Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix ended with 26 seconds remaining on the clock when Rubens Barrichello
crashed his Brawn Mercedes thereby denying his rivals a final shot at beating Lewis Hamilton to the pole position, his 16th of his career and third of the season. There were
some surprises however as Nico Rosberg shined again for Williams and starts third while championship leader Jenson Button
struggled to 12th ahead of 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen
1 . L. Hamilton - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
"It’s an absolutely fantastic result. We came here with several technical upgrades, and we didn’t know if we’d be up there – particularly after Friday practice, which wasn’t spectacular for me. My pole lap was very relaxed: the car has just got better and better as the track has evolved, and I think I would have gone faster on my final lap if the session hadn’t been aborted. I didn’t expect to be on pole today, but our pace has been really good. We’ll need to see what fuel loads everyone else is running, but I feel quite confident in what we’re doing and I’m in the best position for the race tomorrow.”
2 . S. Vettel - Red Bull Renault RB5
“Unfortunately, when the red flag came out it was my first run on new tyres. I had previously been on used tyres, so my flying lap wasn’t as easy or relaxed as it might have been. But, at the end of the day, it’s great to be back qualifying near the front, especially on a street circuit. The car has been very good all weekend and I’ve been feeling comfortable. It was a shame the red flag came out, but we’ll keep pushing tomorrow. Let’s see – it’s a long race and it will be tough, but we have all that it takes, so I’m looking forward to it.”
3 . N. Rosberg - Williams Toyota FW31
"It’s been a great day as it has been the result of some good work to change and adapt the set-up of the car in practice and even in Q1. Going into qualifying, it all came alive in Q2 and I got a super lap in. Although Q3 was not as easy on heavy fuel loads, I think we are seeing the benefit of a lot of development work that has gone into the car and I am really pleased for the whole team that we have made another step towards a podium finish and we may even be able to fight for a win sometime soon. P3 is a great position to start from tomorrow and I will be on the clean side of the track, which might prove to be important."
4 . M. Webber - Red Bull Renault RB5
“You never think your first run is going to be for the grid, so I think everyone always leaves a little bit of a margin. I was on scrubbed tyres and was banking on a big lap in my second run. I’m not sure who was on new tyres, but we’re fourth so let’s see – it could have been a lot worse. My guys have been absolute superstars this weekend, putting the car back together after yesterday, in very tough working conditions for them here. I have a lot of motivation to reward them tomorrow.”
5 . F. Alonso - Renault R29
“We start the race in fifth, which is a good position for us. It might be difficult to fight for a podium tomorrow, but for sure finishing in the top five would be our main goal. Our race pace was not fantastic during practice so we need to improve that a little bit for tomorrow, otherwise we might have a defensive race as I will be determined to defend this fifth place.”
6 . T. Glock - Toyota TF109
"I am happy to be back in the top 10 again. I like this track and I feel confident in the car set-up here. The sessions went well generally; particularly in second qualifying when I was straightaway a second faster than I had been in the first session. The car felt really good and it was nice to get through to third qualifying. My lap was okay in that session but I was on used options and they were a bit worn out. I was really looking forward to my last run on new options but the red flag destroyed it. I know I could have improved my lap time and who knows where that would have put me. But in the end I start from sixth so it looks pretty good. I hope we can have a clean first lap then try to finish in the top six. I will be fighting for as many points as possible."
7 . N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1.09
“Although it might appear nice to be in top ten again, as we have had worse results this season, I’m really disappointed. The car had improved and it all looked good in Q1 and in Q2. But in Q3 I could not use the advantage of the softer tyres because of the red flag. I had just started my fast lap and from the early corners it was clear to me it would be a huge improvement, but then Rubens Barrichello
crashed and the session was red flagged. In hindsight it would have been better to use the softer tyres earlier, but of course you don’t want to sacrifice the advantage of the track being at its best in the last minutes of the session. That’s bad luck.”
8 . R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.09
“Of course our qualifying performance was influenced by the red flag caused by Rubens Barrichello
’s accident. I think most of the drivers are in a similar situation. We used the harder tyre compound in our first run of the top ten qualifying. This cost us a lot of lap time – the prime tyres were about two tenths slower just in the first two corners compared to the softer compound. It will be a very difficult race tomorrow. The track is very challenging. It requires lots of traction and braking stability. Also physically the circuit is very demanding as there are a lot of corners and you are permanently fighting with the car. Tomorrow a lot will depend on tyre degradation and possible overheating.”
9 . H. Kovalainen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
“This is a very disappointing result for me. In the first two sessions, things went smoothly – although my lap times weren’t as competitive as I was expecting. For Q3, I didn’t get a good enough lap in during my first run as I’d been running the harder tyre, which wasn’t quick enough. I also made a couple of mistakes, but I was focusing my efforts on my second run – which would have been on a set of new option tyres. It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow: starting from 10th will make things very difficult, but there’s nothing I can do about that now, so I’m just going to absolutely go for it tomorrow.”
10* . R. Barrichello - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
"It was an eventful qualifying session for me today but I'm still feeling positive with starting from tenth position on the grid. Considering everything that happened, I feel that it's a pretty good result.
I had a problem with the car after Q2 when I hit the kerb too hard and probably damaged the floor as the car wasn't feeling quite right at the end of the session. It was a great lap to get into Q3 as we were struggling for pace and I knew that I had to push regardless of any damage. I was really going for it on my final run in Q3 and unfortunately the car bottomed out and I lost control and ended up bouncing off the wall. It's a shame but the car should be ok and we can look forward to the race tomorrow."
11 . K. Nakajima - Williams Toyota FW31
"It was frustrating to be P11 and just miss out making it into Q3. The car had more potential if I had been able to find more from the tyre on warm up, but I had quite a few different points on the lap where I was struggling. That said, I think we have a good chance to score some points from where we are tomorrow."
12 . J. Button - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
"It was a frustrating qualifying session for us today. The car felt pretty good in Q1 and I was the second quickest which was positive. We had a bit of understeer so we made some changes for Q2 but unfortunately it made the car very difficult under braking and I locked the front left tyre up into turn seven which lost me a lot of time. Then with a flat-spotted front tyre, it's impossible to make the time up around here so that was my qualifying over. We'll make the best of it tomorrow of course but starting from twelfth on the grid is going to make it a tough race."
13 . K. Raikkonen - Ferrari F60
“Unfortunately, today we were just not quick enough to get into Q3 and there was not much we could do about it. It’s logical that, as other cars improve, race after race, we pay a higher price for our decision to stop developing the F60. Tomorrow, we can expect a tough race as it is very difficult to overtake here, so getting into the points will be very difficult. It’s true that anything can happen on a track like this and we will have to do our best to make the most of every opportunity, maybe getting some help through a good start as we have usually managed in the last few races. As for the tyres, I think that tomorrow, there could be a problem with wear on the softer tyre, even if the situation could improve during the race.”
14 . S. Buemi - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
“I am quite happy, as the session went smoothly without any mistakes. I got the most I could out of the car and am pleased to have got ahead of Trulli. I’m glad to finally be back in Q2 as it’s been a long time. Now we need to work on a race strategy, make a good start and run the pit stops well.”
15 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF109
"The main problem for me was a lack of grip. The track conditions seem like they have improved but we couldn't improve our lap times enough from yesterday. I am not sure why because Timo looked strong but I just had no grip at all. The car didn't feel particularly good so we didn't quite get it right today unfortunately. Anything can happen in the race tomorrow and I will fight as hard as I can but it will be difficult to score points from 15th."
16 . A. Sutil - Force India Mercedes VJM02
"As we can see, we are still very quick on the straights and on the high speed circuits such as Spa and Monza, but here it is all about downforce. It's a very similar configuration to Monte Carlo, but about twice as long with twice as many corners and that's why we lost so much over one lap. We have had a problem with the grip level the whole weekend. I did expect us to be a little bit more competitive, but the field is very tight and if you lose out a bit in the traffic suddenly you are at the back. I lost some time on my fastest lap when Giancarlo [Fisichella] was in front of me in the middle sector and I finished 16th. It's going to be difficult but let's see what we can do. It's a long race and anything is possible and we will still be giving it our best."
17 . J. Alguersuari - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
“We did quite well and we’re getting faster. It was quite difficult to do better than that, but I am feeling more comfortable with the track every time I get in the car. This has been the hardest track I have driven apart from Macau. With it being a street circuit, anything could happen tomorrow, so hopefully I can have a good race.”
18 . G. Fisichella - Ferrari F60
“Obviously, I am disappointed with this result. I really wanted to do well, but I still haven’t managed to find the right level of confidence in this car: it’s almost as if it is driving me rather than the other way round. Especially on such a difficult track, I don’t have the confidence to go right to the limit. Naturally starting from eighteenth place means I can expect a very difficult race. I will try and make up some places at the start and then make the most of the race pace. Getting into the points would be the maximum, but even that will be a very tough target to reach.”
19 . R. Grosjean - Renault R29
“We were having problems with the brakes and the team was trying very hard to solve them, but in the end it was a difficult session. I don’t believe that 19th on the grid shows the true pace of the car so I look forward to the race where hopefully I can make some progress. I remain in a positive frame of mind and want to gain some valuable experience from this demanding track.”
20 . V. Liuzzi - Force India Mercedes VJM02
"We knew we would struggle more on this type of circuit compared to the low downforce tracks such as Spa and Monza but we didn't expect it would be this much. We were suffering with a lack of traction and weren't able to find the right balance - Adrian and I seem to have the same problems. My quickest lap was quite clean, perhaps there were a couple of tenths more in it, but to get through to Q2 this time would have been quite difficult. With more fuel on board we are quite competitive but from this point on the grid it will be tough. However at a circuit like this anything can happen and if we have a good pace in the race and a good balance we could still get some points. Street circuits are always a bit crazy so we won't give up just yet."
* Five position grid penalty for unscheduled gearbox change.