Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix from pole position after a stunning opening lap in the final stage of qualifying at Marina Bay as Formula 1 title rival Sebastian Vettel finished six-tenths of a second behind, down in third place.

After surviving a scare in Q1 as Mercedes squeaked him through on the Ultrasoft tyres, Hamilton managed to produce a stunning first lap in Q3 of 1m36.015s, putting him three-tenths of a second clear of Max Verstappen in P2 and six-tenths ahead of title rival Vettel after the field had completed their initial bids for pole.  

Mistakes at Turn 3 and Turn 5 meant Hamilton could not improve on his final lap, but with Verstappen and Vettel also failing to find time, the Briton was able to revel in seventh pole position of the season and his fourth in Singapore.

Verstappen bounced back from a recurring engine braking issue throughout practice and Q1 to take second place for Red Bull, finishing three-tenths of a second clear of Vettel down in third place.

Valtteri Bottas took fourth in the sister Mercedes car, finishing six-tenths back from his teammate, while Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo also struggled to match their stablemates for pace, taking P5 and P6 respectively.

Sergio Perez led the midfield runners in seventh for Force India ahead of Romain Grosjean of Haas, while Esteban Ocon took P9 in the second Force India. Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10 for Renault.

Fernando Alonso dropped out in Q2 for McLaren, qualifying 11th, but called the result "nice" over team radio following the session as he would have a free choice of starting tyre for the race on Sunday. Alonso was followed by Renault's Carlos Sainz Jr., who reported a lack of grip on his final lap as he fell two-tenths of a second shy of a Q3 berth.

Sauber drivers Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson were split by seven-tenths of a second in Q2, but it amounted to just one position as they took 13th and 14th respectively. Ericsson was closely followed by Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, who was more than a second off a place in the final stage of qualifying down in 15th.

Kevin Magnussen paid the price for a messy final Q1 lap as he dropped out in the opening stage of qualifying, finishing down in 16th place for Haas as he fell less than one-tenth of a second short of Gasly's cut-off time. It marked his first Q1 exit since Monaco.

In the second Toro Rosso, Brendon Hartley's struggles continued as he finished 17th, two-tenths off his teammate, while Stoffel Vandoorne lagged to his eighth consecutive Q1 knockout in P18, having brushed the wall at Turn 21 on his final flying lap.

Williams propped up the running order with Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll in P19 and P20 respectively, both finishing over 1.4 seconds back from Vandoorne in 18th. Stroll lost his final run after a mistake saw him go straight on into the run-off area at Turn 5.

The Singapore Grand Prix starts at 1:10pm BST on Sunday.


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