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Sat: Merc, Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Singapore GP after beating Nico Rosberg by 0.007s while Dan Ricciardo was third fastest…

Mercedes:
Lewis Hamilton: “That was one of the most exciting qualifying sessions I can remember. I lost a lot of time at the beginning of my last lap and at that point I thought pole was lost. But I just kept going and managed to pull some time back. As a driver, through the weekend you plan to have the last lap in qualifying as your best. By that time the track has improved and you should have the settings as close to their optimum as they’re going to get. But there was so much happening out there and I was just trying not to look at what was going on around me. I was surprised by how close everyone was – the Red Bulls and Ferraris looked quick all day – and it was really fun to be a part of that session. The team have done a fantastic job to bring the car here, to a circuit where downforce is so important, and be at the front once again, so a big thank you to them. It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow. Coming into the weekend we had an opinion about how the tyres would behave, but the long runs yesterday changed all that. Trying to manage them will be a big challenge but hopefully it will be an entertaining one for the fans. I’m on the clean side of the track so I’m hoping for a clean start and a strong race.”

Nico Rosberg: “In general that was the most difficult qualifying session of my career so far. It was really tough to find my rhythm. I had to change my brakes for qualifying and then had to find the right balance in the early runs which was a struggle. I just thought, “that’s it, you will be 6th or 7th”. Then, at the end, I was really happy with the balance and feeling good. When I heard that Lewis was that tiny margin quicker I thought “damn”! I directly reviewed my lap and thought there were so many places to gain seven thousandths of a second – especially in the last corner. But in the end he did seven thousandths of a better job today, so fair play to him. P2 is still good for tomorrow’s race and I’m focused on having a good start. Last year I overtook Sebastian at Turn One, so it’s definitely possible to win from here. It’s going to be all about managing the tyres and I learned some good lessons in my long runs yesterday, so I hope it will be an exciting race for the fans.”

Red Bull:
Daniel Ricciardo: “Coming into the weekend we thought that if we could be within two or three tenths of Mercedes then there was a realistic chance to stay with them in the race. We actually ended up closer to them than we thought in qualifying, so that’s good. If the start goes okay then it’s about trying to be smart and doing something with the strategy. If I can get close, then I’ll have a go, I haven’t been shy doing that this year, but it’s difficult on a street circuit. It’s close to home here and it’s nice to see a few Aussie flags in the crowd. Hopefully we can get a podium result for them tomorrow.”

Sebastian Vettel: “I’m not happy with that final lap, I was pushing a bit too hard and didn’t get it all together, so I’m not entirely happy, but it is what it is now. I think pole could have been in our grasp. We’ll hope to have a good race tomorrow, with good pit stops and a good strategy and we’ll see what we can do from there. I think we have good speed, but everyone seems to have good speed here. It’s a long race, so we’ll see how the tyres work and what we can do.”

Ferrari:
Fernando Alonso: “If you had told me yesterday that we would still be competitive in qualifying, probably I wouldn’t have believed it. And in fact this fifth place is a bit different to usual, because the gap to pole is really small. This weekend, I’ve felt comfortable right from the first session and probably much of that is down to the characteristics of the track. It’s impossible to compare it to other races, because this one and Monaco are a law unto themselves. But definitely, we have made a step forward since the start of the season and I’m sure the car will continue to improve right the way to the end. Tomorrow’s race will be long and very demanding from a mechanical point of view. Reliability will play a key role as will tyre management, which could make a big difference.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “I’m very happy with the handling of my car. Yesterday, we made some changes to the set-up and in qualifying, I finally managed to drive the way I wanted. Unfortunately, in Q3, on my final run on new Supersoft tyres, a problem forced me to pit. It’s a real shame as I felt comfortable in the car and we had the potential to get a good result. Now I want to feel confident for the race and I hope the team manages to solve the problem without too much difficulty. Tomorrow, we will do our best to bring home as many points as possible, aware that we are going in the right direction.”

Williams:
Felipe Massa: “This has been a promising qualifying for us because we have made big improvements compared to yesterday and we are in the mix with the teams around us in the championship. Top four may have been possible, especially considering how tight it is, but sixth is a solid result. What is really encouraging is that we identified the problem we had yesterday and the changes we made improved the car as we expected so a really good job by the team. Tomorrow will be tough. This is the longest race of the season, the conditions are challenging, and there can be safety cars so our first thought is to get both cars home in the points.”

Valtteri Bottas: “We made strong improvements from yesterday’s practice sessions to FP3, and we did this again going into qualifying. The mechanical set-up of the car has improved as the weekend has progressed and we have done a good job in getting the tyres into the right temperature window which we struggled with yesterday. My out-lap on my final run in Q3 was a little compromised, and I made a mistake in Turn One, so given how tight it was I could have gained more places but we need to be satisfied with where we are. We know we have the pace to fight with the cars around us so tomorrow should be an exciting race.”

Related Links
Qualy: Hamilton Snatches Pole By 0.007s
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