Barrichello crash gives Hamilton pole (Singapore Grand Prix qualifying)

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Lewis Hamilton starts from pole position for the third time in four races

A crash decided the Singapore Grand Prix last year, and a crash decided Singapore Grand Prix qualifying this year.

Rubens Barrichello’s shunt in the dying moments of qualifying may have been entirely innocent, but it handed Lewis Hamilton pole position for the second Singapore Grand Prix.

Championship leader Jenson Button, meanwhile, will start from outside the top ten.


Barrichello had looked quicker than team mate and title rival Button in practice. But after the final practice session the Brazilian driver had to change his gearbox, which had been damaged during the race at Spa, and collected a five-place grid penalty.

As qualifying began Barrichello still seemed to have an advantage over his team mate, lapping 0.7s faster with his first effort, setting a 1’47.939. But it wasn’t just the Brawns in contention for the fastest times. Sebastian Vettel soon relegated them both and then Hamilton repeated his pace from third practice by going quickest.

Most of the drivers did three-lap runs to begin with and by the end of it Hamilton was fastest from Vettel by almost six tenths of a seconds.

But Force India were struggling to replicate their Spa and Monza form on the high-downforce Singapore track. Both Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi found themselves in the bottom five with three minutes to go in Q1. Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld and Jaime Alguersuari accompanied them in the bottom five.

Another team struggling were Ferrari – while Kimi Raikkonen leapt up to third in the dying stages of the session, he was a whole second and 15 places ahead of his team mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

The Italian driver failed to reach Q2, and neither did the Force Indias, Romain Grosjean (who went off early in the session) and Liuzzi.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes – 1’48.231
17. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’48.340
18. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari – 1’48.350
19. Romain Grosjean, Renault – 1’48.544
20. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes – 1’48.792


Nico Rosberg delivered the first surprise of Q2, going quickest by half a second. Vettel took second behind him ahead of Hamilton.

With Timo Glock and Fernando Alonso also posting surprisingly fast times the Brawn duo now found themselves threatened by the bottom five drop zone.

In the dying moments of the session it all seemed to have gone wrong for Barrichello. He ran wide at the Singapore Sling chicane, scraped his chassis along the kerb, and lost two seconds.

Both drivers now had a single lap in which to reach the top ten – and Barrichello had a damaged floor. Button’s final effort was scrappy and he failed to improve, while Barrichello launched himself into the final session with a time good enough for sixth place.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota – 1’47.013
12. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’47.141
13. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari – 1’47.177
14. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1’47.369
15. Jarno Trulli, Toyota – 1’47.413


Hamilton began the final part of qualifying fastest. He set a 1’47.891 putting, him 0.3s faster than Vettel, with Rosberg third.

The pair began their final laps with strong first and second sectors, and we looked set for a classic pole position showdown.

But Barrichello ran wide at turn five, lost the back end of his Brawn, and crashed heavily into the barriers. With only half a minute left on the clocks, this brought qualifying to an abrupt halt.

It all worked out rather conveniently for Barrichello. He had been fifth at the time, and it means he will start in front of Button despite his five-place penalty.

But few people could have been very happy to see another session at Singapore decided by a crash. Fortunately there’s no indication there was anything dubious about this one.

After Barrichello takes his penalty, it will promote the new-specification BMWs to the fourth row of the grid, behind Alonso and Glock.

We’ll find out who holds the upper hand for the race when the fuel weights are announced in a few hours’ time.

Due to a technical problem the live blog ended early – sorry for the inconvenience, I’ll look into what went wrong.

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’47.891
2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault – 1’48.204
3. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota – 1’48.348
4. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault – 1’48.722
5. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes – 1’48.828*
6. Fernando Alonso, Renault – 1’49.054
7. Timo Glock, Toyota – 1’49.180
8. Nick Heidfeld, BMW – 1’49.307
9. Robert Kubica, BMW – 1’49.514
10. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes – 1’49.778

Read more: Singapore Grand Prix grid

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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66 comments on “Barrichello crash gives Hamilton pole (Singapore Grand Prix qualifying)”

  1. I would like to give Barrichello a quick kick in the shin for that one. I was really gunning for Vettel there or Rosberg for that matter

    1. Me too!!!I was playing in two prediction games, and I had put Barrichello and Vettel in P1 there, and he screwed it all up!

    2. It was a real anti-climax, I wanted to see if Rosberg could get his first pole position.

      1. I was absolutely devastated as I knew Vettel had it in him to get Pole his lap was looking brilliant but then Rubens flippin crashed! Rosberg was flying aswell but it would’ve been an amazing climax to the qualifying session had the red flag not come out.

    3. I still think Lewis had another one in him to challenge Vettel’s obvious pace and Rosberg’s incredible middle sector times.
      But we’ll never know! It was such a rookie error from Barry too…

      1. Yeah the track seemed to be coming towards the cars by the end, I agree Hamilton probably had a bit left in the last lap.

  2. Doesnt look very good for Rubens, he is on 2 stop strategy I guess where BMWs, Glock and Kovi look very heavy.

  3. I’m very surprised with Fisi. Is the Ferrari that slow and is Kimi quicker than the car? I don’t see why Fisi would be struggling this bad.

    Too bad that Barrichello crashed, I wanted to see if the BMW’s could get to the top.

    1. KERS brakes give that car very distinctive characteristics that make it difficult to drive.
      Kimi has had all year to get used to it and is one of the best drivers in the world.

      Fisi is not one of the greatest and has been dumped in a difficult car at a track where you spend most of the time breaking for lap time.

      So im not suprised at all, hope he does well at Suzuka.

    2. Worth remembering Badoer didn’t just qualify last, he was a second and a half slower than anyone else at Valencia:

    3. Personally, I think Fisi is scared of pranging it.. and if you don’t have 100% confidence to push with the rest of the field so tight, you will be at the back.

      1. I agree with that, you can actually see Fisi is not attacking the car with full confidence, at least that’s the impression I got when they showed the in car cam view..

  4. Button really cant make the most of an average car. Itll be a sad day for f1 when he is world champion. He doesnt deserve it and is not good enough at all

    1. Totally agree. What a chump.

    2. People seem to forget Button finished 3rd in 2004 for BAR behind only the two Ferraris. BAR a team which I think never managed a race win in 7 years. Personally I think that’s quite an achievement, and clearly shows he can take an average car to its limits.

      1. It wasnt average it was 2nd or 3rd best. Even sato did well in it

    3. And if Barichello wins it will be a happy day for F1?

      I’m beginning to think Jenson isn’t up to it either (constant moaning is starting to get pretty irritating) – but what is the alternative? This season is just very unique as many top top drivers find themselves in poor cars.

    4. Today he didn’t hook it it up like a WDC. But that’s not to say he hasn’t on previous occasions!
      Any WDC is usually worthy of the title – there’s just so much to get right/go wrong in a whole season that getting the WDC is a deserved accolade.
      If he carries on like this then he won’t get the title and so be it. Until then credit where it’s due please!

    5. Button made a mistake in not using another set of fresh tyres in Q2. This happened to just about every top driver this season. Often even in Q1!

      Of the 4 drivers in the fastest cars he is by far the best driver though. The other have blundered their way through the season.

  5. He really doesnt. World champion and jenson button should never be said together

    1. It won’t be if somebody else gets more points than him, but if they can’t, who else would you have as world champion? Someone with fewer points?

      1. I wish people would stop complaining, Button is good, yeah not the best, but hes very good and that has been shown this year. Shut up about the best car stuff, he is still at the top and currently been the best this year.

        Let a good hearted man win for once…

        1. Kimi did it in 2007…

        2. Lewis did it in 2008.

          1. And Button could do it in 2009. How does he not deserve it? Even if you have the greatest car in the world, if you don’t put in good performances at some stage, you won’t win the title. at the end of the Day, Button has NEVER been behind in the title race this season, with four races to go. Even a couple of bad performances can’t outweigh that.

  6. Vettel could grab the pole if Barrichello’ s crash happened seconds later and and I would grabed 10 pts in F1FPC as for victory I still believe in Rubens. This track full of ripples may cause some SC during the race

  7. fra

    before I forget I’m Brazilian too do you have any problem with me?

    1. I personally like the Brazilian nation & its people. Their passion for formula 1 is second to none. It was very unfair of fra to bring in nationality into this. totally uncalled for. And barrichello is not a heat like Piquet Jr.

      1. The most interesting in been a Brazilian is that we don’t have in our spirit any kind of dislike for any country or for any people or culture. We have no historic enemies, we have all kind of people living here.

        Fittipaldi, Barrichello and Massa are grandsons of Italians.

        Nelson Piquet have some connections with Frence and Nelsinho´s mother is dutch.

        Senna had some mix of Italian and Spanish blood in his veins.

        Só, It is a shame to bring this kind of comments here without know anything about Brazilian people…

        Thanks for that Keith.

    2. fra should be banned. This site shouldn’t tolerate racism of any kind.

  8. fra daft comment.
    On live chat we were joking about conspiracy but would never happem so to be honest don’t even want to say anything about that, it’s such a ludicrous idea.
    Bit disappointed for Vettel but Hamilton has kers anyway so would have blitzed away.

  9. Agreed mp4, said it all.

  10. Button, I feel is suffering from fear of:-

    Allodoxaphobia- Fear of opinions( people have started to build up own opinions as to whether he’s really a deserving champ or not)
    Amaxophobia- Fear of riding in a car(Obvious)
    Asthenophobia- Fear of fainting or weakness
    Atelophobia- Fear of imperfection
    Catagelophobia- Fear of being ridiculed
    Decidophobia- Fear of making decisions
    Dystychiphobia- Fear of accidents
    Gelotophobia- Fear of being laughed at
    Kakorrhaphiophobia- Fear of failure or defeat
    Noctiphobia- Fear of the night( sadly for him, this is a night race)
    Ochophobia- Fear of vehicles
    Phalacrophobia- Fear bald people(Rubens is almost bald)
    Taurophobia- Fear of bulls( Red Bulls ;) )

    1. Oh, boy… :D I always like your comments. Thanks. :)

    2. Oh that had me in stitches. Funny funny funny.

  11. Same top 3 as in third free practice.

  12. Have removed a particularly crass and racist comment from this post. Such comments will not be tolerated. This has also meant removing a small number of comments in response to it, which quite rightly pointed out that the original comment was not acceptable.

    1. it was a kind of provocation from me.

      So, be more cautions with your provocations!

      I have to say to you that the most interesting in been a Brazilian is that we don’t have in our spirit any kind of dislike for any country or for any people or culture. We have no historic enemies, we have all kind of people living here.

      Fittipaldi, Barrichello and Massa are grandsons of Italians.

      Nelson Piquet have some connections with Frence and Nelsinho´s mother is dutch.

      Senna had some mix of Italian and Spanish blood in his veins.

      Só, It is a shame to bring this kind of comments here without know anything about Brazilian people…

      Thanks for that Keith.

      1. sure i will!

        i recognise it was a sad comment, but as i told you i didn’t mean to be racist in any way.

        enjoy the race tomorrow!

        go kimi :-p

  13. sorry guys, i didn’t mean to be racist in any way. my “brasilian” comment was just a way to connect this last crash to the piquet one.

    i personally believe the barrichello is capable of such an action – although i’m not convinced he really did it. it was a kind of provocation from me.

    also, who would have thought about a conspiration one year ago, after piquet crash? you see where it ended up…

    1. I knew about Piquet’s crash

    2. Dear Fra,
      Don’t ever forget that what happened in singapore’08 was architected by an English man – Mr. Symonds, ordered by an italian – Mr. Briatore, riding a french car – Renault F1.
      It’s like the addicted is the plague, set the dealers free of guilt.

      And now Barrichello is capable of doing the same as i read in your comment.

      Sick mind.

      PS: I don’t trust people behind nicknames. They have something to hide don’t they.


      1. about the nickname: i just don’t wanna spread my first and last name all over the net ;) nothing to hide, my email is genuine and i’m not a bot/troll.

        it’s true, the crashgate was architected by AT LEAST three people. i would add a SPANISH guy as well – the only one who got the benefit of it.

        as i said, the fact that barrichello could have crashed on purpose is just a suggestion (or better said a provocation). it’s not impossible, is it? how can we know, especially after what happened last year… even eddie jordan hinted at it just after the crash.

        also, where was the point for barrichello to check underneath the car just after he jumped out of it… it was just drama, either to not admit it was a human error (as usual he will blame the car or the track), or to lift suspicion off the idea of a deliberate crash.

        my personal opinion! ;-)

        ps, and i love brasil and brasilians (but barrichello and piquet :-D).

  14. I think Lewis will grab the pole position anyway. He has one more flying lap, too and looks pretty comfortable with that revised car which i gotta remind, he’s the one who tells them to revise it. So cheers for McLaren boys and Lewis.

  15. Let’s wait for the weights (ahem), but I think you’re right in that Hamilton might have got a bit lucky here.

    Yes, he would have been at least third, but I think those red bulls are on fumes in order to ensure a different stratergy to Brawn (and hope for a well timed safety car).

    On that point, it’s a shame Singapore doesn’t have monaco style long reaching cranes and has to stop a session everytime someone touches the wall – it kind of spoils things.

  16. It’s interesting that appeared to be another spot where a crane at least wasn’t immediately nearby, but even if that had been the case, anyone who hadn’t yet been past the location of Barrichello’s crash would effectively have lost that lap, as improving on time in that sector wouldn’t have been permitted because of yellow flags.

    1. Weren’t Vettel and Rosberg well ahead of Rubens at that point though?

  17. got a feeling it will be a red bull 1 and 2 and Rosberg going to match them all the way and Rubens gets up to 5th or 6th

  18. I hope Alonso wins, and dedicates his victory to Flavio and Symons. It would be great if he was far ahead, and everytime that he passed the point of the famous 2008 crash, he waved his hand, or zig-zagged pretending to crash, or something funny like that.


    1. Why not throw in some flying unicorns as well, to complete the List Of Things That Will Never Happen ?

  19. I was at the Padang area between turns 9 and 10, and could hear the cars bottoming out, Fisi’s in particular sounded like it was suffering…

    If there’s anyone who could act as a spoiler tomorrow for both Brawns and the Red Bulls, it has to be Hamilton. I had placed Rubens for pole in the predictions yesterday and the collective moan from the crowd when he crashed was quite loud…

    The Brawn boys won’t be getting any sleep tonight or tomorrow morning, that’s for sure…

  20. In the vent of a stopped session like today, shouldn’t there be some way to restart the session so that drivers who are on their fast laps at the time of the red flag can complete their qualifying?

    1. *In the event…*

    2. Would be good if they could have the option of going out on track to finish their laps. It would mean they use more fuel, but in three races’ time that won’t be a problem.

  21. You’ve got to hand it to Fisi. At least the guy is honest about why he isn’t quick. Not blaming anyone but his own lack of experience with the car and that he can’t yet push it to the edge.
    A few people saying they may as well have stuck with Badoer. But Fisi is at least on the pace of the grid and doesn’t look like he’s going to have a big one at every turn.

  22. Am I the onli one that saw something flying from the rear end of Barichello car just before the crash?

    This is the video:

    and here is the exact frame… I think it’s pretty clear:

    Does someone have Charlie Whiting phone number????? :D :D :D

    1. Its a spark from the car

    2. It was part of the floor i think, and the radio confirmed to Rubens that nobody was following him.

      1. I thought i aw something too, but i wasnt certain if it was my eyes or just a spark. After watching the crash id agree its probably something off the floor.

      2. Nice Catch Francesco. @Marcus it was no spark. It was a while colored object flying out of the car !!! Maybe Brawn should have a good look at the rear of the car to avoid another Massa incident.

    3. Looks too bright to be a car part, that and the trajectory says to me it’s a spark.

  23. One for the stats – Is this the youngest top 3 for qualifying ever. Out of the younger generation of drivers these 3 are the ones who have been talked for great things, and Hulkenburg

  24. in the TV feed you can see Barrichello get out of the car and immediately inspect the bottom of the rear end. Either he was worried about the gearbox or maybe he clearly felt something in the back go. Drivers usually just leave the car, he seemed particularly interested in what happened. I don’t think it was driver error that put him in the wall.

  25. Hi Keith, was that the youngest qualifying press conference ever? It was great to see 3 of the new generation up there!

  26. barrichelo was told by he’s engineer that the car had a problem in the rear. I don’t think he did it on purpose, for to main reasons. I dont think he is clever to do it and in this case, why he did go to q3 with very low fuel?

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