Sebastian Vettel has denied Max Verstappen his maiden Formula 1 pole position at Singapore after setting a new track record in qualifying.
The Ferrari driver seemed to sandbag his way through the first two parts of qualifying before turning up the wick in the final phase to claim pole position by three tenths over Verstappen.
Vettel’s initial lap in Qualifying 3, a 1:39.669s, bettered Verstappen’s effort by more than a tenth of a second.
The Ferrari driver then lowered the benchmark further two tenths as the chequered flag flew, denying the Red Bull driver the opportunity to become Formula 1’s first teenage pole position winner.
Daniel Ricciardo recorded the third best time, joining Kimi Raikkonen on the second row of the grid, leaving Mercedes to lock out row three.
Hamilton was more than 0.6s shy of Vettel’s pace, with Bottas half a second further back as the two Mercedes seemed to struggle in comparison to both Ferrari and Red Bull.
An improved showing from McLaren saw both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne progress into the final phase of qualifying, Alonso logging the eighth fastest time and Vandoorne ninth.
The top 10 also included Nico Hulkenberg in seventh for Renault and Carlos Sainz’s Toro Rosso in 10th spot.
The rapidly changing circuit caught both Force Indias out in the second part of the three-part qualifying session, along with Daniil Kvyat, Jolyon Palmer and Romain Grosjean.
Contact with the barrier saw Felipe Massa sustain damage to the left rear of his Williams midway through Qualifying 1.
The Brazilian hadn’t set a representative time before the crash, and while he did get back out to set a lap it proved only good enough for 16th.
Lance Stroll fared no better as both Williams were eliminated after the first cull, as were the two Saubers and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas F1.
Tomorrow’s 61-lap Singapore Grand Prix begins at 2200 (AEST).
Result: Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.814s||0.323s|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.840s||0.349s|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.056s||2.565s|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.246s||2.755s|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.338s||2.847s|
|14||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.760s||3.269s|