Top drivers defend quiet Q3 in Singapore

Top F1 drivers have defended the decisions of rival teams late on Saturday to sit out Q3 in Singapore.

Both Force India drivers as well as Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher qualified for the top-ten shootout but elected to stay in their garages in order to save a set of tyres for Sunday’s long race.

Some commentators criticised the decision as insulting to the thousands of paying spectators and detrimental to F1’s “show”, calling on those who deliberately sit out qualifying for tactical reasons to be penalised in future.

But pole sitter Sebastian Vettel said teams are simply making the best choices under the existing rules.

“I think that generally if we had more tyres across the weekend, we would run more,” said the Red Bull driver.

His teammate Mark Webber agreed: “Basically, if we were all flush with tyres, the guys would be out there.

“I think the question is completely fair but I think the (suggestion of a) penalty is not — it’s not fair to penalise people who are looking to try to have a good performance on Sunday.”

And McLaren’s Jenson Button, who has qualified behind the dominant Red Bulls, added: “You can’t penalise people for not running unless there’s a regulation change.

“It’s the way the regulations are and we’re going to try everything we can to do the best we can on a Sunday.”