Championship-chasing GermanSebastian Vettel nabbed his 11th pole position of the season on Saturday as his powerful Red Bullteam secured a front-row lockout for theSingapore Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old dominated the floodlit night session as Red Bull extended their supremacy with their 14th successive pole, a remarkable record that has given Vettel a good chance to retain his title in the 61-lap race on Sunday.
It looked good for McLaren when their British pair of Lewis Hamilton and Button went top of the timings in the final qualifying session but then Vettel went out again to go top by half a second for his 26th career pole, suggesting that he had been holding something back all the time.
His only real challenge at the end came from his team-mate Webber, but he had to settle for second on today's grid, with Button third.
Vettel said afterwards: "I think the circuit ramped up at the end and I think it was possible to go faster but I'm very happy.
"It's a very difficult track with such a long lap to get everything right. I think we learned from our mistakes that we made last year. Let's see tomorrow as it's a very long race," he added.
Hamilton said: "I was trying to get past and he was blocking, blocking, blocking. Eventually I got past and my lap was pretty good but then I got held up by Fernando but my pace is good.
The German can claim the championship this weekend if he gets 13 more points than Alonso and eight more than Webber and Button.
Vettel joined Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen who topped qualifying 11 times in a season. He's closing in on Mansell's record of 14 set in 1992.
Vettel could wrap up his second consecutive F1 world championship in the Singapore GP. With six grand prix remaining, he holds a 112-point lead over Alonso. Webber and Button are both 117 points behind. Hamilton trails by 126 markers.
The 61-lap Singapore GP is scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. (et).