Sebastian Vettel claimed his 49th career pole position in Formula 1, with a electrifying lap around the tight, twisty Singapore Grand Prix street circuit.
Championship leader and rival Lewis Hamilton could only qualify in fifth position, behind a pair of Ferraris and Red Bulls.
Vettel set a time quick enough for pole position on his first run in Q3, during which all drivers used ultrasoft Pirelli compound, with a one minute, 39.669 seconds.
He then survived a light brush of the wall on his second run to improve to a one minute, 39.491 seconds to take pole from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen by 0.323 seconds.
Verstappen had set the pace in Q2, but after recording the second quickest time on his first run in Q3 he was unable to improve on his second run.
Daniel Ricciardo was third in the other Red Bull, but could only improve by 0.022 seconds on his second run.
That left Kimi Raikkonen in fourth position, with The Iceman unable to carry his impressive first-sector pace into the second and third sectors of his final lap.
Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both qualified on the fifth row, with the gap between the Mercedes team-mates almost seven tenths of a second.
Nico Hulkenberg was best-of-the rest in seventh for Renault, just ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
Stoffel Vandoorne was ninth, well ahead of tenth-placed Carlos Sainz.
Renault driver Jolyon Palmer missed out on Q3 after being relegated to P11 by Alonso on the second runs in the second segment of qualifying.
He failed to improve on his second set of tyres in Q2 thanks to a moment in the final corner, which the team suggested over the radio cost him tenth place.
Sergio Perez complained about having “no grip at all” on his second Q2 run and ended up P12 after being unable to improve on his first-run time.
Daniil Kvyat did improve on his second run for Toro Rosso, but only by enough to take P13 ahead of the Force India of Esteban Ocon.
Romain Grosjean, who paid two visits to the Turn 7 escape road in Q1, didn’t post a time on his first run in Q2 and was unable to do better than P15 when he made his second attempt.
Kevin Magnussen was the fastest of those eliminated in Q1 after being relegated to P16 by Hulkenberg’s leap up the order.
Williams driver Felipe Massa was also knocked out in P17 after a difficult session, not posting a serious lap time on his first run after clipping the wall at the exit of Turn 21 and suffering a right-rear puncture
Massa then had a big moment in the fast left-hander final corner on his final flying lap, which ensured any faint hope he had of making Q2 was lost.
Lance Stroll was P18 ahead of Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein, who also had a minor brush with the wall at Turn 21 on his final run.
Marcus Ericsson was last in the second Sauber, and will be given a five-place grid penalty thanks to a gearbox change triggered by damage suffered when he hit the wall during free practice 3.
So an important qualifying session for Sebastian Vettel in terms of the Formula 1 world championship. That was Ferrari’s 212 pole in the sport and with title rival Lewis Hamilton down in fifth, this was the best outcome. Bring on the Singapore Grand Prix!
Qualifying positions, Singapore Grand Prix:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:39.491
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:39.814
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39.840
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:40.069
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:40.126
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:40.810
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:41.013
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1:41.179
9 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda 1:41.398
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Renault 1:42.056
11 Jolyon Palmer Renault-Renault 1:42.107
12 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:42.246
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1:42.338
14 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1:42.760
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:43.883
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:43.756
17 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:44.014
18 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1:44.728
19 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber-Ferrari 1:45.059
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1:45.570