Sebastian Vettel underlined his growing superiority by claiming the 41st pole position of his Formula One career ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.
Winner of the last two races in Belgium and Italy, and after taking the chequered flag for the last two years at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Vettel is on course to complete two separate hat-tricks on Sunday.
In posting an astonishing lap of one minute 42.841secs, a tenth of a second clear of Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, only mechanical failure can surely stop Vettel from his 33rd F1 triumph.
Under the bright lights of the track's 1,500 halogen lamps Vettel's dominance was such he did not bother attempting a second run in the closing top-10 shootout.
After the middle 15-minute session, and after playing second best for once to Gutierrez, Hulkenberg will start 11th in his Sauber.
Paul Di Resta's wretched second half of the season continued as the Scot will start from 17th after failing to make it through the first 20-minute qualifying session for the fourth time this year in his Force India.
Di Resta, however, remained positive as he said: "We've not given ourselves the best chance, but whether that's good enough to fight through and score points we'll have to wait and see."
Di Resta will be joined on row nine by Williams' Pastor Maldonado, who a year ago at this circuit qualified second, further highlighting the slump in fortunes for the Venezuelan and the team.
Caterham again occupy row 10, with Charles Pic edging out Giedo van der Garde, whilst for the 12th consecutive race this year Marussia's Jules Bianchi out-qualified Max Chilton, albeit with just a tenth of a second between them.
Assessing his unusual situation in looking on as qualifying concluded, Vettel said: "It was weird standing in the garage with roughly two minutes to go.
"It then became much worse with the others making their final attempt and there's nothing you can do.
"I watched the sector times closely with Romain, Nico and Mark, but fortunately my last sector was strong enough to stay shead of Nico.
"In the end it was a great feeling because it could have gone wrong.
"Yesterday the gap to the others was a surprise, but today was more what we expected."
Coming so close to deposing Vettel from top spot, Rosberg said: "Seb has been really quick all weekend.
"It was very close in the end. One tenth (of a second) more would have been possible, but second is still a good result.
"We've good race pace and I'm very confident for tomorrow."