One year on from his last Formula One victory, Fernando Alonso's bid for pole position in the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix ended on his out-lap in the second phase of qualifying.
The Spaniard, who had paced both the second and third practice sessions on the Marina Bay course, appeared a solid bet for a leading grid slot, but failed to make it past the waterfront section as his Renault crawled to a halt.
The double world champion could have been joined by this year's points leader, as Lewis Hamilton struggled to put in a tidy lap and then had to watch as he dropped down the order, eventually coming to rest in tenth spot, just a tenth clear of making his second Q2 exit in as many races. The McLaren looked ragged, with Hamilton locking his right front wheel on more than one occasions, and could only take eighth spot as a result. His time of 1min 44.932secs proved to be just enough
Instead, Jarno Trulli joined Jenson Button and the two Red Bull drivers - along with Alonso - in the drop zone. The Italian had yo-yo'd across the divide, but his final improvement did not take him high enough to escape improvements elsewhere, notably from Toyota team-mate Timo Glock and Toyota-powered Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima. David Coulthard and Mark Webber, meanwhile, were running 'behind' Hamilton on the road - although the Scot's proximity to the McLaren likely denied his fellow Briton a final flying lap - but could not improve on their last-gasp efforts, settling for 14th and 13th respectively.
Felipe Massa took over at the top of the times, posting a weekend-best 1min 44.014secs effort to secure his place in the shoot-out, where he will be joined by Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Glock, Robert Kubica, Nick Heidfeld, Nakajima and Hamilton.