- Hamilton – Podium ‘would be amazing’ – win is gone
- Alonso – Mediocre qualifying ‘means nothing’
- Raikkonen – Will race through back injury pain
- Vettel – ‘we expected Mercedes to be close’
Lewis Hamilton has claimed starting from 5th on the grid for today’s Singapore Grand Prix means he has no chance of winning the Grand Prix and closing the gap to Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso in the driver’s championship table. ‘That’s it for the race now.’ said the Briton post-qualifying in a terse television interview with British broadcaster BBC.
‘So it’s not a good day for me.’ he smiled ironically.
Meanwhile Fernando Alonso believes his own qualifying performance, which saw him beaten by outgoing team-mate Felipe Massa and netted him 7th place, does not affect his chances of making the podium or beating Vettel by race end.
“Today’s result isn’t surprising, because from the start of the season, on average we have always started from between sixth and eighth place and then made up ground in the race, which we will try and do again tomorrow.” said the Spaniard.
“Expectations for tomorrow are still high…I think the podium can be within our grasp tomorrow, if we have a perfect race and make the best choices in terms of strategy, tyres and the right number of stops.”
Ferrari’s new recruit Kimi Raikkonen underperformed in qualifying after suffering a recurring back injury on Friday evening that left him in considerable pain. While team-mate Grosjean posted 3rd fastest time, the Finn was ten places further back in 13th. He is planning to race today, with the further aid of pain-killing injections.
Pole-sitter Vettel has expressed surprise that his time was good enough for the prime grid slot after Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg bettered his sector times in S1 and S2 – but failed to beat the young German’s stunning Sector 3 time.
“It was very close and it’s not the best feeling when you stand there and watch!” laughed the World Championship leader.
“I was watching the sector times closely with Romain, Nico and Mark in particular. Mark started with a purple time in sector one, then Nico went purple in sector two and then Romain, but fortunately my last sector was fast enough to just stay ahead. It’s a great feeling as it could have gone wrong, but I’m very happy with the result…today was a bit more what we expected with the Mercedes being so close.”