Hamilton sets the pace again in Singapore

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Updated: September 22, 2012

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton continued his surge in the second half of the season by nailing down pole position for the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix with a stirring drive around the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Saturday.

The Briton has won two of the last three races to close within 37 points of championship leader Fernando Alonso with seven rounds remaining, and will be confident of converting McLaren’s fourth consecutive pole into a fourth successive team victory.

Hamilton won this race in 2009 and became the first man to secure pole here twice with a lap of 1 minute 46.362 seconds, almost half a second ahead of Williams’ Pastor Maldonado, who drove brilliantly to claim a front row spot.

World champion Sebastian Vettel had dominated the three practice sessions prior to qualifying but his Red Bull could only finish third in 1:46.905, narrowly ahead of Hamilton’s McLaren team mate Jenson Button.

Alonso clocked the fifth fastest time but the Spaniard has made a habit of picking up big points in his Ferrari despite qualifying down the grid and will be looking for a similar performance on Sunday at a circuit where he has won twice.

The top 10 was rounded out by Force India’s Paul di Resta, Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Romain Grosjean in a Lotus, and the Mercedes duo of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, who both opted against setting timed laps in the final qualifying run.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:46.362
2. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams – Renault 1:46.804
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull – Renault 1:46.905
4. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:46.939
5. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:47.216
6. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India – Mercedes 1:47.241
7. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull – Renault 1:47.475
8. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus – Renault 1:47.788
9. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes
10. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes
11. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes 1:47.975
12. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus – Renault 1:48.261
13. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1:48.344
14. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber – Ferrari 1:48.505
15. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso – Ferrari 1:48.774
16. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso – Ferrari 1:48.849
17. Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams – Renault
18. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber – Ferrari 1:49.933
19. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham – Renault 1:50.846
20. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham – Renault 1:51.137
21. Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia – Cosworth 1:51.370
22. Charles Pic (France) Marussia – Cosworth 1:51.762
23. Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT – Cosworth 1:52.372
24. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT – Cosworth 1:53.355