Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel put himself on pole position to retake the Formula One lead from Lewis Hamilton after setting the fastest lap in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Championship leader Hamilton, who leads the German by three points with seven rounds remaining, qualified his Mercedes only fifth for Sunday's night race.

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen will start second for Red Bull, after going fastest in the first two phases of qualifying, with Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo third and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

Vettel is a four times winner in Singapore and the pole was also his fourth in the city state. 

"I don't know where that time came from," Vettel, who has now secured four poles of the 10 events staged here, said. "I struggled also this morning. I shouted as loud as the crowd. It was unbelievable.

"I love this track. The car was tricky but was getting better, better and better. So am pleased we got it done. It's an amazing track when you feel the car was coming together. I knew we had it in us but we had to get there."

Verstappen added: "It is promising, but a shame we couldn't put it on pole. The final lap wasn't great. During the race it will be difficult to pass him so we will have to see in the first lap."