Rosberg ending the session just 0.091 seconds slower for Mercedes to line up alongside on the front row of the grid for Sunday's race.

Lotus's Romain Grosjean and Vettel's Red Bull team mate Mark Webber qualified third and fourth.

"I knew we had a cushion which is why we decided not to run again but the thing you don't know is how much the track improves and I'm sure there was a little bit of track ramping up," Vettel told reporters after his fifth pole of the season.

"We thought it was good enough... but probably a bit close."

Vettel now looks set fair to record a hat-trick of victories in Singapore and extend his 53-point lead over nearest rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, who could only finish seventh.   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany reacts during an interview after the qualifying session of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore September 21, 2013. REUTERS/Pablo Sanchez