LH44 is wheeled in for fresh tyres in Q3. Image Copyright Â© Ajit Devadason
The momentum is firmly back with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Out-qualifying his team-mate after locking up and losing time into Turn 1 Hamilton showed tremendous commitment and self-belief in slicing Rosberg’s potential pole lap by .007 secs!
All through FP3, Q1 and Q2 the Silver Arrows weren’t the fastest cars leading us to believe that Ferrari first and Williams were in with a genuine shout. Felipe Massa hung on to provisional P1 for a while.
Earlier on, in Q1 Nico Rosberg ran straight off and into an escape road in a very similar-to-Monaco incident but it was of little significance. The ultimate trio have taken the top three Qualifying positions. Will they finish like that or will the streets of the gorgeous-by-night Marina Bay, throw up a surprise winner?
The only occasionÂ Hamilton has won here in Singapore was in 2009. And he started on pole. Maybe it’s ‘Hammer time’ once again. Coded or not!
P1 Hamilton â€“ Mercedes AMGÂ 1mÂ 45.681
P2 Rosberg â€“ Mercedes AMG 1mÂ 45.688
P3 RicciardoÂ â€“ Â Red Bull Racing 1mÂ 45.854
That’s under two tenths.
Lewis Hamilton took P1 again, in Spain. Image Copyright Â© Mercedes AMG
The knock out blow to team mate Nico Rosberg was like the blink of an eye.
Earlier, Lewis looked a bit out of rhythm. It seemed Nico had set up perfectly and was going to repeat the P1 performance of 2013. But that was Q1 and Q2.
In Q3, after Sebastian Vettel reported “…no drive” in his RBR10 and brought out the Red Flag and after Jenson Button stormed to P8 in a hard tyre shod McLaren, Hamilton delivered his lap of precision.
He is peaking. It seems that his career graph is hitting the highest possible peaks. Surely it must be impossible to get any better. The man himself confesses “I haven’t experienced this level of performance before.”
So another lights-to-flag demonstration tomorrow? Possible.Â But Lewis’ poor finishing record in Barcelona suggests it might not be as easy as that.
P1 HamiltonÂ â€“ Mercedes AMGÂ 1m 25.232s
P2 RosbergÂ â€“ Mercedes AMGÂ 1m 25.400s
P3Â Ricciardo â€“ RBR RenaultÂ 1m 26.285s
The eyes have it. Image Copyright Â© Mercedes AMG
The two Mercedes AMG Petronas cars locked out the front row of the Â grid for the first time in 2014. Nico Rosberg set a fighting time in his last run in Q3 and it wasn’t matched nor beaten by teammate Lewis Hamilton because of a mistake.
Under pressure the 2008 World Champion locked up his tyres and aborted the crucial lap.
Only 6 days ago the Mercs were untouchable in Malaysia. Nothing much has changed from the team’s point of view. But Nico reminded everyone that he was indeed the Championship leader currently, even though the other side of the garage has hogged the limelight with consecutive poles and a commanding win.
The big surprises in Qualifying wereÂ Alonso in P10, Vettel in P11 and Hulkenberg in P12!
It bodes well for an exciting fight from the middle of the starting grid tomorrow.
A fight for P3 or ‘best of the rest’, behind the Silver Arrows.Â
P1 RosbergÂ â€“ Mercedes AMGÂ 1m 33.180s
P2 HamiltonÂ â€“ Mercedes AMGÂ 1m 33.464s
P3Â Ricciardo â€“ RBR RenaultÂ 1m 34.051s