Singapore GP: Lewis Hamilton says pole lap 'felt like magic'
Hamilton produces stunning 1:36.015; Title rival Vettel only third and six tenths slower; Lights out for Sunday's race at 1:10pm
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 06/12/18 10:15am
Lewis Hamilton says his lap to claim Singapore GP pole "felt like magic" and was one of the best he could remember.
The world championship leader produced a stunning lap of 1:36.015 to shatter the Marina Bay absolute lap record, finishing three tenths clear of the field and six tenths ahead of title rival Sebastian Vettel, who was only third having been favourite for pole.
"Wow, wow. That lap felt like magic," Hamilton said.
"I don't know where it came from but it all came together. Honestly I'm super overwhelmed. My heart is racing.
"I don't think there was a moment in the lap that was wide or any problems. It was just perfectly to the limit. It felt like one of the best laps I remember feeling."
Hamilton had lapped half a second slower than Vettel's Ferrari in final practice and so such a turnaround in qualifying had not been expected.
"It was very much out of the blue," said Hamilton to Sky F1. "The pressure was at its highest for that Q3 run and l just hit every point perfectly. That was the one lap where it all flowed beautifully. It felt incredible."
Sky F1's Paul di Resta labelled it a potentially "championship-winning" lap from Hamilton after blowing Vettel away.
Hamilton was unable to improve on his second run in Q3, and he felt he had got "absolutely everything possible" on his first attempt.
"I was nervous going into qualifying because we were half a second behind," he said.
"It was just about putting all those little bits you find in practice together. The car was underneath me and I managed to maximise it on every corner.
"I felt like I got absolutely everything out of that lap. For us to be on pole here is incredible."
Hamilton reflects on magic lap
Hamilton's joy and relief with his pole position was palpable as he reflected on his unexpected success.
"I was a bit nervous going into qualifying because I didn't think we had the pace, we were half a second behind these guys and I was thinking 'there is no way I'm going to be able to find half a second'," Hamilton admitted.
"And it's so physical here, so naturally after the session you're shaking, your heart's racing. The second lap I tried to obviously go that little bit more, just half a metre braking later, but it was just too much and the car wasn't going to have it, so I really do feel I got absolutely everything possible on that first lap. I was definitely nervous when I came in at the end because naturally you want to deliver each time you have an opportunity.
"The guys have just been flat out trying to see if we can bring little bits here and there and we knew we would come to this and the Ferraris particularly but also the Red Bulls would be hard to beat, so this is an incredible moment for us to be on pole here considering the circumstances."