Lewis Hamilton upset the odds to put his Mercedes on pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix following a scintillating lap in qualifying.

Hamilton's Formula 1 rival Sebastian Vettel had been the favourite to take the glory under the floodlights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

But the Ferrari driver, who trails Hamilton by 30 points in the championship, finished only third with Max Verstappen second for Red Bull.

The British driver headed into qualifying having failed to trouble the top of the order in any of the three practice sessions this weekend.

But the defending champion pulled out an astonishing lap to claim the 79th pole of his career, and finish a third of a second faster than Verstappen.

Vettel was a distant six-tenths slower than his rival, while Valtteri Bottas, in the sister Mercedes machinery, finished three-quarters of a second down on Hamilton in fourth.

Hamilton is mobbed on onlookers in Singapore

Starting from the front is crucial at this twisty and slow-speed temporary track with seven pole-sitters of the 10 races contested in Singapore taking the chequered flag.

Hamilton was visibly shaking with the emotion of delivering yet another of his one-lap masterclasses.

"Wow," he said. "That lap felt like magic and I don't know where it came from. It just all came together, and today I managed for that one lap to get it right.

"I am super overwhelmed and my heart is racing. I might have an anxiety attack in a second.

"It felt special. I don't feel there was a moment in the lap where I ran wide or there were any problems. It felt like one of the best laps that I remember driving."

A deflated Vettel added: "It is not ideal. We wanted to get pole and we didn't. It was a messy qualifying session, and there was too much time missing. The laps were not good enough so it was not what we wanted."