Lewis Hamilton scorched to Singapore Grand Prix pole position in his Mercedes with a red hot lap of 1min 36.015sec at the Marina Bay street circuit on Saturday.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull will start on the front row for Sunday’s race alongside Hamilton after coming second, 0.319sec behind the Englishman, but Sebastian Vettel could only manage third.
2018 Singapore GP – qualifying:
“That felt like magic,” said a delighted Hamilton of his storming lap record, which was an astonishing 3.4 seconds quicker than last year’s pole effort.
He said: “It was really special, I don’t think there was a bad moment in the lap, it was just perfect. I don’t know where it came from but it all came together. It’s one of the best laps I can remember.”
Ferrari’s Vettel, who is 30 points behind Hamilton in the title race with seven races to go, was disappointed with his best effort of 1min36.628.
Vettel said: “It’s not ideal obviously, we wanted to get pole and didn’t. It was a messy qualifying session and there was too much time missing so we didn’t get any better than third.
“There was a lot of other cars around but you can’t blame it on that. Both laps weren’t great. I think we have a good car so let’s see.”
Singpore GP: Qualifying times
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1min36.015
2. Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1min36.334
3. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1min36.628
4. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/ Mercedes) 1min36.702
5. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari) 1min36.794
6. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/ Red Bull) 1min36.996
7. Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India-Mercedes) 1min37.985
8. Romain Grosjean (FRA/ Haas-Ferrari) 1min38.320
9. Esteban Ocon (FRA/Force India-Mercedes) 1min38.365
10. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/ Renault) 1min38.588
Eliminated in Q2
11. Fernando Alonso (ESP/McLaren-Renault) 1min38.641
12. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Renault) 1min38.716
13. Charles Leclerc (MON/Sauber-Ferrari) 1min38.747
14. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber-Ferrari) 1min39.453
15. Pierre Gasly (FRA/Toro Rosso-Honda) 1min39.691
Eliminated in Q1
16. Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari) 1min39.644
17. Brendon Hartley (NZL/Toro Rosso-Honda) 1min39.809
18. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren-Renault) 1min39.864
19. Sergey Sirotkin (RUS/Williams-Mercedes) 1min41.263
20. Lance Stroll (CAN/Williams-Mercedes) 1min41.334
Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas will join Vettel on the second row of the grid.
Kimi Raikkonen was fifth in the second Ferrari and Daniel Ricciardo, who has finished runner-up for the past three years in Singapore, was sixth fastest in his Red Bull.