NANDO IN THE NIGHT: Title and pole favorite Red Bull team got their wings clipped in Q3 for qualifying for Sunday’s SingTel Singapore Grand Prix. After being called in to the pits to fix an issue on the car, Fernando Alonso put on a championship charge performance to deny Sebastian Vettel his eighth pole of the season.

The “numero uno” and two-time world Champion Ferrari pilot also won pole, and the race, in the previous round at Monza. Alonso’s time of 1:45.390s was 0.067s ahead of the German wunderkind.

The five protagonists for this year’s title posted the top five times.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton will start in third place, on the “clean side of the track” as he stated in post-qualifying press conference. The 2008 World Champion made a costly mistake on the opening lap of the Italian GP, and is looking to re-take the championship lead from Red Bull’s self-proclaimed “not bad for a number two driver” Mark Webber.

The Australian will start fifth as Jenson Button, the defending champion, will share the second row with his McLaren teammate.

Rubens Barrichello qualified sixth in his Williams.

Nico Rosberg, the star of Mercedes team this year, again out-qualified his fellow countryman and teammate, the 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher. Rosberg starts seventh and Schumacher ninth after advancing to Q3 for the first time since the British GP.

Robert Kubica is eighth and Kamui Kobayashi 10th on the grid.

While the Ferrari of Alonso starts from pole, his teammate Felipe Massa will start from the last spot after being stranded on the track in Q1. An engine problem is suspected.

CK is OK. Sakon Yamamoto is recovering from food poisoning and his place has been taken by Christian Klien. The Austrian, who earlier commented this could be his last chance to shine and claim a seat for next season, out-qualified the team’s regular driver, Bruno Senna by a margin of 0.772s.

SingTel Tones: In a story on Autosport.com the pole-sitter claims critics are too harsh on drivers. According to the Spaniard the intense competition of the season is the real reason why errors are more common.

“I think when you have a car that is better than all the rest, your approach or the way you do races is very different,” Alsonso told Jonathan Noble of Autosport.

The man sharing the front row with Alonso also shares the same view claiming that the tight nature of the season is making the margins between success and failure much smaller. Both Vettel and Alonso have made costly mistakes during the season, just like Webber and Hamilton.

Jenson, the smooth operator, seems to be pushing the right buttons and has a fighting chance to retain his title.

E-Trade: Bernie Ecclestone, a visionary who can see a grand prix taking place from Kabinda to Kazakhstan where oil wells dig deep, is so elated at the three-year old event in Singapore that he has expressed his desire to see the night race remain the same for 20 years.

“The race is a jewel in F1’s crown and keeps getting polished,” said the F1 Supremo.

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and Singapore night moves regards.