Sebastian Vettel, who trails LCH by three points in the title race, fended off the challenge from the rampant Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to take the front spot by one-third of a second.

Vettel set a time quick enough for pole position on his first run in Q3, during which all drivers used ultra-soft rubber, with a 1m39.669s.

He then survived a light brush of the wall at the right-hander coming out from under the grandstand on his second run to improve to a 1m39.491s to take pole from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by 0.323 seconds.

Verstappen had set the pace in Q2, but after going second fastest on his first run in Q3 he was unable to improve on his second.

VETTEL:  The car was amazing,” said an elated and clearly emotional Vettel, a four-time Singapore GP winner. “It’s an amazing track when you feel the car was coming together. I knew we had it in us but we had to get there.”

“That was one of those mega pole positions you see from a great champion,” added Sky F1’s Damon Hill.

But it was a nightmare session for Mercedes with Hamilton more than half a second off the pace, with Valtteri Bottas even further back in sixth.