Hamilton snatches pole in Singapore

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       We asked Ted Kravitz to check the heat of the F1 tyres after the stress of the Singapore GP circuit at Marina B

Kimi Raikkonen has laid the blame for a poor qualifying at the feet of the Ferrari strategists after the Finn could only manage fifth on the grid for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Hamilton admitted that Mercedes had been too conservative in their tyre choices for the race and after sneaking through the first phase of qualifying on the slower ultrasoft tyres, the Briton was unstoppable with the high-grip hypersofts on his vehicle.

"Going into Q3 I felt the vehicle was working really well and didn't have anything to complain about, so when I saw second on the board I was actually quite surprised given the problems I had".

Mercedes have long regarded Singapore as a "bogey track" and were fearing the worst as Vettel's Ferrari team and the Red Bulls dominated practice, but Hamilton drove a flawless lap to qualify first and was never really threatened in the race.

"I don't think yesterday we were chanceless".

In the sweltering heat of the Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton turned up the heat on Sebastian Vettel a notch further.

Although Verstappen does not know if the lap would have been good enough to snatch pole, he has no doubts he would have gone quicker than his first run.

"I said before the weekend we can only beat ourselves and we didn't get everything out of our package".

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"It's going to be so hard to overtake". "I know that not a single member of the hierarchy, like [strategist] James Vowles or Toto probably, really didn't think that was possible - maybe more of them". I think it's pretty obvious what we tried to do and it didn't work and we got ourselves in trouble with the auto that I had to pass on track.

Both Raikkonen and teammate Sebastian Vettel complained about being dropped into traffic leaving the pitlane, not allowing either driver to prepare their tyres for their qualifying laps.

The fifth championship looks closer than ever now, unless Ferrari come up with the heist of their lives to grab it away from him. "I think the decisions we took in the race, the decision to try and be aggressive, if it works it's great and today it didn't work and it didn't work by quite a bit, so we need to look into that".

Only six races remain, Ferrari have a mountain to climb and Vettel's self-flagellation and dissatisfaction with their strategy this weekend suggests they are reeling and have no answers to Hamilton's performances. But Hamilton's masterclass in qualifying was exceptional as he recorded one of the best pole positions of his career - described as epic within his Mercedes team.

"I tell you, this track is epic", said Hamilton.

It didn't. When Verstappen was able to subsequently pit and rejoin (just) ahead of the Ferrari - and on the softs that could comfortably make the end of the race - Vettel's attention turned to managing his tyres to avoid having to pit again.

Vettel emerged from his auto dejected and facing an nearly insurmountable 40-point title comeback.

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