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Alonso claims pole for Singapore Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso celebrates his pole position in Singapore ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.
Fernando Alonso celebrates his pole position in Singapore ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fernando Alonso on pole for Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix
  • Spaniard relegates Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel to second place on grid
  • McLaren teammates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button third and fourth fastest
  • Championship leader Mark Webber back in fifth

(CNN) -- Spain's Fernando Alonso stepped up his title challenge by claiming pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix with a commanding drive in final qualifying on Saturday.

The Ferrari star clocked a time of one minute 45.390 seconds under the lights on the Marina Bay circuit to push Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel into second place with Lewis Hamilton third fastest.

Hamilton's McLaren teammate and defending champion Jenson Button was fourth best, leaving current title leader Mark Webber in a disappointing fifth.

Vettel had looked the man to beat in the early practice sessions, but Alonso, who moved up to third in the championship standings behind Webber and Hamilton after winning the Italian Grand Prix, had other ideas.

It leaves the five drivers in contention for the title in the first five places on the gird with Rubens Barrichello in his Williams joining Webber on the third row.

We got 100 per cent out of the car, and that was the main target for us
--Fernando Alonso
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The fourth row will be occupied by Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica.

Michael Schumacher, driving in the first night race of his illustrious career, starts in ninth, but there was disappointment for Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari as an electrical problem during the first session of final qualifying leaves him last on the grid.

Webber leads the title race on 187 points, five ahead of Hamilton, with Alonso third on 166.

Defending world champion Button is also still in contention with 164 points, while Vettel is on 163 points.

Two-time champion Alonso was delighted to repeat his pole position from Monza.

"We got 100 per cent out of the car, and that was the main target for us," Alonso said while recognizing the unpredictable nature of the title race.

"It's been up and down so far. Sometimes we've been in the fight, sometimes not," he added.