Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton Earns Surprise F1 Pole at Singapore Grand Prix

Hamilton pulled a shocker of a lap from up his sleeve and will start ahead of his championship rival Sebastian Vettel.

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Four-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton flipped a small deficit in practice to a huge advantage in qualifying, seizing pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix by more than three-tenths over his closest competitor, Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen, and by 4.111 seconds over his 2017 Q3 time. Another three-tenths back was Hamilton's championship rival, Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, typically in contention for race wins on the streets of Singapore. A small brush with the wall in practice on Friday limited his running, however, and may be the cause of his lost time.

Vettel will start alongside Valtteri Bottas, less than a tenth between them, though Bottas was almost seven-tenths off his pole-sitting Mercedes teammate. RBR's Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Räikkönen occupy the row behind, respectively one and six tenths off their teammates. Ricciardo either couldn't find the pace or is investing in a Sunday-friendly setup, giving him a shot at a come-from-behind win, for which he is known. Verstappen and Räikkönen both took new MGU-H energy recovery units, but because they remain within seasonal component use limits, they avoid grid penalties.

Racing Point Force India's Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon both made it into Q3 and will start in a P7-P9 formation. They are accompanied by Romain Grosjean of Haas—who out-qualified his teammate Kevin Magnussen by 1.3 seconds—and Nico Hülkenberg of Renault, who squeezed McLaren driver Fernando Alonso out of Q3 at the last minute.

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A disappointed Vettel will start from third and attempt to usurp pole-sitter Hamilton around the Marina Bay Circuit. 

A full list of qualifying laps can be found below, along with the margin of improvement over each driver's qualifying lap from 2017.

  1. Lewis Hamilton/Mercedes - 1:36.015, -4.111 from 2017
  2. Max Verstappen/Red Bull - 1:36.334, -3.480 from 2017
  3. Sebastian Vettel/Ferrari - 1:36.628, -2.853 from 2017
  4. Valtteri Bottas/Mercedes - 1:36.702, -4.108 from 2017
  5. Kimi Räikkönen/Ferrari - 1:36.794, -3.275 from 2017
  6. Daniel Ricciardo/Red Bull - 1:36.996, -2.844 from 2017
  7. Sergio Perez/Force India - 1:37.985, -4.261 from 2017
  8. Romain Grosjean/Haas - 1:38.320, -5.563 from 2017
  9. Esteban Ocon/Force India - 1:38.365, -4.395 from 2017
  10. Nico Hülkenberg/Renault - 1:38.588, -2.425 from 2017
  11. Fernando Alonso/McLaren - 1:38.641, -2.538 from 2017
  12. Carlos Sainz Jr./Renault - 1:38.716, -3.340 from 2017
  13. Charles Leclerc/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:38.747
  14. Marcus Ericsson/Alfa Romeo Sauber - 1:39.453, -6.117 from 2017
  15. Pierre Gasly/Toro Rosso-Honda - 1:39.691
  16. Kevin Magnussen/Haas - 1:39.644, -4.112 from 2017
  17. Brendon Hartley/Toro Rosso-Honda - 1:39.809
  18. Stoffel Vandoorn/McLaren - 1:39.864, -1.534 from 2017
  19. Sergey Sirotkin/Williams - 1:41.263
  20. Lance Stroll/Williams - 1:41.334, -3.394 from 2017