Dominant Hamilton claims Singapore pole for McLaren
September 22, 2012 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Lewis Hamilton is making a strong challenge for his second world title in the latter half of the F1 season.
- Lewis Hamilton on pole for Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix
- 24th career GP pole for 2008 world champion
- Venezuela's Pastor Maldonado second fastest for Williams
- Defending two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel third fastest
(CNN) -- Lewis Hamilton dominated Saturday's qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix to claim pole position for the third time in the last four races of the Formula One season.
The McLaren star clocked a best time of one minute 46.392 seconds under the lights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit to take first place on the grid by nearly half a second from Venezuela's Pastor Maldonado in his Williams.
Two-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel had shown impressive pace in his Red Bull in the practice sessions but had to settle for third place, just ahead of Hamilton's teammate Jenson Button.
Championship leader Fernando Alonso was a solid fifth for Ferrari, but his teammate Felipe Massa was back in 13th.
Hamilton's McLaren Future
Speculation about Hamilton's future has been the talk of the pit lane, but after his victory in the preceding round in Italy he was again complimenting his team.
Hamilton focuses on championship
"The guys have done a fantastic job all week. The session was great, although I'm not sure what happened with Sebastian (Vettel) who had been fastest all the way through before that."
Such was Hamilton's mastery of the final session, two of his qualifying runs were faster than Maldonado's as he claimed a 24th career pole.
The pair had a controversial clash at the European Grand Prix in Valencia and Hamilton will be looking to avoid a similar problem.
"I'll have to get away cleanly. We'll stick to the strategy we have planned and be prepared if it doesn't work," he added.
Britain's Paul Di Resta was an excellent sixth for Force India ahead of the second Red Bull of Mark Webber of Australia.
Romain Grosjean returned after his one-race ban to take eighth for Lotus with the Mercedes pair of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg rounding out the top 10.
Earlier Saturday, race officials announced they had been granted a five-year extension to their contract with F1, ensuring the race will continue until at least 2017 at the same venue.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.