Nico Rosberg

Singapore, Sep 17 (IANS) Nico Rosberg secured pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix while Daniel Ricciardo was second. Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton could only grab third place in qualifying on Saturday.

Rosberg clinched the top spot when he drove his Mercedes round the picturesque city-centre circuit in a blisteringly fast one minute, 42.584 seconds, reports Efe.

Hamilton, who is only two points ahead of his Mercedes teammate in the overall standings, was a huge 0.704 seconds behind the pace-setter.

“For sure one of my top three laps ever,” said Rosberg, who had rarely led Hamilton by such a large margin in qualifying. “Definitely happy with that one,” the German driver said.

Rosberg said he felt pressured to try and beat the Red Bull team cars with an on-form Ricciardo clocking fast times.

“At times it wasn’t clear where we would stack up against Red Bull so I knew I had to pull one out of the bag,” Rosberg said.

Ricciardo’s time, just 0.531 seconds behind Rosberg, placed him on the front grid and provided him with a good chance of vying for the win.

Max Verstappen, Ricciardo’s Red Bull team-mate, came in fourth, 0.213 seconds behind the Australian, and just ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

Sebastian Vettel, the other Ferrari driver, will start the race from the back of the grid after suffering a technical problem that could not be fixed in time for qualifying.

Romain Grosjean of Haas appeared to lock up his back wheels while in the second qualifying round and crashed heavily into the barriers, but was unhurt.

Hamilton leads the championship on 250 points after 14 races, while Rosberg is on 248, with Ricciardo third on 161.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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