Rosberg takes pole as Ricciardo splits the Mercedes

2016 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying

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Nico Rosberg took his first pole position in Singapore as Mercedes withstood the pressure from Red Bull.

However Lewis Hamilton fell victim to a rapid final lap from Daniel Ricciardo which put one of the RB12s on the front row of the grid. Both Red Bulls will also start the race on the harder super-soft tyres.

However Ferrari hopes were dashed as a technical problem put Sebastian Vettel out in Q1.


A broken anti-roll bar put Vettel out
The first phase of qualifying produced good and bad surprises for Ferrari. The first was positive: Kimi Raikkonen beat both Mercedes drivers with his run, and also pipped Max Verstappen to briefly lead the times. However he was then bumped down to second following a superb lap by Daniel Ricciardo.

However Vettel did not join his team mate in proceeding to Q2. Soon after beginning his run he reported a problem with an anti-roll bar. The inside wheel was visibly rising mid-corner, and Vettel was only able to lap within a second of the next-slowest driver. With too little time left in the session to repair it, last year’s pole sitter was doomed to start last.

His plight presented an opportunity for one of the Sauber drivers to reach Q2 and Marcus Ericsson took advantage of it. Team mate Felipe Nasr was left behind in Q1 along with the Renault and Manor pair.

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Drivers eliminated in Q1

17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1’46.825
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1’46.860
19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’46.960
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor-Mercedes 1’47.667
21 Esteban Ocon Manor-Mercedes 1’48.296
22 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’49.116


After leading Q1 decisively, Red Bull opted to use the super-soft tyres in Q2 and start the race on the harder rubber. Ricciardo and Verstappen duly took their places in the final ten.

The Mercedes pair, however, revealed real pace. The W07s were over two seconds quicker than they had been in Q1, putting both cars comfortably ahead. Raikkonen in the sole remaining Ferrari was over a second slower and the Red Bulls were nearly as far behind on their harder tyres.

Two drivers slipped up on their final runs and didn’t make it back to the pits. Romain Grosjean’s Haas snapped sideways at turn ten and pitched him heavily into the barriers. Moments later a slight brush with a wall left Jenson Button with a puncture which ended his lap.

Button’s team mate made it through behind the two Toro Rossos and ahead of the Force India pair. Sergio Perez passed a car after a yellow flag during his final effort and Nico Hulkenberg made it in by just three-thousandths of a second ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Both Williams drivers dropped out as Felipe Massa had to back off due to yellow flags.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’44.740
12 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’44.991
13 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1’45.144
14 Esteban Gutierrez Haas-Ferrari 1’45.593
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’45.723
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’47.827


After a delayed start while the barrier Grosjean hit in Q2 was repaired, Q3 began with Red Bull and Raikkonen’s Ferrari seemingly poised to take on the Mercedes. But a superb first lap from Rosberg appeared to rule that out.

While both Red Bulls struggled on their first laps Rosberg kept it clean and went over a second quicker. Hamilton couldn’t match his team mate with his first lap either, having to settle for second to begin with.

Red Bull regrouped and sent both drivers out for another run. Verstappen, concerned about his tyre preparation, went past Rosberg on his out-lap in search of better track position. It didn’t help his cause, but up ahead Ricciardo had rediscovered some of his lost pace. A brilliant final sector moved him up to second at Hamilton’s expense.

The world championship leader had a poor final lap, running wide at turn one and taking too much kerb at turn seven. He slipped back to third on the grid.

Raikkonen put his Ferrari in fifth and the two Toro Rossos will line up behind him in tomorrow’s race.

Top ten in Q3

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’42.584
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’43.115
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’43.288
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’43.328
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’43.540
6 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’44.197
7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’44.469
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’44.479
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’44.553
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’44.582

2016 Singapore Grand Prix

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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 “Rosberg takes pole as Ricciardo splits the Mercedes”

  1. You got the McLaren drivers mixed up

  2. If you are Lewis… You might want to get rid of the ultra soft tyre because he looked completely out of shape in those tyres. I don’t know why, but in the other tyres, he was fine right? I only noticed that whenever this weekend, he runs the US, he just couldn’t get a lap in. At least he gets a benefit of starting on the clean side. However, W07 clutch… Inconsistent. We will see tomorrow. I seriously want 1-2 for mercedes after the first lap but they never had 1-2 in the first lap whenever they started 1-2 (except for Hungary but Nico nearly lost 2nd place to RIC)

    1. The problem is Ricciardo is starting on the harder compound tomorrow and as you said, Merc’s clutch issues. I think on that front it’s more Hamilton than Rosberg who is at risk.

      1. harder tyre means less grip for the start though…

        1. And on the dirty side of the grid… For both red bulls…

    2. Don’t forget this weekend is Nico’s turn for the bad start.

  3. Ric for da win

    1. Verstappen for the win….;)

    2. Ric will launch his attack on Rosberg from Changi and dive under him for the win

  4. Hamilton out of it today. Rosberg… Scintillating lap. Absolutely rapid. Ham needs to get a good start tomorrow otherwise we will have a new championship leader. If Hamilton didn’t get the memo from Nico already- clearly Rosberg wants this championship badly. Many discounted Rosberg after losing the 43 point lead but I think he has upped his game this season, albeit with helping hands from Lewis here and there. This coming from a Lewis fan. Great lap by RIC, half a second off the leading Merc and second is commendable. With Red Bull starting on the Supersoft and Rosberg on the Ultra, could this just be Red Bull’s race to lose?

    1. Not only Lewis helped Nico…
      #44 car also did.

      1. In post quali interview, Hamilton said there was no problem with his car.
        Also confirming that the issue he had under braking during previous FP3 was solved before the quali started.

  5. Slightly underwhelming qualifying. We lost Vettel and Ferrari wasn’t really that strong, RedBull didn’t have the greatest of laps in q3, a lot like Hamilton. I hope for the sake of the race that we don’t get a shunt, there’s some promise.

    1. on the contrary, I think Red Bull did great laps, especially Ricciardo. and Rosberg did a sensational lap, when was the last time Hamilton was beaten by that much in qualifying?? lucky for him, best car still means p3.

      1. Guybrush Threepwood
        17th September 2016, 22:24

        This is precisely correct. In any other era Hamilton qualifying 7 tenths behind his team mate would put him way down the grid and his championship chances at risk. However lucky for Hamilton he is driving a different class of car to the rest.

  6. Would have expected another, more telling, title. Like the one after the Italian GP qualifying, when it was Hamilton on top by some margin (‘Dominant Hamilton takes pole’). 7 tenths of a second over his team-mate, talk about trashing your teammate..

    1. Bet you and the anti Hamilton brigade enjoyed that one :)

      1. It’s not hard to rejoice about that, seeing as Hamilton’s achievement’s are generally exaggerated and Rosberg’s downplayed over here. If one were only to inform themselves on this site, they’d be wondering how there can even be a fight for the championship, when Hamilton is so supreme and Rosberg so mediocre at best.

        Also, the constant complaint of “if Mercedes weren’t so dominant, there’d be lots of cars in front of Rosberg now” whenever there’s more than a couple of tenths between them. Well, there you go. That’s one serving of karma for table 44.

        1. what I have noticed is both these drivers go through waves… ie Rosberg winning 7 in a row from last year into this year (more then Hamilton has ever won in a row), then Hamilton getting a dominant period of wins (like coming into the summer break), now it looks like Rosbergs turn again… since summer break 2 wins in row, and maybe 3 in a row by tomorrow.

          1. But surely that is the way sport goes? I know F1 is a mechanical sport but still these F1 drivers are athletes after all. Sometimes you’re on form, sometimes your not.

        2. Sorry but I call bull. Sure there are some Lewis fans who are hardcore fanatics, such as people who say “Lewis beat himself in 2011 not Button”. But I remember over the years, when Vettel was winning 4 in a row there was the same thing, Vettel’s achievements exaggeratingly overrated. I for one have never called Rosberg mediocre. But on the contrary there are those who do call ROsberg mediocre and thus “Hamilton beating Rosberg isn’t a big deal”. It works both ways. For the past 3 seasons that Rosberg and Hamilton have been team mates I would say he’s been there or thereabouts. This season is even closer because Hamilton has been struggling with starts and Rosberg has mastered them better.

          1. “Lewis beat himself in 2011 not Button”
            I do not consider myself a fan of Lewis’s, but I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. His driving was unbelievably erratic back then.

            ‘I for one have never called Rosberg mediocre.’
            In fact I wasn’t getting at the fanatics, especially not those who, like you, have substantiated opinions based on more than just personal preferences. It was Keith whom I indirectly criticised. While I think that 99% of what he writes is valuable and insightful, treating Hamilton and/or Rosberg fairly seems to be a blind spot of his. An irritating one, as the result is often a heavily distorted version of reality in which Rosberg tends to be rated as a mediocre or even subpar driver (cf. the driver ratings), while Hamilton is outstanding.
            As you said, it’s rather hard to argue for both at the same time. Hamilton might be an outstanding driver, but then Rosberg can’t be too bad, either. Or maybe Rosberg is just an average driver, but then how can one argue for Hamilton’s excellence when their performances tend to be rather closely matched over the course of a season?
            I personally think that Hamilton is a truly excellent driver, one of the 3 or 4 best there are, and that Rosberg isn’t far behind him, the main difference consisting in Lewis’s resilience after setbacks, while Nico tends to drown in problems once things start going wrong.
            I’d be chuffed to see something more a balanced assessment of their relative performances, that’s all.

    2. @gdewilde
      7 tenths difference around Singapore is fantastic but, 5 tenths difference around Monza far more impressive given how short Monza is.

      Singapore is one of the longer tracks and thus there is more time to be had and indeed lost. It was amazing that Ham managed to find half a second advantage around a minimal brake, high-speed track like Monza.

      1. ‘7 tenths difference around Singapore is fantastic but, 5 tenths difference around Monza far more impressive given how short Monza is.’

        By any objective measure, it is not. Hamilton’s advantage of 0.478 seconds over Rosberg in Monza translates to 0.59% of his lap time, and Rosberg’s 0.704 seconds in Singapore amount to 0.69% of his lap time.

        It is also not true that Monza can be characterised as a ‘minimal brake’ track, as it comprises some of F1’s hardest braking zones. Singapore, by contrast, mainly consists of 90° corners that are mostly approached at moderate speeds with maximum downforce.

        While it is true that large gaps between team mates are rather unusual in Monza, while they intuitively seem more likely in Singapore, the gap between Rosberg and Hamilton was exceedingly large today. The fact that Hamilton’s feat in Monza is explicitly mentioned, while Rosberg’s isn’t, is more easily explainable by personal preference than by facts.

      2. I don’t agree with you at all , Monza is said to be one of the easiest track for a driver… so set is likely to be more the reason for the advantage in Monza for Hamilton – and he didn’t hold the advantage in the race. Singapore is more a drivers track – and Hamilton over the years has not been a star at drivers tracks like Monaco and Spa (and Singapore).

        1. Even when he won in the rain in 2008 for Monaco or 2010 for Spa?
          I get your point, but I think Hamilton bas been better at those tracks than what you say.

      3. What you are saying is completely without sense. Is by far more difficult have 7 tenths in Singapur thain in Monza, is far more hard to get a perfect lap.

  7. The thing is, most people (including me) didn’t expect Rosberg to bounce back after the summer break, but he does and getting stronger since the past 2 years fighting with Hamilton, This year he have gone through tough times and he able to bounce back, something that we couldn’t found in the 2014 season, where last year he was a bit late to reach purple form. Well, I think he have found his one lap pace again, but we don’t know what Hamilton got in his pocket and how tommorrow race.
    With 7 races to spare and only 2 points between them, Hamilton and Rosberg reaching the top of their form, we might see one of the closest duel for the championship in the history of Formula One, bring it on!

  8. dayyuumm, restecpa Rosenburg, he killed it today.

  9. Ricciardo was poor in Q3, half a second is a big margin to the Mercdes and he should have been much closer. He always gets overhyped for average performances

    1. Rosberg wiped the floor with competition today and it was absolutely nothing special about Ric’s performance.

    2. But this one ain’t over hyped. We all know he’s second on the grid because HAM was out of pace.

    3. @Kavin Kanna – you are being sarcastic aren’t you?? Ricciardo did incredible, he beat a Mercedes… it was just that Rosberg did the best today. why do you think Ricciardo should have been much closer? have you not watched the last 2.5 seasons of F1???

      1. Here in Singapore, the Red Bull has been on the pace of the Mercedes all weekend. It was pretty much a reply to the comments on the ‘2016 Singapore grid’ article which praised Ricciardo for an exceptional performance. I believe he did underperform. So I’m not being sarcastic, and if you watched this weekend you would know that the RBR and the Mercedes were pretty much even

    4. Because his team mate did so much better?? Can you please share the data that suggests that red bull are less than 1/2 second off the Mercs on raw pace…… They might be closer, they might not….

    5. He split the all conquering Mercs…..thats deserves praise right there.

    6. Guybrush Threepwood
      17th September 2016, 22:32

      Hahaha. Good one. Ricciardo improved in each q session and got the most out of the car. He can’t help Mercs pace with their superior engine. You could see from the on-board comparison that Merc gained all the time on the straight. Not much you can do about that.

  10. I thought the 2 Mercs shared setup data with each other. Or is ROS just better with the ultrasoft tyres ?

    1. @subhashs
      They do. But setup is somewhat less important on this track, whereas ‘getting into the groove’ is a major factor, much like in Monaco. Hamilton’s gap wasn’t the result of a misbehaving car, he just made a few driving errors

    2. They do share, and others might do as well, but that doesn’t mean they go down the same set up. They have different styles and different preferences as to how the car behaves.

  11. Now I feel if Rosberg won the title he totally deserves it. Because that lap was something spectacular. He did 2 laps within tenth of each other and Hamilton could not get withing 0.7s of him. Whatever issues setup or whatever, he has done a fine job.

  12. Cred to Rosberg. He crushed the others today.

    1. no he did not crush them.

      1. As far as arguments go, I’ve seen better.

      2. Yeah he did

      3. Well, according to many, ROS was “dominated” or “crushed” at Monza for a 0.5 sec deficit. If we think along the same lines..

  13. Wow, incredible Rosberg! Kinda wiped the floor with Hamilton this GP so far. I really hope he gets the title, he deserves 1 title given his palmares. Would be pretty weird to have a driver with that kind of stats without any titles, not to mention that there’re some 1-title champs that are somehow worse overall in my opinion. In some years time, when they all have retired, would be kinda weird to say Button, even Raikkonen = 1 title, Rosberg = 0 titles.

    Looks like Ferrari is losing the 2nd place position battle this year. Of course, they had more tech problems and were involved in more incidents, that costed them points, than RBR this year, but if everything go “normal” for both teams tomorrow, RBR should increase their advantage significantly in both champs. And I hardly believe Ferrari will recover the deficit.

    1. Ferrari deserves to be dragged out back and shot

      1. Think many c-suite members back in Maranello and their fanbase thinks the same! ;o)
        Expectations are sky high, so is their budget. R&D wise, all the best resources are at their disposal.
        But their results on race day are simply just not top notch.
        Their drivers among the best you can get for money, but the car/package they are given is simply just not up to it…

    2. Why not?
      If we can say Jacques Villeneuve/Damon Hill = 1 title, anybody else = 0 titles, everything is possible.

    3. What makes one driver more worthy than another, just their stats?

    4. I agree Rosberg deserves to be champion, but the Kimi comparison…
      Kimi should be a three time world champion, people forget.

  14. Nothing decided yet. Hamilton showed it in Monza on how all can be lost in a matter of seconds. Rosberg would do well to get a win here and also hope one of the RBs split him and Hamiton. He will need the buffer. Has to ensure that the tables are not turned on him.

    Didn’t see the lap, but the gap is just unbelievable. Pity what happened to Vettel but Ferrari can use this to their advantage to hone their strategy making skills and also to get a new PU in for Vettel.

    Start from the pits on softs, do a very long stint and then bolt on the US to take over as many positions as possible. Important not to overdrive to compensate for today’s mishap.

  15. STR in 6/7 places. Ferrari should think of absorbing STR and just renaming them. They do a better job at building a fast car than the red team themselves. Shame!

  16. Biggest joke is on Lewis Hamilton. Goin no where fast. Even if he manages to win it this year, this is a horrible year for him, he cannot muster a good run with out being handicapped by reliability/start issues that refuse to go around. But what ever, its great for business, but being a clown as Lewis is, maybe not so good for him. Casey Stoner left MotoGP because of those strings, Lewis better find something.

    1. What on earth are you on about? Hamilton should retire because of bad starts? Inconsistent year yes, but horrible year? far from it. Nothing like 2011 standards. Why is Hamilton a clown?

      1. I never even implied he should retire. He should go to Ferrari if he can tho, or find another racing class. I don’t even think Mark Webber had to deal with this frequency of reliability/start issues, but he had the same shtick, no doubt.

        1. Hamilton sits currently solid in the absolute best car on the grid!
          There is absolutely no reason why he should search or long for going anywhere else.
          If he wants more WDCs to his resume, he is already the best place to realize that.
          He simply just have to beat his teammate to the flag on race day.

    2. I can’t even

    3. Wow! What an awesome life you have @xsavior, smoke weed on a Saturday watching qualifying and then coming to this site!

    4. Lol take the blinders off

    5. @xsavior Insert rolling eyes emoticon here.

  17. I’m especially interested in the race result this weekend. If Rosberg beats Hamilton fair and square and takes the chequered flag, I might start believing in ROS’ apparent tendency to grow stronger as a championship progresses versus his teammate. The championship will be a genuine fight–and one could make a strong historical case for Rosberg favouritism–rather than it being ‘Hamilton’s for the taking’ as seemed the general consensus earlier in the season.

  18. I haven’t looked forward to a race more than this one since Melbourne. I think Ricciardo will be a handful tomorrow and will be dogging his car to get that win and Ros and Ham will maybe be going wheel to wheel. Races are much more interesting when Lewis starts behind Nico. Oh ya, don’t forget Kimi or Max making a few moves at lights out as well…till then ..cheers!

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