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Vettel to start Singapore GP from third in the grid

German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel finished a disappointing third in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix. Britain's Lewis Hamilton of McLaren took pole position for the only night race of the season.

The Formula One defending drivers' champion, Sebastian Vettel, will start Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix from the second row on the grid after finishing third in qualifying. The result came after the German Red Bull driver dominated all three practice sessions for the circuit's only night race.

"I'm a little disappointed," the 25-year-old Vettel admitted shortly afterwards. "But third place is also a good starting point. It's a long race and a lot of things can happen … but surely if you don't take the last step in qualifying it's a shame," he added.

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position for the fifth time this season after qualifying nearly half a second faster than Pastor Maldonado of Williams, who will start from beside him in the grid.

"The guys have done a fantastic job all week," Hamilton told reporters. "Sebastian (Vettel) was incredibly fast through most of the sessions so I'm very happy that I managed to pull that time out at the end."

Another Briton, Jenson Button, qualified in fourth, ahead of the standings' leader, Fernando Alonso, who finished in fifth.

With seven races remaining in the seaon (including Sunday's event), Alonso has 179 points, ahead of Hamilton (142), Kimi Raikkonen (141) and Vettel (140).

Also on Saturday, the event's organizers announced that they had agreed to a five-year contract extension, which will keep the race in the southeast Asian city-state until 2017.

pfd/jlw (Reuters, AFP)