Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position by a tiny margin, from teammate Nico Rosberg under the lights in Singapore.
After the very high speed nature of the Italian Grand Prix, the F1 circus moved to a far different style of track, the tight twisty confines of the Singapore streets. The night race here has become a very popular inclusion to the calendar since it debuted in 2008. Track position is always crucial here therefore qualifying is always frantic here and this year was no different.
From the start of Q1 many fancied runners were quick to get out on track and set their banker lap times, with championship leader Nico Rosberg one of the first out as he tried to bed in a new set of brakes after Free Practice 3.
The new set of brakes still had some bite however as Rosberg locked up and ran straight on at Turn 8 on his first flying lap, although he was able to quickly reverse and carry on his run. After a flurry of fastest laps the Williams of Valtteri Bottas set his marker down with a very fast 1m48.743 lap after only a few minutes of the session.
It took until halfway through Q1 for the other AMG Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton to show his hand, as he went fastest with a 1m47.847, before a much larger surprise a few minutes later in the form of Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez going 2nd quickest. It wasn't quite a representative lap however, as he was simply the first to set a time on the much quicker super soft tyres.
After seeing this the majority of the field switched to the quicker tyres, leading to Fastest laps from Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull, Nico Hulkenberg in the Sahara-Force India and finally from a re-rejuvenated Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari. His time was a clear 0.6 seconds quicker than the rest as he topped a qualifying session for the first time in a long while.
Q2 began in much the same fashion as Q1 with a flurry of activity from the moment the 15 minute segment began. The two Ferrari's were the first two front running cars to set a time as first Raikkonen set a quick 1m46.37 lap before team mate Fernando Alonso just pipped him for top spot by only 0.030 of a second.
It was clear from the front running times that this qualifying session would be by far the closest as the year, with Lewis Hamilton demonstrating this with his first quick lap of Q2, which although fastest was by only 0.041 from Alonso with a 1m46.287 lap time.
From here the session went quiet for a few minutes before everyone set out for their final timed runs. Crucially all apart from the top 4 of Hamilton,Alonso, Raikkonen and Ricciardo decided to go for a final run. From here the fight for a crucial top 10 spot for Q3 was relatively subdued, although at the top Rosberg responded to a poor first run with a scintillating 1m45.825 lap time in the final seconds of Q2 to steal the top spot for the session.
The final 12 minutes of Q3 were primed to be entertaining from start to finish as the top 10 all set out immediately for their first runs of the session. With half of the session still to run and all the first runs being completed it was a surprise to see the previously struggling Williams of Felipe Massa on pole with a 1m46.007 lap time.
Whilst everyone settled back in the pits before they primed themselves for the final runs of qualifying, Ricciardo attempted to steal a march on the rest as he risked being the first man out with 4 minutes to go, hoping to have a traffic free lap. By far the best session of the year for Kimi Raikkonen ended on a very down note as he was forced to abandon his final lap before it even started with an electrical problem.
As the seconds ticked down and the final timed laps were being completed, it was impossible to tell who was on pole as it changed between Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg in successive seconds, before Lewis Hamilton stole the pole position by the scant margin of 0.007, effectively the length of a front wing endplate.
After initially looking to be struggling in Q3 the two AMG Mercedes resumed their usual position at the front this year with Hamilton leading Rosberg into tomorrow's race. The second row would be shared by the always good here Red Bull's with Daniel Ricciardo leading illustrious team mate and reigning champion Sebastien Vettel.
Fernando Alonso starts 5th in a improved show from Ferrari here, with Felipe Massa falling to 6th after his first run heroics in Q3, whilst Kimi Raikkonen was 7th after missing the final run of Q3. Alongside him on row 4 was Valtteri Bottas in the second Williams for 8th whilst the final row of the top 10 will be completed by a disappointed Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren and rookie of the year candidate Daniil Kvyat for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 10th.
After this exciting qualifying session the grid is well placed for a scintillating Grand Prix, with the two AMG Mercedes cars fighting as they have done all year, whilst the two Red Bull's and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari all fighting to displace them tomorrow.
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