Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position for tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix and later paid tribute to his McLaren team for their outstanding work.
The Woking squad have brought a number of upgrades for this weekend’s race, a decision which appears to have paid off given Hamilton’s pace in qualifying and in the morning practice session.
Hamilton now believes that he is in a very strong position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix and will hope to score his second victory of the season.
Heikki Kovalainen will start tenth.
Lewis Hamilton – 1st: “It’s an absolutely fantastic result. We came here with several technical upgrades, and we didn’t know if we’d be up there – particularly after Friday practice, which wasn’t spectacular for me. My pole lap was very relaxed: the car has just got better and better as the track has evolved, and I think I would have gone faster on my final lap if the session hadn’t been aborted. I didn’t expect to be on pole today, but our pace has been really good. We’ll need to see what fuel loads everyone else is running, but I feel quite confident in what we’re doing and I’m in the best position for the race tomorrow.”
Heikki Kovalainen – 10th: “This is a very disappointing result for me. In the first two sessions, things went smoothly although my laptimes weren’t as competitive as I was expecting. For Q3, I didn’t get a good enough lap in during my first run as I’d been running the harder tyre, which wasn’t quick enough. I also made a couple of mistakes, but I was focusing my efforts on my second run which would have been on a set of new Option tyres. It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow: starting from 10th will make things very difficult, but there’s nothing I can do about that now, so I’m just going to absolutely go for it tomorrow.”
Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “Although today’s qualifying ended slightly anticlimactically, owing to an accident that befell Rubens [Barrichello] and triggered a red flag that prevented the session from running its full allocated hour, Lewis thoroughly deserved his pole position.
“Other drivers were also pushing hard at the end, and undoubtedly it would therefore have been close, but we feel relatively confident that Lewis would have remained unbeaten.
“By contrast, on the harder tyre, Heikki hadn’t managed to cut a really quick lap in Q3 by the time the session was red-flagged but we believe that, with the benefit of another lap, he would have been able to go significantly faster. As a result, although he’s understandably disappointed that he’ll be starting the race from P10, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t put in a competitive showing tomorrow.
“Overall, then, we’re hoping to score plenty of points but, since Lewis will be starting from pole, I grant you that that isn’t a particularly bold statement. I make no apology for that: the weather will be hot and humid, and we may even see rain; the walls are close and unforgiving; the circuit is a challenging one. But we think we’re pretty well set.”
Norbert Haug – Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “Congratulations to Lewis for a fantastic job and his third pole position in the last four grands prix since Valencia at the end of August.
“Also, a big, big thank you to everyone in the team who worked through the night until 10 this morning to build up a different chassis for Lewis as a precaution after a problem related to a cable of our KERS Hybrid.
“Sorry for Heikki, who was strong all weekend until the last session when his first run did not work out in the expected way. After Rubens’ crash there was no time for a second run left, so Heikki has to start from 10th position.
“Strategy-wise we should be in a good position and hopefully we can fight for a win tomorrow.”