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Its not easy to overtake here, but I like this track. Separated by only three points, if either Vettel or Hamilton have a slip up, it could prove to be costly.

When asked what a realistic result would be, Hamilton sounded deflated.

"In theory it should be better here than in Monza", Vettel said. "Since yesterday, we - at least myself - was nowhere near to the Red Bull; today, without some mistakes, we could have [both] been ahead of them".

Yes, Formula One is in Singapore and at the Marina Bay circuit for the 14th race of the 2017 season. But when it mattered in Q3, he dug deep and found something special - his final lap of 1:39.491s was a massive new track record. (Great work!) in Italian.

"Yesterday was hard, this afternoon was hard but tonight the vehicle just came alive", said Vettel, who looked surprised by his own performance. "That was awesome. It's an unbelievable track if you feel the vehicle is coming alive and you can do what you want to".

Some contrast to his mood on Friday night.

The overnight transformation worked wonders.

The Ferrari driver punched the air with delight and celebrated his 49th career pole like a victory.

Asked if he could take comfort from the fact Singapore is likely to be Mercedes worst circuit in the title run-in, he said: "I don't know where Ferrari has picked up that pace".

Mercedes will be the ones having a sleepless night this time.

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggled throughout, though, and was 0.5s behind Hamilton in fourth place.

The Ferrari and Red Bull drivers took advantage of their relatively sweeter handling cars (and with pretty powerful and driveable engines in their own right) to annex the front two rows of the starting grid. Vettel will expect to be able to exploit it on Sunday. I will have to try and see if I can get a good start to pick off at least one auto.

"You always hope for better but probably its realistically where we are in Singapore", said team boss Toto Wolff.

"Lewis probably hasn't extracted everything from the auto that is probably possible here today". Red Bull are also fancying their chances.

Vettel, also on his second set on ultra-soft tyres, posted a lap that was 0.109 seconds slower but just about enough to deny Max Verstappen, the other Red Bull driver, the second fastest time.

"I said Ferrari could be a problem and now it's Red Bull", Mercedes' Niki Lauda explained. "I thought pole would be on, but we couldn't quite run with (Vettel) in that last qualifying".

Raikkonen was fastest again at the start of Q2, later beaten by Vettel and Verstappen.

No wonder the mood in the Mercedes garage was glum. A clear inference from the free practice sessions and qualifying has been how the Red Bull cars have been leading the pack, and the McLaren's who have had the worst engine could place the auto as high as P3 on the time-sheets.

But not to this extent. "We just need to assess what's making our auto perform less".


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