- Nico Rosberg to start Singapore GP on pole
- Teammate Lewis Hamilton secures third
- Red Bull pair finish second and fourth
- Sebastian Vettel to start at the back of the grid
(CNN)Nico Rosberg will start on pole in the Singapore Grand Prix after an imperious performance in qualifying.
Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who leads Rosberg by two points in the driver standings, only just managed to hold off Red Bull's Max Verstappen to secure third.
Verstappen's teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, put on an impressive drive and will start second -- but still finished 0.531s behind Rosberg.
"Definitely happy with that one," Rosberg told reporters after qualifying. "For sure one of my top three laps ever and I'm so happy that it came on my 200th GP weekend.
"At times it wasn't clear where we would stack up against Red Bull so I knew I had to pull one out of the bag.
"I'm not worried [about Ricciardo starting from P2] but I'll certainly be keeping my eye on him!"
Hamilton, who struggled throughout practice, was understandably despondent but can take heart from earlier performances this season when starting further back on the grid.
"It has not been my weekend so far," said the reigning world champion. "Not many good laps. I've just not been able to string them together."
"But Nico did a great job and showed the real potential of the car."
Despite securing fourth, Dutchman Verstappen was disappointed with his final performance of an eventful weekend -- the highlight perhaps being a chance encounter with a "giant lizard."
"I'm not happy. The whole weekend has been strong but I really wasn't comfortable in Q3."
It has also been an unhappy couple of days for four-time Singapore GP winner Sebastian Vettel, who will start last after a suspension problem meant he was unable to set a competitive time.