Nico Rosberg storms to pole in Singapore

Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:57pm EDT
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By John O'Brien

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took pole position for his 200th Formula One race after a stunning qualifying lap around Singapore's Marina Bay street circuit on Saturday.

The German's best lap of one minute 42.584 seconds left him perfectly placed to retake the championship lead from British team mate Lewis Hamilton under the floodlights on Sunday.

Rosberg hailed the lap as one of the best of his career and, by securing his 29th pole position at a circuit that offers minimal overtaking opportunities, the 31-year-old will be hopeful of securing his eighth victory of the season.

"I am definitely happy with that one. It was one of my top three laps ever," said Rosberg, who sits two points behind Hamilton with seven rounds remaining.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo split the Mercedes pair to claim second spot in 1:43.115, the Australian edging out triple world champion Hamilton, a two-times winner in Singapore who will start in third place.

"It wasn't clear in qualifying how we would stack up against Red Bull, so I really had to give it everything and pull it out of the bag, which is cool," Rosberg added of his pole-setting lap.

Ricciardo is still searching for his first win of the season after he was denied victory by a botched pit stop in Monaco, and with Singapore providing the most similar circuit to Monte Carlo, the Australian can hope to go one better on Sunday.

"I am pleased enough," he said. "The aim was to be in on the front row, we knew it would be tough to get in front of the Mercedes but it was nice to be in front of one of them."   Continued...

Formula One - F1 - Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay, Singapore- 17/9/16  Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo of Australia, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrate after the qualifying session. REUTERS/Edgar Su