Sebastian Vettel was left shocked by his charge to the 49th pole position of his Formula 1 career during qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday, beating Max Verstappen in the final stage of the session.

Vettel appeared to struggle through practice on Friday despite being billed as the pre-race favourite, and failed to match Verstappen for pace through the first two legs of qualifying, trailing the Red Bull driver in both sessions.

Vettel was able to dig deep and find the pace when it mattered, smashing his way to pole in Singapore with a best time of 1:39.491 despite a sideways moment on his final qualifying lap.

Vettel was jubilant over the team radio after crossing the line, and admitted in the moments after stepping out of the car he was unsure just where the pace had come from.

"I don’t know, I struggled also this afternoon. I shouted as loud as [the crowd], it was unbelievable," Vettel said.

"I’m still full of adrenaline so maybe whatever I say doesn’t make any sense but I love this track.

"The car was tricky but it came alive and it got better and better as the night progressed, so really happy we got it done.”

When asked where the pole ranked in his career highlights, Vettel said: “I don’t know. I think I need to calm down first.

"I’m very, very happy. That was amazing. It’s an amazing track if you feel the car is coming alive and you can do what you want to.

"I knew we had it in us, it was a bit of a struggle to get there but now I’m just happy.”