SINGAPORE // BMW's Nick Heidfeld was relegated three positions on the grid for today's Singapore Formula One Grand Prix for causing interference in qualifying. Stewards determined that Heidfeld impeded Honda's Rubens Barrichello during last night's qualifying session. Heidfeld will now start from ninth on the grid, while Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel, Toyota's Timo Glock and Williams' Nico Rosberg each move up one spot to six, seventh and eighth respectively.
The interference caused Barrichello to make a sudden decision to pit despite not passing inside the guideline ahead of the final corner as required. He incurred a US$14,600 (Dh53,633) penalty as a result. Heidfeld defended his conduct in the incident, while criticising the pitlane entry at Singapore, which was changed ahead of Saturday's sessions, but not enough to the German's satisfaction. "When I saw him, I tried to do the best I could to get out of the way," Heidfeld was quoted to say on the autosport.com website.
"After the white line I tried to be as quick into the pitlane without moving completely right and going into his way. It was the best I could do. But apparently not enough" he said. "Even before the race weekend started it was obvious that there would be issues with the pitlane entry and pitlane exit, so I don't know why it wasn't thought through properly." Heavy skies and gusty winds were prevailing ahead of Formula One's first ever night race, threatening rain which had held off throughout the race weekend.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa will start from pole position for today's race, sharing the front row with his title rival Lewis Hamilton of McLaren. Hamilton leads the drivers' championship by one point with Singapore with three more grand prix's remaining. The Brite extreon said overtaking will bmely difficult on the tight and bumpy downtown street circuit, meaning the drag to the first corner will be crucial.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and BMW's Robert Kubica - both harbouring slim title ambitions - will share the second row. *AP