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Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Saturday, 26 September 2009 16:38 UK

Singapore GP qualifying as it happened



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By Chris Whyatt

1632: Please do check over the full qualifying results in full right here. Button starts down in 12th, while Barrichello starts 10th. A bad day for the title rivals. But another good day for us what with all the excitement and drama. That's all from me now folks. Join Sam Lyon here tomorrow from 1130 BST for the big race. Ciao.

Get involved on 606
GloucesterGas on 606: "Hamilton is without a doubt the best driver in the sport at the moment. Alonso is quality but inconsistent, Rosberg has a lot of potential, Button is smooth and charismatic- but Hamilton has everything. Like Rossi and Loeb, he is talented, daring and able to keep his cool. Fantastic."

Text in your views on 81111
Anonymous on 81111: "Button looks like he's throwing this championship away. He's got no speed at the moment. Either Rubens or Vettel will claim this title."

Williams driver Nico Rosberg in the top-three drivers' news conference: "It's really enjoyable at the moment and I'm really pleased for the team that we have made another step forward. Perhaps we can even fight for a win very soon."

Sebastian Vettel in the top-three drivers' news conference: "I like this circuit. It's bumpy but you have to use every bit of it."

Lewis Hamilton in the top-three drivers' news conference: "The car over the weekend has just got better and better as the evolution of the track has got grippier. My team did a fantastic job working on the car until 10am this morning. We'll see what happens with the strategies but obviously I'm in the position starting from the front."

1612: Not altogether convincingly, Mark Webber tells BBC1 that he and Sebastian Vettel are "still in the hunt" for the championship. Perhaps it's just the heat. Sweating profusely in serious humidity, all the drivers look totally drained. Lewis Hamilton drove fantastically there. Big rebuild job for Brawn's overworked mechanics on Barrichello's car before the race tomorrow.

Ross Brawn on BBC1: "It's a disastrous session for us. We underestimated the competition in Q2 because we used one old set, then one new set, and didn't get the car balanced well on the new set. We were perilously close to losing both cars in Q2. Q3 wasn't bad looking at the fuel weights, but that topped it off for us. With Jenson dropping out of Q3, Rubens had the maximum chance to get some points on Jenson. We'll have to see what we can recover tomorrow."

BBC Radio 5 Live
F1 pundit Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live: "Sebastian Vettel might have been the one to grab pole the way he was going in that last lap. That was a hefty impact for Barrichello - tried to get back on the throttle and then, crunch, he ripped off the front left. Not the best of days for Brawn."

1600: No it can't. Barrichello crashes so it's game over for Q3 and LEWIS HAMILTON WILL START THE SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX FROM POLE POSITION. Vettel will be next to him, with Rosberg and then Webber in the second row. Clear driver error from Rubens there and after finishing fifth, he will start the race in 10th after that five-place grid penalty for a changed gearbox. Intriguing as ever.

1558: Two minutes left on the clock and HAMILTON has the fastest lap ahead of Vettel, Rosberg and Webber... still could change though.

Text in your views on 81111
Nicholas D'Arcy in Singapore on 81111: "I love the way the drivers always leave their fastest Q3 flying laps right until time is nearly up! Almost like the pressure brings out the best in them. Amazing atmosphere across the city."

A forlorn Jenson Button on BBC Radio 5 Live: "In Q1 the car felt good, although we had a bit of understeer. In the second session we tried to help that, we lowered the front tyre pressures a bit, but I hit the floor, locked the brakes and it cost me a lot of time. It's disappointing. That's all there is to say, really."

1550: Right, this is it. Ten drivers - 10 minutes. Q3 is under way...

1547: "Too tentative" is the collective consensus from BBC1 from Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard on Button's driving there. The question marks remain over his ability to deal with the pressure of leading the championship. Do you think he's bottling it, as they say in sporting circles?

1543: CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER JENSON BUTTON IS OUT! Nakajima, Raikkonen, Buemi and Trulli the other casualties but it is the Brawn man creating headlines. Meanwhile, Barrichello left it late but came through in sixth. Though his car has some floor damage, meaning the diffuser has been affected after going over the kerbs.

1541: Button in the drop zone at the moment... Jenson's in real trouble! Needs a late flyer. Rosberg's time still the fastest. The clock's ticking.

Adrian Sutil tells BBC 5 Live pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "We thought it would be a better qualifying but all weekend it hasn't been easy for us to find a balance, and we've been struggling with grip level. The car has too little downforce and we're much better on a quicker circuit. We're back in the back but let's see what we do."

1533: Stunning lap from Nico Rosberg - a very quick 1:46.197 - as he throws his Williams around the last sector. Saw at least one 606er tip the Leonardo DiCaprio lookalike for the race win this weekend. Care to change your views on the eventual victor?

1530: The champ leader reports an "inside wheel spin problem" during acceleration in his vaguely Somerset brogue, but it's a much calmer individual than at the end of practice three. Red Bull's Mark Webber posts the quickest lap... but hang on...

1528: Q2 is go, go, go. Another frenetic 15-minute knockout. More than 100,000 fans turned up for the Singapore race last year. Ticket sales down little this time around but the stands are still looking very healthy for qualifying. Here's Button squeezing his car round the streets...

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC 5 Live F1 commentator David Croft: "If Force India are disappointed, their former driver should be as well. Raikkonen third fastest, Fisichella 18th fastest. What's going on?"

1522: Sutil, Alguersuari, Fisichella, Grosjean and Liuzzi fall at the first hurdle. Ferrari will not be happy about that, likewise Force India though their car is not suited to high downforce tracks. Barrichello produced a tasty-looking late lap there to finish sixth. Hamilton looking in super shape.

1519: Not long left now for Q1. Who are the casualties going to be? Force India seem to have fallen away after a recent show of form...

1517: Actually, just make that Fisichella. Raikkonen goes second but it may be more a case of tough hustling from the Finn rather than raw pace.

1515: Struggling Grosjean nearly takes all four wheels off the track around Turn Two. Interesting permutation for tomorrow's race to bring to your attention: if Brawn score 14 more points than Red Bull they will be crowned 2009 constructors' champions in their debut season. Ferrari not looking good here...

1510: Vettel goes quickest then Hamilton steals it back. Button looks to be getting his act together, looking more comfortable than the stroppy teenager who ended third practice.

1508: "There is no brake efficiency," screams Grosjean down his Renault radio. "Keep pumping them. There are no problems on the data," they bark back. Rosberg posts the fastest lap with 1:47.636. But Hamilton again looks to be flying...

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "The Singapore paddock is hot, sticky and rather chaotic. Lots of celebrities and famous faces including F1 champs Niki Lauda and Damon Hill."

1503: Renault's Grosjean in trouble already... not on Turn 17... but he recovers quick enough after going down an escape. BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz reports that the young Frenchman is telling his team the brakes aren't responding correctly. We'll keep you posted.

1500: Singapore is certainly a stunning sight as the TV cameras pan upwards to a full moon and then down upon its floodlit architecture. The Marina Bay circuit is alive with colour and noise... and qualifying session one is under way.

1452: The BBC1 team ruminate over the possibility of New York's Manhattan one day hosting a grand prix as they discuss the pros and cons of F1 racing in cities around the globe. David Coulthard is adamant they are a good thing for the sport: "Street circuits are the ultimate challenge for the driver as there is no room for error."

Get involved on 606
HP888 on 606: "Jenson messed up his setup and now Rubens need's a new gearbox. My money is on Vettel, as long as he keeps it out of the walls."

Ross Brawn, prior to the gearbox news, on BBC1: "Jenson was little bit behind Rubens at the beginning of the session and they had different settings. They dropped on to Rubens's set-up and that made it even worse. It doesn't suit Jenson so we'll go back to where he was and make some minor adjustments. It's not helpful and he was pretty happy with the car on Friday and on his first run today so we'll refine his original set-up rather than jump to Rubens's set-up."

1442: BREAKING NEWS... BRAWN HAVE CHANGED RUBENS BARRICHELLO'S GEARBOX - HE WILL SUFFER A FIVE-PLACE GRID PENALTY. So, wherever the in-form Brazilian qualifies he will drop down the grid five places. Big blow. Will champ leader Jenson afford himself a slight smile at that turn of events?

1435: Laughing somewhat, BBC F1 presenter Jake Humphrey says he "feels like he's been eaten" after F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone keeps him and pundit Eddie Jordan on their toes. Good interview that. Here are some choice quotes: "It would be nice to know exactly what crime Renault committed. There were three people involved, it was a conspiracy, and if you look in the dictionary you'll soon see what a conspiracy is - it was three people involved, not Renault... No [I don't think there will be 14 teams on the grid]. I think one or two might not turn up. That's what I'm being told, possibly USF1 are a doubt... Donington have had a bit more time, three times now. They can't have much more. If it's going to be Silverstone - and there's no guarantee it will be, if it's not Donington - they want to get on, get the race prepared, and sell tickets."

1431: Rubens Barrichello could feasibly cut his team-mate Button's lead to four points should he win tomorrow and the Englishman finished outside the top eight. But Brawn are absolutely adamant that no team orders will be issued to give one a greater chance than the other. Button himself told BBC Sport: "There will be no team orders and that's the way it should be. Whatever happens this weekend, Rubens has very possibility to challenge me for the championship so why should there be any team orders. I wouldn't expect them to be and I'm sure there won't be."

1424: What does Singapore have in common with Monaco and Vatican City? It is one of three surviving sovereign city-states in the world. Hot and sweaty there at the moment as qualifying closer...

1419: Damon Hill - who won the F1 world drivers' championship in 1996 - gives BBC Sport an insight into what championship leader is going through. "You're going to have moments aren't you. Nobody has a perfect year and you're going to have a lull. He's got to go forwards rather than think about what he's got to lose. The guy who's chasing in second [Rubens Barrichello this year] has nothing to lose. When you are in front you establish that burden. I'd love to see Jenson get a win this weekend."

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purpleDogzzz on 606: "I don't know what Button's mechanic's are playing at, but he will be lucky to get into Q2 looking at today's practice. Hamilton looking good for the front rows, if not pole. The Ferraris are nowhere again."

BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "I've been finding more out about the new Lotus F1 team this weekend. I've spoken to new Lotus boss Tony Fernandes, who is not only a shrewd businessman but a huge motorsport fan and a thoroughly decent chap. His love for cars started when his father took him to little tracks in Malaysia to watch F3. He says he never imagined owning an F1 team. I also caught up with Mike Gascoyne, the team's new technical chief, and he says the roll out date for the new car is February, even though they are still recruiting staff and moving into the factory."

1408: "It was a very grave error," says F1 pundit Eddie Jordan on BBC1 talking about you know what. We always make sure to stress that practice times are not really reflective of how the qualifying and the race will pan out. But, they are often indicative of who is running well and who isn't. Why not pore over the results of three sessions encompassing four hours of practice right here.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "A buzz in the paddock as Beyonce meets Bernie and Lewis and Nicole! Showbiz..."

1400: Qualifying kicks off in exactly one hour so welcome back all, wherever you are all in the world. Speaking of which, are you bright-eyed and wide awake or yawning and two thirds asleep? Our F1 Mole has been digging deeper into the struggles the predominantly European-based F1 circus is having in getting to grips with the big shift in time-zone. People have even been mistakenly walking into hotel linen cupboards instead of going through doors.

1315: Late drama then as Button reveals his toils in a car which the mechanics were still making tweaks to with just seven minutes of the session left. Can they sprinkle some magic dust over it before qualifying in less than two hours? And can the championship leader regain his composure? Break now. Join me at 1400 BST to find out.

Get involved on 606
HambergF1 on 606: "'What have you done to the car?' I don't hear any other driver respond like this - why is Button not feeding back specifics like other drivers do - surely that's part of his job and to know what the changes have been. Or how about 'set up not working, guys, severe lack of grip, need to go back to x or try x' in a calm calculated manner. He can't seem to cope when set up is less than perfect. He really needs to get a grip if he wants to win this thing."

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nacnud69 on 606: "Vettel to get P1 today and win the race too. Rubens gearbox to go pop and Jenson to pootle home in second place, job done."

1304: That really could be significant as it seems usually super-cool Button has steam coming out of his ears. He's trying to calm down now in the paddock as scientific breakdown begins in the garage. Fisichella is struggling to get used to his Ferrari, the Italian slowest overall and the only man in the 1:50s. BMW Sauber ran well there, with Kubica and Heidfeld fifth and sixth respectively.

1300: Session over and that must boost Hamilton's confidence as he goes quickest with 1:47.632, nearly three tenths quicker than second-placed Seb Vettel. Quite a spectacle all that under the glare of the lights. BIG NEWS: Jenson Button, who finishes down in 14th, asks his Brawn team radio: "What have we done to this car? I'm massively struggling for grip."

1256: Lewis Hamilton goes into the escape at Turn Eight, rear brakes locking up as he attempted to push on with a fastest first sector time. Brawn - whose cars are coming into their own through the last sector - apparently, and brilliantly, use leaf blowers to cool their brakes. Well, it is autumn. Not long now until the end of the session...

BBC Sport pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Jarno Trulli is looking quite good despite the fact he's only done eight laps - he lost most of the first half of the session with an exhaust problem. Now Toyota are changing the ride height on Timo Glock's car but it looks like it could be a good weekend for the team."

1252: Vettel clocks 1:47.938 to take the fastest lap, the young German clearly at ease with this circuit in a car which is appearing to respond to his driving style.

1249: Reigning world champion Hamilton, for whom it is now mathematically impossible to retain his crown after results in Italy, shaves more time off his leading lap. Rosberg second fastest, Kovalainen third... Brawn pair of Barrichello and Button sit fifth and 13th respectively. Grosjean slowest.

1244: Many people are tipping Jenson Button for the win this weekend - the Monaco Grand prix winner is a dab hand around street circuits and the Brawn championship leader appears to be back on form after coming second at the last race in Italy. But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner insists his charges Vettel and Webber can challenge for the top spot on Sunday. He told BBC Sport: "Mark Webber's accident wasn't as big as it looked and both the guys were pretty happy with their car balances, but we've tickled it a bit to try to find a bit more performance over the bumps. Both of them seemed pretty positive in the debrief last night and we think we're looking in reasonable shape, we're smack on Jenson's pace. It's important to have grid position on any street track - it's difficult here, it's not particularly forgiving and it's going to be a gruelling race tomorrow."

1239: Just an hour this final practice session, so 21 minutes remaining. Kovalainen trails McLaren team-mate Hamilton, Glock third. Adrian Sutil's Force India tickles a Singaporean wall.

Get involved on 606
akaSimple_Si on 606: "I wonder how the bumps Hamilton and others are complaining about compared to the bumps you can see Berger and the like wrestling with in the Mexico '90 footage ? Now that was REAL racing!"

BBC Sport pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Williams dropped a bombshell before this weekend, saying they were looking into using the Kers system next season, even though the Fota teams had made a deal not to run them. I talked to Mario Thiessen, the BMW boss, and he said they'd only had one meeting with Williams yet - he's sure they will sort it out and will be able to stick to the no-Kers pledge next year."

1229: Lewis Hamilton, who had a wiring problem fixed last night on his car and a new chassis built around it, posts the quickest lap. Millimetres of sweaty south-east Asian air separate the side of his McLaren from some of the walls as he explores its limits. Flying.

1224: Raikkonen stops short of just crashing into a wall at Turn 18, right underneath the grandstand. Looks like he might have been carrying too much speed to take the corner properly. "Never a good thing to select reverse," says BBC Sport F1 pundit Anthony Davidson as the Finn does just that before heading back to the pits.

Get involved on 606
artisticPAULB1 on 606: "Alonso will be quick this weekend. After all, there's nobody on the grid with as much of a point to make or as much to prove in the fallout from last year's debacle. I wouldn't be surprised to see him join the two Brawns on the podium tomorrow."

1218: Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen fastest at the moment with one minute 50.347 seconds. No Nico Rosberg now... only a few times posted.

1215: Just spotted Ari Vatanen having a cold one with Damon Hill and Pedro De La Rosa. That means both FIA presidential candidates are present at the Marina Bay circuit, with ex-Ferrari man Jean Todt also in attendance. One or the other will replace Max Mosley on 23 October. New era anyone? Or same old same old? 'Singapore Sling', which Hamilton had a whinge about, is Turn 10 by the way.

BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "I'm outside the Ferrari garage. They're having some problems and they feel it's going to be very difficult to get into the third part of qualifying later on - they haven't found the ideal set-up and their tyres are graining. Ferrari are purely focusing on the 2010 car now so they haven't brought an update to this race."

1205: Champ leader Button goes through the Singapore Sling as pink-coloured clouds pepper the night sky. It's a very technical chicane by the way, not a fancy drink. "It's very cumbersome there," says BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra F1 pundit Anthony Davidson. "We could see some crashes at that point. Entertaining for the viewers but it's definitely a challenge for the drivers."

1200: Cars look amazing under the lights as they file out onto the circuit. We're off...

1156: Bit of housekeeping: UK users can refresh their browsers to get video pictures if they don't already. Lots of yawning from engineers as they struggle to adapt to the Asian time zones. Beyonce is at the track today.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Singapore: "Hello again. Dusk is falling in Singapore but the eastern climes are still toasty and very humid. It feels totally bizarre getting up for work at lunch-time but there's no denying it's a great way to start the day with a walk through the bustling city streets to the track - I even spotted a fan wearing a Kazuki Nakajima scarf this morning. I've not seen that all season. There were a few thrills and spills in the support races and there is a sense we could get more of the same from the Formula 1 field. There's a lot of chatter about how slippery the last corner is - which is where Mark Webber had an excursion on Friday. Jenson Button also reckons a couple of corners are a bit darker than he expected, so plenty of reasons to keep a close eye on practice."

1151: Just before Red Bull driver Mark Webber crashed in practice two yesterday, there was a great TV shot running on board with the Australian as he aggressively pushed the car to its limits... you could just see how bumpy the surface was as he juddered over Singapore streets which still had road debris on them. Hamilton's words were perhaps understandable? Should be a bit smoother today though.

Get involved on 606
HambergF1 on 606: "I do want Barrichello to get significantly more points than Button, down to less than 10 points difference would make for a cracking end to the season!"

1142: The third and final practice session starts in less than 20 minutes - qualifying is at 1500 BST. Interesting two sessions yesterday. Brawns topped the first. Vettel headed Alonso in the second. Drivers had to get to grips with a dusty, slippery, and bumpy track. About which man of the people Hamilton was not happy, after promises were made to improve it: "It's such a bumpy track and the ride on our car was quite poor. It's shaking so much. The car is bumping and bouncing and sliding. It's still very bad. I don't really think it's changed at all to be honest."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "I've been carrying around my umbrella every day and my negativity might pay off. Reports of rain & thunderstorms - maybe even for qualifying."

1135: That, as far as we're concerned, marks an articulate full stop to the "Crashgate" race-fixing scandal of Singapore 2008. Welcome to Marina Bay 2009, the 14th race of a season in which the title battle is well and truly on. Can Jenson Button extend his 14-point lead over Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello? Will the in-form Brazilian eat further into that gap? Or can the Red Bulls come back into it? Thoughts please, lots of them, here on 606 or via text on 81111.

1130: What superb words from Lewis Hamilton as he summed up the best response to the Renault race fixing scandal. "We all want to put on a great show," the world champion said under Singapore's spectacular illuminated cityscape, "but, unfortunately, in every walk of life there's always one or two individuals that ruin it for everyone. It happens at school, it happens in the office, it happens in every walk of life. What we have to do is just try to rise above it."

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After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

see also
Ecclestone sends Donington threat
26 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Singapore GP Saturday photos
26 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Vettel heads Alonso in practice
25 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Singapore GP practice photos
25 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Boss relieved at Renault verdict
25 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
F1 returns to scene of the crime
24 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Renault suffer twin sponsor blow
24 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Briatore ban too harsh - F1 boss
24 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Button rejects cautious approach
24 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari cast doubt over Raikkonen
23 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Reeling Renault to continue in F1
24 Sep 09 |  Formula 1

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