Nico Rosberg will start Sunday’s Singapore GP from pole position, joined on the front row of the grid by Daniel Ricciardo as Lewis Hamilton missed out on his 100th front row start.
Under the lights at the Marina Bay circuit it was a dramatic start to qualifying as Sebastian Vettel, a driver many expected could fight for a front row start position, qualified P22.
The German appeared to have a suspension problem or perhaps mechanical as he lapped the circuit with his left front wheel in the air.
That sent him back into the pits with four minutes remaining in Q1. “This is stupid, we’re losing time,” said the four-time Singapore GP winner as his mechanics got to work.
But, with a minute remaining and still in the pits, he threw his gloves down in disappointment while Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene was steaming on the pit wall.
Back at the front, Rosberg raced to pole position clocking a 1:42.584 while Daniel Ricciardo was second. The Aussie’s best, though, was half a second off the pace.
Lewis Hamilton finished in second place, missing out on his 100th front row start by two-tenths of a second.
Max Verstappen was fourth with the Red Bull’s set to start Sunday’s grand prix on the supersoft tyres after both drivers came through Q2 on that rubber.
Kimi Raikkonen was fifth ahead of Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg.
Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez completed the top ten.
Romain Grosjean spun his way out of qualifying in the final seconds of Q2 as he lost it under braking for the Turn 10 while Jenson Button pulled off down an escape road. They were P16 and P13 respectively.
1 Rosberg Mercedes 1:42.584
2 Ricciardo Red Bull 1:43.115
3 Hamilton Mercedes 1:43.288
4 Verstappen Red Bull 1:43.328
5 Raikkonen Ferrari 1:43.540
6 Sainz Toro Rosso 1:44.197
7 Kyvat Toro Rosso 1:44.469
8 Hulkenberg Force India 1:44.479
9 Alonso McLaren 1:44.553
10 Perez Force India 1:44.582
11 Bottas Williams 1:44.740
12 Massa Williams 1:44.991
13 Button McLaren 1:45.144
14 Gutierrez Haas 1:45.593
15 Grosjean Haas 1:45.723
16 Ericsson Sauber 1:47.827
17 Magnussen Renault 1:46.825
18 Nasr Sauber 1:46.860
19 Palmer Renault 1:46.960
20 Wehrlein Manor 1:47.667
21 Ocon Manor 1:48.296
22 Vettel Ferrari 1:49.116