The infamous durian fruit, banned by many hotels and airlines in Southeast Asia due to its overpowering odour, nearly proved too much for two Red Bull drivers.
Red Bull Racing, likewise, looked strong during the long-run simulations, placing the race firmly within the team's grasp if it has the pace to overcome Mercedes's qualifying engine mode this evening (Sept 16) in the fight for pole position.
Asked whether he expected the Marina Bay Street Circuit to suit the W08 auto the least of the remaining tracks, Hamilton said: "I don't know, I don't know where Ferrari have picked up their pace".
Indeed Vettel initially took provisional pole with a 1 minute 39.609 second lap, before lowering the marker to a 1m 39.491s on his second and final go.
Vettel also believed it would be a close race at the weekend and conceded he knows the Red Bulls will push him.
"Today, I'll accept a little bit of defeat but there's still a lot to play tomorrow".
"The auto was tricky but it came alive and it was getting better and better as the night progressed, so I'm really happy that we got it done".
"This is a good day, but it's important that we do it tomorrow and Sunday, those are the days that count".
"I will think what is the best option", the 36-year-old double champion said. Which gives Ferrari and Red Bull a chance to mount a serious challenge at this circuit.
Verstappen added: "It is promising, but a shame we couldn't put it on pole".
Nico Hulkenberg put his works Renault F1 auto at the head of the fourth row of the grid ahead of Fernando Alonso's McLaren-Honda. "During the race it will be pretty hard to pass him, so we will have to see on the first lap". It requires a bit more sacrifice I guess. Sainz completed the top 10 for Toro Rosso.
Force India's Sergio Perez closed out the top 10, a tenth clear of teammate Esteban Ocon.
Renault driver Jolyon Palmer missed out on Q3 after being relegated to 11th by Alonso on the second runs in the second segment of qualifying.