Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso made it two pole positions in succession as the top five title contenders locked out the top five places on the grid for the Singapore GP.
The Scuderia has yet to score a point in the city-state, but Alonso took the fight to pre-race favourites Red Bull and emerged on top, even though few drivers managed to improve their times on a second run in the pole position shoot-out.
The Monza race winner posted 45.390secs on his first flying lap to again reset the outright lap record, but Sebastian Vettel was still expected to have enough in hand to claim an eighth pole. However, the German – running first on the road – brushed a barrier and failed to pick up time despite being up through the first two sectors, and that pattern was followed by each of the likely contenders for top spot.
As a result, Alonso will line up at the front of the grid, with Vettel alongside, as McLaren team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button secured row two, crucially ahead of points leader Mark Webber.
A fired-up Rubens Barrichello claimed sixth, ahead of Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica, Michael Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi.