Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix by out-qualifying his Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg by a mere seven thousandths of a second.
That was one of the most exciting qualifying sessions I have had for a long time
Hamilton claimed his sixth pole of the season with a time of one minute 45.681 seconds, and it could prove crucial on a tight and twisty Marina Bay circuit which will provide few passing opportunities in Sunday night's race.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who is the only genuine threat to the Mercedes pair for the Formula One championship, qualified third - less than two tenths of a second off Hamilton - ahead of his teammate and three-time defending Singapore champion Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will start from fifth on the grid and Williams' driver Felipe Massa from sixth.
Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari had engine trouble on the final flying lap and he had to park the car out on circuit, but still qualified seventh, ahead of Valtteri Bottas of Williams.
The top eight cars were separated by just half a second - a remarkably small margin on what is one of the longest circuits on the F1 calendar.
"That was one of the most exciting qualifying sessions I have had for a long time, where there are a lot of people in the mix and you have to be spot on,'' Hamilton said.
"It will be a good race to watch for the fans tomorrow, there will be a lot going on.''