Impressive Rosberg beats Ricciardo to Singapore pole

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Nico Rosberg took pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix by half a second after an impressive performance in qualifying at Marina Bay.

Having been quickest by less than 0.1s in FP3, Rosberg was untouchable in the final part of qualifying, with his first lap securing him pole. The German eventually ended up 0.5s clear of Daniel Ricciardo, with the Red Bull beating Lewis Hamilton to second on the grid.

The opening attempts in Q3 saw Rosberg lay down a marker with a 1:42.584, leaving him over 0.7s clear of team-mate Hamilton. The gap to the rest of the field was a second, with Kimi Raikkonen third ahead of the two Red Bulls who struggled to get clean laps.

Rosberg was unable to improve on his time on his final attempt but didn't need to, with Hamilton's scruffy lap seeing the championship leader also fail to improve. That opened the door for Ricciardo to take second, with Max Verstappen finishing the session 0.040s slower than Hamilton in fourth place.

While the Red Bull pair will be disappointed by the gap to Rosberg having been so competitive throughout the rest of the weekend, both Ricciardo and Verstappen will start the race on supersoft tyres - compared to ultrasofts for the rest of the top ten - after progressing through to Q2 on the supersofts.

Raikkonen was demoted to fifth, with Carlos Sainz also impressing with sixth place for Toro Rosso, one position ahead of team-mate Daniil Kvyat. Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez round out the top ten.

The end of Q2 saw two incidents as first Romain Grosjean hit the barrier at Turn 10. The Frenchman had been complaining of problems with his brakes all weekend and lost the rear of his car under braking, spinning backwards into the barrier. With only a matter of seconds left on the clock, the track remained under double waved yellow flags to allow the session to end, but a few corners ahead Jenson Button also hit the barrier.

The 2009 world champion clipped the wall with his left rear exiting Turn 14, damaging the tyre and forcing him to stop two corners later. Despite the stricken cars, Perez managed to complete his lap and progress to Q3 at the expense of the two Williams cars. Valtteri Bottas will start 11th ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa, with Button, Esteban Gutierrez, Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson also eliminated.

Vettel was a casualty of Q1 due to a problem with his car, with the German believing his rear anti-roll bar was broken as he attempted his one run of the session. The Ferrari could be seen lifting a front wheel at every corner as Vettel still tried to post a time, but as he was already 0.2s slower than the time needed to advance he returned to the pits where Ferrari ran out of time to try and fix the problem.

Vettel will start from 22nd on the grid as a result, having posted the slowest time of the first part of qualifying. That left a space available for one of the Saubers or Renaults to progress, and it was Ericsson who delivered an impressive lap to go through by 0.4s. As a result the two Renault drivers dropped out, with Kevin Magnussen 17th ahead of Felipe Nasr and Jolyon Palmer.

Pascal Wehrlein will start from 20th ahead of Esteban Ocon and Vettel, having outqualified his Manor team-mate by 0.6s.

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01Nico RosbergMercedes1:45.3161:43.0201:42.584
02Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:44.2551:43.9331:43.115
03Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:45.1671:43.4711:43.288
04Max VerstappenRed Bull1:45.0361:44.1121:43.328
05Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:44.9641:44.1591:43.540
06Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:45.4991:44.4931:44.197
07Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1:45.2911:44.4751:44.469
08Nico HulkenbergForce India1:46.0811:44.7371:44.479
09Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:45.3731:44.6531:44.553
10Sergio PerezForce India1:45.2041:44.7031:44.582
11Valtteri BottasWilliams1:46.0861:44.740
12Felipe MassaWilliams1:46.0561:44.991
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:45.2621:45.144
14Esteban GutierrezHaas1:45.4651:45.593
15Romain GrosjeanHaas1:45.6091:45.723
16Marcus EricssonSauber1:46.4271:47.827
17Kevin MagnussenRenault1:46.825
18Felipe NasrSauber1:46.860
19Jolyon PalmerRenault1:46.960
20Pascal WehrleinManor1:47.667
21Esteban OconManor1:48.296
22Sebastian VettelFerrari1:49.116