Singapore Grand Prix qualifying: Vettel on pole for night race
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel snatched pole for the Singapore Grand Prix ahead of the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Singapore is a night race - but fans were rubbing their eyes through disbelief, not sleepiness, when they saw both McLarens in the top five in Q1. Fernando Alonso was third quickest with Stoffel Vandoorne in P5.
The Red Bulls' storming weekend continued, with Max Verstappen just about edging out his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo - who set a circuit record yesterday.
Marcus Ericsson had to have a change of gearbox after a crash in final practice - but he qualified last anyway, so will start 20th on the grid. Felipe Massa picked up a puncture after hitting a wall, so both Williams cars failed to make Q2. Another dismal qualifying for them.
OUT: Kevin Magnussen (Renault), Felipe Massa (Williams), Lance Stroll (Williams), Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber), Marcus Ericsson (Sauber).
Kimi Raikkonen was first out in Q2, looking to get the Ferraris up the leaderboard.
And when his colleague Sebastian Vettel followed him, it was to set a new lap record.
But the Red Bulls were not to be denied - and Verstappen promptly went faster still. By the end of Q2, the top five were split by a quarter of a second - that's how close this is going to be.
OUT: Jolyon Palmer (Renault), Sergio Perez (Force India), Daniil Kyvat (Toro Rosso), Esteban Ocon (Force India), Romain Grosjean (Haas).
What a shoot-out. Vettel took the lap record again, going fastest in sector 1, with Verstappen fastest in sector 2, and Ricciardo fastest in sector 3.
Though the young Dutchman had threatened to secure his first-ever F1 pole, the experience of Vettel told in the end, and he secured his place at the front for the third time this season.
TOP TEN: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren), Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso).
QUALIFYING IN SUMMARY
A fantastic qualifying session, whetting the appetite for what could be a fascinating race tomorrow. The Mercedes are well off the pace so Hamilton has plenty to do if he wants to assert his dominance. Speaking of which, the Red Bulls had crushed the practice sessions but were outdone by the Ferrari of Vettel when it counted - what do they have left for the race? Daniel Ricciardo is, well, bullish, anyway.
Oh, and so is Max Verstappen.
ONE TO WATCH
Those McLarens! What's happening there? Is the very idea of not having a Honda engine next year giving them extra power? If they can hold out for the length of the race, expect points - there was some great pace there.
Well, the Williams duo dropping out early isn't a shock any more, but seeing Hamilton and Bottas way off the pace for pole is a bit of a surprise.
Verstappen - Vettel - Hamilton