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F1 Singapore GP: Rosberg dazzles with stunning Singapore pole

Nico Rosberg shines under the floodlights to claim pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix by more than half-a-second; Hamilton third, Vettel last.
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Nico Rosberg will start the Singapore Grand Prix and his 200th career race from pole position after a dazzling performance under the spotlights in Marina Bay saw him dismiss the opposition by more than half-a-second.

With no repeat of the troubles that afflicted Mercedes in Singapore twelve months ago, Rosberg wound his performance up to an eye-catching 1min 43.020secs lap in Q2 before posting a remarkable 1min 42.584secs lap at the start of Q3.

With a seven tenths margin over Lewis Hamilton straight away, with the championship leader fluffing his response with a scrappy final lap, the door was thus opened for Daniel Ricciardo to squeeze his Red Bull between the title rivals thanks a ballsy effort.

Even so, it was Rosberg's vast margin over the opposition that ultimately catches the eye, the German ending the session a mammoth 0.531s clear of Ricciardo to put him a prime position for victory and to reclaim the title lead. Notably, such was Rosberg's sheer pace in qualifying, his Q2 time would also have been good enough to secure pole position.

Max Verstappen fell just four hundredths shy of compounding Hamilton's dismal day, the Dutchman securing fourth position on the grid having complained of a lack of grip in his Red Bull. Even so, Red Bull head into race day with a potential ace up its sleeve having progressed to Q3 with supersoft tyres, meaning both Ricciardo and Verstappen will start the race on the more durable rubber.

Kimi Raikkonen was Ferrari's sole charger in Q3 en route to fifth after Sebastian Vettel was struck by technical problems in Q1. Last year's pole sitter and winner will start at the back of the grid after issues with the anti-roll bar left him wrestling his Ferrari around the circuit with barely any stability at the front. With his SF16-T's left/right front wheel alarmingly lifting off the ground as he rounded bends, Vettel attempted to do another lap after identifying the issue on his first run, but would abandon the lap to leave him 22nd.

Meanwhile, Toro Rosso stands to secure good points after Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat qualified an impressive sixth and seventh respectively for their best combined result in some months, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez.

Outside the top ten, Williams missed out on the Q2 cut as both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa lost out amidst the late improvements. Their cause wasn't aided by double yellow flags being waved for Romain Grosjean, who crashed into the barrier at Turn 10 in the closing stages.

Though both Williams drivers say they lifted for yellow flags, gains for other drivers would see them bumped down to 11th and 12th.

Jenson Button was another to lose out after clipping the barrier and puncturing the left rear tyre, forcing him to stop out on track. Esteban Gutierrez, the crocked Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson fill positions 14th, 15th and 16th on the grid.

As well as Vettel, neither Renault would make it out of Q1 with Kevin Magnussen 17th and Jolyon Palmer 19th, the pair separated Sauber's Felipe Nasr. Struggling for balance around the tricky street circuit, Manor fill positions 20 and 21, Pascal Wehrlein six tenths faster than Esteban Ocon.

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Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
16.09.2016 - Free Practice 2, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
17.09.2016 - Qualifying, 2nd position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid pole position and 3rd position Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Pirelli tyre compound choices, Malaysian Grand Prix [Credit: Pirelli]
18.09.2016 - Race, 2nd position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd position Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
18.09.2016 - Race, 2nd position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd position Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
18.09.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
18.09.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
18.09.2016 - Race, 2nd position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd position Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
18.09.2016 - Race, 2nd position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd position Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
18.09.2016 - Race, 2nd position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd position Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
18.09.2016 - Race, 2nd position Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd position Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
18.09.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
18.09.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
18.09.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
18.09.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
18.09.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
18.09.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
18.09.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner

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