Lewis Hamilton edged out his Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg to seize pole for the Singapore Grand Prix by just seven thousandths of a second.
Hamilton, just sixth going into the final runs of the session, snatched pole out from under the nose of Rosberg in the dying moments of qualifying, despite a lockup into Turn 1 on his last flying lap, with a time of 1:45.681, separated from his team-mate by a mere mere seven thousandths of a second.
Daniel Ricciardo had looked set to take his maiden pole, only to drop to third behind the Mercedes duo late on, while Sebastian Vettel was fourth, locking out the second row of the grid for Red Bull.
Fernando Alonso will start fifth for Ferrari, despite looking like a threat for pole early in the session, while Kimi Raikkonen, the fastest man in Q1, could do no better than seventh after he was forced to stop the car on his final run.
Felipe Massa, who was fastest on the opening run of the final shootout, split the two Ferraris in sixth, with his Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas two spots back in eighth.
Kevin Magnussen was ninth fastest, while Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten for Toro Rosso.
Jenson Button was 11th, the 2009 champion missing out on a spot in the final shootout by just two hundredths of a second, while Jean-Eric Vergne, fourth in final practice, had to settle for 12th for Toro Rosso after a lockup.
Both Force Indias failed to clear the second part of qualifying, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez just 13th and 15th respectively – the pair split by Esteban Gutierrez in the lead Sauber.
A frustrated Romain Grosjean will start 16th after losing time due to a lack of power, ahead of Sauber’s Adrian Sutil, who looked set to make it through to Q2 with a late improvement, only to lose out in the dying seconds of the opening part of the session to the Frenchman.
Pastor Maldonado’s miserable season continued, with the Venezuelan mired down in 18th in the second Lotus, 1.2 seconds slower than his Lotus team-mate and just four tenths clear of Jules Bianchi in 19th.
Kamui Kobayashi will join the Marussia man on the penultimate row, while Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson, who lost time due to an electrical problem, rounded out the grid in 21st and 22nd respectively.
Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying – Classification
- Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:45.681
- Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:45.688 +0.007
- Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull – 1:45.854 +0.173
- Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull – 1:45.902 +0.221
- Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:45.907 +0.226
- Felipe Massa – Williams – 1:46.000 +0.319
- Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:46.170 +0.489
- Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 1:46.187 +0.506
- Kevin Magnussen – McLaren – 1:46.250 +0.569
- Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 1:47.362 +1.681
- Jenson Button McLaren – 1:46.943 +1.262
- Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso – 1:46.989 +1.308
- Nico Hulkenberg Force India – 1:47.308 +1.627
- Esteban Gutierrez Sauber – 1:47.333 +1.652
- Sergio Perez – Force India – 1:47.575 +1.894s
- Romain Grosjean – Lotus – 1:47.812 +2.131s
- Adrian Sutil – Sauber – 1:48.324 +2.643
- Pastor Maldonado – Lotus – 1:49.063 +3.382
- Jules Bianchi – Marussia – 1:49.440 +3.759
- Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham – 1:50.405 +4.724
- Max Chilton – Marussia – 1:50.473 +4.792
- Marcus Ericsson – Caterham – 1:52.287 +6.606
Images courtesy of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS and Scuderia Ferrari