The Mercedes F1 domination continues - at least they are having the decency to make a race of it with Lewis a mere 0.007 secs ahead of Nico
Mercedes will start the 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix from the front row of the grid, but it was a mighty close thing not just between polesitter Lewis Hamilton and team mate Nico Rosberg, but between the Silver Arrows and the Red Bulls…
Q1 went Ferrari's way, after Hamilton had set the initial mark on the soft Pirelli tyres with 1m 47.847s. Kimi Raikkonen did 1m 46.685s on the supersoft, which his Ferrari team mate Fernando Alonso failed to beat with 1m 46.889s.
Hamilton ended up third on 1m 46.921s, whilst Rosberg was only sixth, unsettled after an early trip down an escape road as he was still getting used to some new brakes. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was also well back, in ninth, after running into traffic in the form of Daniil Kvyat's Toro Rosso.
Down the back Adrian Sutil was bumped by Lotus's Romain Grosjean, the Sauber driver's 1m 48.324s lap leaving him 17th ahead of Pastor Maldonado on 1m 49.063s in the second Lotus. The Venezuelan had earlier taken a trip off the road at Turn 7.
Jules Bianchi was behind Kamui Kobayashi's Caterham until the dying moments of Q1 when he decisively moved ahead for Marussia with 1m 49.440s. The Japanese driver didn't improve his previous lap of 1m 50.405s and just stayed ahead of the second Marussia of Max Chilton, who took his MR03 round in 1m 50.473s. Marcus Ericsson brought up the rear with 1m 52.287s after delays getting his Caterham out on to the track.
Mercedes moved back to the top in Q2 but Rosberg had to use an extra set of supersofts to do 1m 45.825s. Hamilton's 1m 46.287s came on his one and only run, as did Alonso's third best lap of 1m 46.328s.
McLaren's Jenson Button missed the Q3 cut by 0.017s to Kvyat, leaving the 2009 world champion in 11th place on 1m 46.943s ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso on 1m 46.989s, Nico Hulkenberg's Force India on 1m 47.308s, Esteban Gutierrez's Sauber on 1m 47.333s, and Sergio Perez in the second Force India on 1m 47.575s.
Grosjean was the slowest of the Q2 runners, lapping in 1m 47.812s, and afterwards the Frenchman vented his frustration at the performance of his Renault engine.
Williams' Felipe Massa was the surprise early pacesetter in Q3, running new supersofts for 1m 46.007s as Hamilton and Rosberg were only sixth and seventh respectively on new rubber. But as everyone bar Rosberg - who was forced to use scrubbed tyres - went to new supersofts for their second runs, the German snatched the initiative with 1m 45.688s only to have Hamilton take it away by seven-thousandths of a second with 1m 45.681s. Told the bad news over the radio, Rosberg had a one-word reply: “Dammit!”
Behind them Daniel Ricciardo was third for Red Bull on 1m 45.854s as Vettel just held off Alonso's Ferrari, with 1m 45.902s to 1m 45.907s.
Massa took sixth with 1m 46.000s, but Raikkonen complained of loss of power as he recorded 1m 46.170s in the second Ferrari. Valtteri Bottas put the second Williams into eighth place on 1m 46.187s, leaving McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and Kvyat to share the fifth row with 1m 46.250s and 1m 47.362s respectively.
Thus the grid will form: Hamilton, Rosberg; Ricciardo, Vettel; Alonso, Massa; Raikkonen, Bottas; Magnussen, Kvyat; Button, Vergne; Hulkenberg, Gutierrez; Perez, Grosjean; Sutil, Maldonado; Bianchi, Kobayashi; Chilton, Ericsson.