Vettel: It could have gone wrong in Q3

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Sebastian Vettel has admitted that his decision not to run for a second time in the final stage of qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix could easily have back-fired, but he is delighted to have secured his fifth pole position of the season today.

The German driver was six-tenths clear of the field after his first run in Q1, with the team believing that this gap could not be made up by Nico Rosberg. However, on his final run, the Mercedes driver came within just 0.091 seconds of beating Vettel’s time with Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean also coming close. All in all, this made for a nervy final few minutes in the Red Bull garage.

“You stand in the garage when there’s roughly two minutes to go in the session and you know that it’s too late,” Vettel said. “But then it’s much worse when you see the others at the final attempt and you know there’s nothing you can do.

“I was watching the sector times very closely with obviously Romain, Nico and Mark in particular. Mark started with a purple sector one, very close in sector two, then Nico had a purple sector two, then Romain had a purple sector two. Then fortunately my last sector was strong enough to just stay ahead.”

Vettel had explained yesterday that he expected Mercedes to pose a stiffer challenge on Saturday, confirming that today’s result was more representative of the gap between the German team and Red Bull.

“Yesterday I think the gap was a bit of a surprise. Today’s been more what we expected, especially with Mercedes being very close behind.”

Vettel will be hoping to convert today’s result into a win on Sunday that would see his championship lead surpass the sixty point mark.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.