Shock Hamilton win after first-lap drama

Shock Hamilton win after first-lap drama

Sebastian Vettel was just as fortunate as he was courageous on his way to a stunning pole position in Saturday's qualifying for the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix.

Vettel looked poised to move back into the lead of the drivers' standings after taking pole position in Singapore, with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton sitting fifth on the grid.

Through drying conditions and three safety vehicle periods, Hamilton held off Daniel Ricciardo in second place and crossed the line with a 4.5s lead over the Red Bull at the finish.

"I've got no idea -- and that is the concern I've always had with this race", Romain Grosjean told earlier, when asked if it would be safe to race in the rain.

He said: "I didn't see that much". "I definitely went in today thinking it was about damage limitation".

"I have an idea, if we were to do the race again and set the auto up different, something we did on the vehicle would have helped us if we went the other way for how the conditions are".

"I think there was damage on the auto already", he said of his second incident.

"I still believe that our concept is the right concept", he said. "They might have to carry us out of the cars tomorrow, but I'm sure we'll have a great strong race and get some big points!"

With three safety auto interruptions, the race ended with 58 of the 61 laps completed after hitting the two-hour mark.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton drives out of the pit lane during Friday practice for the Singapore Grand Prix
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton drives out of the pit lane during Friday practice for the Singapore Grand Prix

A replay showed fluid streaming out of Vettel's damaged sidepod after Turn 1 and it is likely it caused him to lose the rear of his vehicle and hammer his Ferrari against the concrete wall.

"Then the next thing there was a bump on the side and I saw Kimi's vehicle, so I don't know what happened".

Max Verstappen insists he is encouraged by his qualifying performance for the Singapore Grand Prix, saying starting from second place is "very promising" despite missing out on pole position.

"When you're fighting for a world championship you shouldn't do that", the 19-year-old Dutchman said.

While Alonso was eventually forced to retire, this drive offered a reminder of why McLaren have been so desperate to keep him.

Daniil Kvyat put his Toro Rosso into the Turn 7 wall amid tricky conditions on Lap 11, and Marcus Ericsson crashed his Sauber on the Anderson Bridge on Lap 38. Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas went on to complete the podium.

Mercedes declined to pit Hamilton under the safety auto but after the restart, he reeled off a string of fastest laps on the slowly drying track, extending his lead over Ricciardo.

The safety auto came out again, after Marcus Ericsson's Sauber stalled on lap 39.