Lewis Hamilton made magic look like routine business, which it is while he is in the form of his life, to take a fabulous pole lap for the Singapore Grand Prix.
To reach into the world champion's terminology it was a 'dope' lap. Nobody on earth can touch Hamilton on this streak.
The Marina Bay circuit was not meant to be a Mercedes track – its slow speeds antipathetic to their car – yet Hamilton is rising above science, logic and precedent, session by session. He beat Red Bull's Max Verstappen by 0.319sec; Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by 0.613sec back in third; and the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas by 0.687sec.
Hamilton's time – 1min 36.015sec was the fastest lap Singapore has staged and a massive 11.9sec faster than his own pole here in 2009.
He was chuffed afterwards, saying: 'It felt like magic. I don't know where it came from. I managed that one lap to get it right. I am super overwhelmed. My heart is racing.
'I don't think it there was moment in the lap that I went wide. It was perfect to the limit. It was one of the best laps I can remember.'
Hamilton made his decisive mark with his penultimate lap, taking the pole target for the rest to try to emulate into orbit.
'A pretty epic lap there, Lewis,' purred Peter Bonnington with all the excitement of an air steward pointing out the fasten seat belts signs had been turned on.
Hamilton' final lap was not so clean, but it did not need to be. His job was done as he claimed his seventh pole of his season and 79th of his career.
This was meant to be Ferrari's track and Vettel was downcast afterwards, saying: 'Not ideal for us. A messy session.' The German can afford few mistakes, lying 30 points behind Hamilton with seven races remaining.
Vettel wore the expression of a demoralised man.
Fernando Alonso will start from 11th on the grid on his farewell to the race that sullied his name back in 2008. The Spaniard, who is retiring at the end of the season, triumphed here for Renault in the fixed race that became known as Crashgate. His team-mate Nelson Piquet Jnr crashed to bring out a safety car that let the Spaniard win in the unfolding consequences of that chicanery.
Alonso, who denied all knowledge of the fix at the time, retained his win from 15th on the grid.
He will start Sunday's race with a damaged right hand, after his heavy crash with Charles Leclerc's Sauber in Spa last month. 'The adrenaline gets me through,' said Alonso, 37. 'It just hurts when I am brushing my teeth.'
He was less keen to set the record straight on Crashgate, shutting down questions into what The Times newspaper called the biggest scandal in sporting history.
Williams were rooted to the bottom of the timesheets again, an eternity behind the rest.
Singapore GP Grid Positions Lewis Hamilton (MERCEDES)
Max Verstappen (RED BULL RACING)
Sebastian Vettel (FERRARI)
Valtteri Bottas (MERCEDES)
Kimi Raikkonen (FERRARI
Daniel Ricciardo (RED BULL RACING)
Sergio Perez (FORCE INDIA)
Romain Grosjean (HAAS)
Esteban Ocon (FORCE INDIA)
Nico Hulkenberg (RENAULT)
Fernando Alonso (MCLAREN)
Carlos Sainz (RENAULT)
Charles Leclerc (SAUBER)
Marcus Ericsson (SAUBER)
Pierre Gasly (TORO ROSSO)
Kevin Magnussen (HAAS)
Brendon Hartley (TORO ROSSO)
Stoffel Vandoorne (MCLAREN)
Sergey Sirotkin (WILLIAMS)
Lance Stroll (WILLIAMS)