McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes Lewis Hamilton has mentally "put up barriers" to the furore surrounding his future in order to focus on this year's Formula One world title fight.
Hamilton produced another stunning qualifying performance to grab his third pole in four grands prix - his fifth this season and 24th of his career, to elevate him up to equal ninth in F1's all-time standings.
It is the first time since 1999 McLaren have claimed four successive pole positions, with the achievement also falling one day shy of the 40th anniversary of their first F1 pole achieved by the late Peter Revson at Mosport Park in Canada.
It means Hamilton will lead away the Singapore Grand Prix field on Sunday as he chases another win to further close the 37-point gap to championship leader Fernando Alonso, who starts fifth in his Ferrari.
In the background lurks Hamilton's contract situation with McLaren and the very real prospect he will leave the team after 14 years and join Mercedes, with offers on the table from both marques.
But after the barrage of questions he faced in Italy a fortnight ago, and given his refusal in Singapore to avoid the issue, Whitmarsh can sense the 27-year-old's mind has sharpened on the title challenge.
After watching Hamilton blitz the rest of the field by half a second under the lights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Whitmarsh said: "I think Lewis has been strong all weekend.
"He was millimetre perfect (in qualifying). He did a great job, and I am sure it was pretty sweet for him."
Asked about the speculation surrounding Hamilton, Whitmarsh added: "It has focused his mind, created barriers around him.
"He has realised this championship is winnable and that he is in a good place.
"Possibly all this chat has caused him to put these barriers up and allowed him to concentrate on the job."
Hamilton was certainly focused, throwing his car around the track's 23 corners as if it was on rails because he had no competition come the conclusion.
The fly in the ointment is Williams' Pastor Maldonado - the man in the dock more than any other driver this season given the incidents in which he has been involved - as he starts alongside Hamilton on the front row.
As in Italy, following his pole and win at Monza, Hamilton showed little emotion again when he clambered out of the car.
As he stood in between Maldonado and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who starts third, the gathered photographers clamoured for Hamilton to smile, to which he only just reacted.
Asked as to his apparent lack of happiness and whether there was any reason, Hamilton, in a deadpan tone, said: "No, I'm really happy."
Assessing what will now be required to again take the chequered flag, and given the prevalence of safety cars at this race in the past, Hamilton said: "It's going to be long and tough race, so I need to be cautious.
"I hope we've done the work needed to put us in a strong position for tomorrow. The key will just be to stay out of trouble and look after the tyres."
As to where Maldonado conjured his lap is anybody's guess, especially finishing ahead of Vettel who had been quickest in all three practice sessions.
The Venezuelan, without a point since his win in Spain, said: "I'm now really looking forward to the race because I think it's going to be a good one for us this time."
Vettel, a point behind Hamilton in the standings and 38 adrift of Alonso, was left perplexed as to where his pace disappeared from in the top-10 shoot-out.
"I'm a little disappointed, especially with Q3 and why we didn't make the step (forward)," the German said.
"It's still a good position to start from, and with it being a long race (nearly the full two hours without a safety car) a lot of things can happen."
Jenson Button starts fourth after finishing a second behind Hamilton in Q2 and six tenths of a second down in Q3.
With Alonso behind him, Button has the opportunity to play a blocking role and keep the Spaniard at bay, whilst Hamilton can race clear.
Button, though, still has his eyes on something better as he said: "It's going to be tough for everyone tomorrow, but you can overtake around here.
"Starting from fourth means you can hope for the best - a win - but the pace just wasn't quite there for me in qualifying. I hope it's better in the race."
Paul Di Resta produced another excellent qualifying performance and will start from a career-high-equalling sixth on the grid for Force India.