Hamilton storms to stunning pole in Singapore

Formula One World Championship

Max Verstappen has declared himself pleased with his second-place finish in the Singapore Grand Prix despite Red Bull's engine concerns, and added that he felt it "wouldn't have been fair" to pass eventual victor Lewis Hamilton when he was held up by back markers. Hamilton's seventh pole of the season represented a very special effort around the floodlit city streets of Singapore that left him shaking his head in disbelief afterwards.

Only six races remain, Ferrari have a mountain to climb and Vettel's self-flagellation and dissatisfaction with their strategy this weekend suggests they are reeling and have no answers to Hamilton's performances.

Verstappen feels that should he get the jump on Hamilton at the start, he will be in with a really good chance of taking the win as overtaking is hard in between the Armco barriers, however from the front row he feels he has at least put him in with a chance.

Working in the Ferrari driver's favor was that Bottas in fourth place was struggling badly to wade through lapped traffic, providing him a buffer with which to manage his pace. The second lap I tried to obviously go that little bit more. "Lewis got the job done but we gave him a vehicle he could do that with". But a personal feeling, taking lap times out, we were more comfortable on the hotter track, which is a bit weird.

The move put Vettel in the position he wanted from which to attack Hamilton after a disappointing qualifying session for Ferrari, but the team blew it.

Pole in 2017 was set by Sebastian Vettel - he took third place this time around - with a 1:39.491 but such is the improvement between years that this time would have seen him qualify P15 in 2018.

Clearing Verstappen's Red Bull, who starts second, is vital.

"There is no real secret to it, it is just staying focussed on your goal and on your dream", Hamilton said one hour before the race.

"I think we know where we stand".

"No we are looking good compared to those around us", assured his race engineer Peter Bonnington.

"It was clear we were not fast enough in the race, we need to understand why". We are again too late.

Hamilton has also gone over a number of other scenarios, including the possibility of a Virtual Safety Car.

All the top teams will want to just do one stop and so anything that could make Mercedes have to operate outside their comfort window could be a benefit to Vettel.

"You call it mistakes, but if you look in Formula One, everybody is making mistakes", the Ferrari boss said.

"The race is a different story and things will not be the same tomorrow but we are, for sure, not happy with how it went today", a despondent Vettel said.

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