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As it happened: Qualifying
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Singapore © LAT
13:45 Hello everyone and welcome back to AUTOSPORT Live for continuing coverage of round 15 of the FIA Formula 1 world championship. The practice sessions have been completed and is now it is time to qualify for tomorrow night's Singapore Grand Prix.

Red Bull arrived at the Marina Bay circuit with the tag of pre-race favourites, and after three practice sessions so far the team has lived up to the billing, topping the list each time.

Fernando Alonso leads Ferrari's challenge tonight after a positive run in the final session, and McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton is expected to produce the goods around the city streets he triumphed on last year. Mark Webber leads to championship going into this race and he will be keen to qualify on the front row to give himself a good shot in the race.

Jenson Button has not featured highly on the timesheets so far, but the world champion's tyre management skills are well known - something that could play to his advantage as the weekend develops.

So it's all to play for as we go into qualifying with the rest of the field aiming to knock Vettel off his practice perch.

Vettel has been the man to beat so far
Vettel has been the man to beat so far © Sutton
13:47 Afternoon rain came and went, for the second day in a row, leaving the track damp for the start of on-track activity. Tyre choice was split for the opening minutes of practice between the hard slick rubber and intermediates.

Jaime Alguersuari was the first to test out the track conditions and set the initial pace. Soon, many of the drivers were out on the drying surface with Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel, providing much of the action as they traded the benchmark time.

A few pushed the limits too hard - Michael Schumacher ran out of grip under braking for the first chicane and decided it was quicker to straight-line the complex, while Bruno Senna overshot at turn 18 and found the marshals unwilling to push him back onto the circuit in the final minutes.

Vettel blasted his way to the front with a lap of 1m48.028s, with Alonso second, Hamilton third, Massa fourth, Rosberg fifth and Webber rounding out the top six.

Vettel on top again in final practice

13:49 Despite concerns from many that tonight session would be wet, the rainfall radar remains clear of showers as we go into qualifying.

A dry session is expected, with air temperature dipping to 28 Celsius and humidity remaining very high at around 80 percent.

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13:51 Here is how the qualifying battle is shaping up within the teams:
Qualifying head-to-head

Button          5 - 9      Hamilton
Schumacher	3 - 11     Rosberg
Vettel		7 - 7      Webber
Massa		4 - 10     Alonso
Barrichello	9 - 5      Hulkenberg
Kubica	       12 - 2      Petrov
Sutil	       11 - 3      Liuzzi
Buemi	       10 - 3      Alguersuari
Trulli		7 - 7      Kovalainen
Senna		0 - 0      Klien
Heidfeld	0 - 0      Kobayashi
Glock	       13 - 1 	   Di Grassi
Tyres get a work out here
Tyres get a work out here © Sutton
13:53 Ahead of a tight qualifying battle, the race engineers have been pondering an interesting set of data from the final practice session. With the track still damp in parts, the best laptimes on both tyre compounds were largely delivered after several laps warming the rubber, meaning lengthy runs are likely the way to go - for the first segment at least.

The super-soft rubber again looks capable of a decent first stint tomorrow, meaning it is likely to end up as the tyre of choice for the frontrunners in the battle for pole.

Further back, those fighting to avoid elimination are likely to find a little more laptime in the softer tyre and use it early on, while the championship rivals should comfortably progress through to the latter stages on the harder rubber.

13:55 Five minutes remain before the knock-out qualifying battle kicks off at Singapore's Marina Bay circuit.

13:58 The track temperature is 27 Celsius as the drivers get ready to do battle on the circuit.

13:59 Christian Klien is sitting in the cockpit of his HRT. His immediate aim will be to outqualify team-mate Senna.

0 min: Qualifying is underway under the lights in Singapore.

0 min: Tonio Liuzzi leads the queue of cars onto the circuit.

0 min: Schumacher, Rosberg and Senna are among the early runners.

1 min: Hamilton joins the early runners in his McLaren.

1 min: Vettel is held by his mechanics until the optimum time to leave the garage is signalled.

1 min: Schumacher will be using the softer tyre for his first run of laps.

2 min: Vettel leaves the garage and joins the early runners, as Schumacher almost loses control of the Mercedes at the first chicane.

3 min: Replays show that Schumacher lost the rear of the car on the artificial grass. He was able to continue after correcting the oversteer.

3 min: Webber, Buemi and Alguersuari are also on the circuit, as the first group of drivers head towards the end of the first timed lap.

4 min: Liuzzi sets the ball rolling with a 1m50.223s lap.

4 min: Hamilton is the fastest man through the middle sector as he comes round to complete his first timed lap.

4 min: Schumacher posts 1m56.079s and immediately slips down the order following that mistake at the first chicane.

4 min: Hamilton clocks a 1m48.454s to top the early order.

5 min: Buemi pops up into third place behind Hamilton and Liuzzi, with a time of 1m50.757s.

5 min: Kobayashi is up to second quickest for Sauber as the times continue to flood in.

5 min: Button knocks team-mate Hamilton off the top spot as he sets a 1m48.254s.

5 min: Alguersuari is now third behind the two McLarens as we see Bruno Senna almost graze the wall over the Anderson Bridge.

6 min: Vettel immediately go second, with a lap 1m48.357s, and Schumacher moves up to third at the completion of his second timed lap.

6 min: Both Williams drivers and Adrian Sutil have yet to join the track.

6 min: Hamilton set the fastest first sector but has been slow through the middle part of his second flying lap.

7 min: Alguersuari puts the Toro Rosso in second position with a lap of 1m48.196s.

7 min: Alonso is the fastest man through the middle sector and he does the same in the final part of the lap to put the Ferrari on top in 1m47.623s

8 min: Vettel crosses the line next and he tops the list with 1m47.303s as the gradual improvements in lap time are posted.

8 min: Mark Webber had a poor first lap, but is coming through to complete another effort now.

9 min: Webber slots into third position in the Red Bull with a lap of 1m47.794s.

9 min: Hamilton improves with a 1m48.296s but he is only sixth quickest.

9 min: Felipe Massa has come to a halt in his Ferrari.

9 min: The session has been stopped.

9 min: Vettel managed to find four-tenths of a second with a lap of 1m46.960s to extend his advantage at the front of the field.

9 min: Having failed to set a laptime, Massa will start from the back of the grid tomorrow. A costly blow for Ferrari.

9 min: Massa climbs out of the Ferrari and walks away. The Brazilian is visibly disappointed.

9 min: The rest of the field obey the red flag signal and the drivers come into the pits en masse.

9 min: 10m35s left on the clock, which is suspended during qualifying.

9 min: Massa's Ferrari is still stranded on the circuit, but a tractor unit now arrives to remove the F10.

9 min: With Massa out of the session, the pressure on the likes of Liuzzi and Kobayashi is now alleviated. They will safely progress through to Q2 - provided they stay on the road.

9 min: Massa may take the opportunity to put a fresh - ninth - engine in his car given that a grid penalty will not hurt him now.

9 min: The tractor unit is now taking Massa's car away to safety, while Massa himself jogs away from the scene.

9 min: Race control states that the session will restart at 22:15.

9 min: Barrichello, Hulkenberg, Kubica and Sutil have yet to put a lap on the board.

9 min: The session is back underway.

10 min: Nico Hulkenberg is the first out onto the track, with the clock now ticking through 10 minutes to go.

10 min: Alonso is straight back out in the sole remaining Ferrari.

11 min: Rubens Barrichello joins his team-mate Hulkenberg on the circuit. Adrian Sutil follows them in the Force India.

11 min: The protective foam padding is removed from Schumacher's Mercedes and the German climbs out, knowing that he is safely through to Q2.

11 min: Kubica is also out in his Renault, with the Pole yet to set a time.

12 min: The Williams drivers launch into a timed lap. Both will make it through to the next phase, provided they complete the lap with no problems.

13 min: Ferrari say that it looks like a gearbox electronics issue that stopped Massa's car.

13 min: Hulkenberg crosses the line and slots into 12th position with a lap of 1m49.454s.

14 min: Alonso improves with a 1m47.168s - just over two tenths off Vettel's benchmark.

14 min: Barrichello rounds the final two corners and manages to out-pace his team-mate with a lap of 1m49.228s to go 11th.

15 min: Glock is again leading the new team times, showing great speed around this circuit to back up his strong pace for Toyota here last year.

15 min: Mark Webber comes out for a second run in the Red Bull. Alguersuari, Buemi and Senna are also on the circuit.

15 min: Kubica goes third quickest with his first time of 1m47.657s.

16 min: Buemi is 17th, but is safe from elimination. He is 1.8 seconds quicker than Trulli's Lotus.

16 min: Buemi improves with his latest lap to 16th position with 1m49.555s, demoting Petrov to 17th.

17 min: Webber makes it a Red Bull one-two briefly, before Alonso takes the top spot with a rapid 1m46.451s.

17 min: Bruno Senna has spun on his latest qualifying effort. He keeps the engine running after a spin and is able to avoid another red flag period.

18 min: Hulkenberg has been on fine form this weekend and is now up to fifth quickest in his Williams.

18 min: Senna is 23rd in the standings, with only the stranded Massa behind him. The HRT cars are a massive 2.5 seconds off the Lotus and Virgin cars.

19 min: Alguersuari is also having a good day in his Toro Rosso and has split the McLarens with an improved time.

19 min: Glock takes over 18th position and the front of the new teams battle for Virgin, with his team-mate the Grassi in 19th.

20 min: Lotus wins the qualifying battle of the new teams more often than not, but Trulli and Kovalainen will need to come from behind on their final attempt.

20 min: The flag is out to end the first segment.

14:27 Trulli is not able to move up the order. Virgin Racing beats Lotus in the Q1 new teams battle.

14:27 Kovalainen splits the Virgin Racing pair with his final effort to move up to 19th, with a lap of 1m50.915s.

14:28 The first period of qualiying has been completed. The following seven drivers have been eliminated:

18) Glock
19) Kovalainen
20) di Grassi
21) Trulli
22) Klien
23) Senna
24) Massa.

14:28 Heidfeld is safely though his first qualifying segment of 2010 in 13th for Sauber.

14:29 Bruno Senna could only manage a 1m54.174s best effort in the first phase of qualifying - more than three seconds slower than Glock's Virgin.

14:31 Christian Klien made a better fist of the track conditions and will at least be able to see the Lotus and Virgin cars in the distance during the early laps of the race.

14:31 Up front, Alonso beat Vettel and Webber to the top spot after a strong second run from the Spaniard.

14:32 The remaining 17 drivers will now steel themselves for the challenge of trying to make the top 10.

0 min: The battle to make the top 10 is underway.

0 min: Kubica and Petrov join the scramble out of the pits.

0 min: Toro Rosso drivers Alguersuari and Buemi join the two Renaults on the circuit, with Liuzzi following them.

1 min: All 17 cars are already out and looking for space, heading around to begin a timed lap.

2 min: Kubica is the first man over the line to start a lap against the clock.

2 min: Alonso reports to his team that something is "strange" with his engine mapping.

3 min: Liuzzi is using soft the tyres for his first effort, but they don't help him through the Singapore sling as he loses control of the rear.

3 min: Liuzzi straight-lines the Turn 10 chicane, but is able to continue.

4 min: Alonso is told to pit, but argues it is best to bank a time.

4 min: Petrov has spun in his Renault, but has managed to pull the car out of the wall.

4 min: Vettel goes quickest of the early runners with a lap of 1m46.485s.

5 min: Petrov has clouted the wall at Turn 5, damaging the rear suspension. He is out of the session.

5 min: Kubica is second with Webber third, Alonso fourth and Alguersuari fifth.

5 min: Hamilton is fastest through the first sector with a rapid 28.721s.

6 min: The Marina Bay circuit is a minefield of traffic and hazards as the drivers fight to try and get a clear lap, dodging slower or stopped cars.

6 min: Hamilton completes his lap in very quick 1m46.042s to put himself comfortably on top of the times.

7 min: Button comes in third quickest with a 1m46.681s, over sixth tenths slower than Hamilton's rapid benchmark.

7 min: Alonso is back in the pits while the Ferrari team look at his engine settings.

7 min: Vettel has come into the pits and is now second, with Button third, Rosberg up to fourth, Kubica fifth and Barrichello in strong sixth position.

8 min: Michael Schumacher's first effort was very poor - 1m57.901s. The German is back into the pits.

9 min: Alonso is heading back out after tweaks to the Ferrari's electronics.

10 min: All 17 drivers have posted a time. Buemi, Kobayashi, Sutil, Heidfeld, Hulkenberg, Liuzzi and Schumacher are all in the drop zone.

10 min: Petrov is 10th but he will gradually slide down the order and out of contention after his incident on the circuit.

10 min: Vettel is out now to see if he can respond to the pace that Hamilton has unlocked from his McLaren.

10 min: Alonso reports all is now well with his Ferrari and he is pushing for a time on soft tyres.

10 min: Buemi needs to find just under four-tenths of a second to demote the Russian and move into the top 10.

11 min: All seven dropzone drivers are now on the circuit.

12 min: Buemi posts a first sector time that is equal to his team-mate Alguersuari, who is ninth currently.

12 min: Alonso clocks a 1m45.809s to top the times on his soft tyres.

12 min: Vettel is now on a charge with soft tyres.

12 min: Buemi backs off and will need to go again on the next lap. He remains 11th.

13 min: Hulkenberg posts a very good first sector time and is set to make it into the top 10 comfortably on this lap.

13 min: Vettel clocks a rapid 1m45.561s to reassert his authority at the top of the times.

13 min: Hulkenberg is using the softer tyre for this effort. He crosses the line and moves into 10th with a time of 1m47.674s.

14 min: Kobayashi improves to ninth place with 1m47.599s. This drops Hulkenberg to 11th.

14 min: Webber clocks a 1m45.908s but that's only enough for third and almost four tenths slower than his team-mate.

14 min: Schumacher moves up to ninth position with 1m47.160s, demoting Kobayashi to 10th and Alguersuari out of the shootout positions in 11th.

15 min: The flag is out on Q2.

14:48 Hulkenberg is on another lap as Alguersuari crosses the line, with no improvement. Alguersuari is eliminated.

14:49 Hulkenberg does not improve and is also eliminated.

14:49 Button improved on his soft rubber to take fifth in 1m46.325s.

14:49 Liuzzi is the final dropzone driver to complete a lap. He crosses the line with a better lap but does not move up from 17th - eliminated.

14:51 The second period of qualiying has been completed. The following seven drivers have been eliminated:

11) Alguersuari
12) Hulkenberg
13) Petrov
14) Buemi
15) Heidfeld
16) Sutil
17) Liuzzi.

14:51 Up front, Vettel was comfortably quickest on soft tyres from Alonso and Webber, while Hamilton took fourth with his hard-tyre effort.

14:52 Adrian Sutil said yesterday after practice that his Force India felt reasonable and that the aim was to make it through to Q3.

14:52 But the German and team-mate Liuzzi have ended up more than one second off the required time.

14:55 The following 10 drivers have made it through to the final qualifying shootout:

Jenson Button
Lewis Hamilton
Michael Schumacher
Nico Rosberg
Sebastian Vettel
Mark Webber
Fernando Alonso
Rubens Barrichello
Robert Kubica
Kamui Kobayashi.

0 min: The battle for a vital pole is underway in Singapore.

0 min: Button and Hamilton lead the queue out of the pits as the scramble for track position begins.

0 min: It's a long lap at Marina Bay and the drivers who are going for two runs are keen to get out early.

0 min: Alonso is keen to pass Hamilton on the run around to start a flying lap.

1 min: Vettel and Webber are among the early runners on the circuit and Barrichello joins the group after a minute or so.

1 min: Kubica and Kobayashi are still in the pits and may be planning a single run.

2 min: Button flashes over the line and gets the flying laps underway.

2 min: Hamilton is quicker than both Button and Alonso on the run through the first sector.

2 min: Rosberg is the leading Mercedes on the road, with Schumacher a few seconds behind him. The Red Bulls are a few seconds behind the Mercedes cars.

3 min: Vettel comes through the first sector point with a slight advantage over Hamilton, with Webber a further tenth back.

3 min: Hamilton's run through the Turn 10 chicane wasn't ideal but he's still quicker than Button so far.

3 min: Button crosses the line with a 1m46.185s.

4 min: Hamilton beats his team-mate with a 1m45.571s but it is Alonso on top with a 1m45.490s.

4 min: Rosberg goes fourth, with a lap of 1m46.844s, and it's a poor first effort the Sebastian Vettel - sixth.

5 min: Barrichello puts in a very strong 1m46.236s to upset the apple cart and move into fifth position.

5 min: Replays show Hamilton clattering awkwardly the chicane kerbs he complained about yesterday, so he will be looking to find time there.

6 min: With such a long lap, it is a scramble in the pits to refuel and fit fresh tyres to the cars.

6 min: After the first run, it's Alonso who is at the top, with Hamilton second, Webber third, Button fourth, Barrichello fifth, Rosberg sixth and Vettel only seventh.

6 min: Kubica and Kobayashi are now out for their single qualifying attempt.

7 min: Barrichello comes in sometime after the early runners. He takes on another set of soft tyres and get out with the main pack.

7 min: Alonso leads Hamilton out of the pits.

8 min: Webber and Button are behind Hamilton on the road.

8 min: Vettel is weaving vigourously to try in generate heat into his soft tyres as he heads towards the start of his final effort.

8 min: Vettel will be the first of the leading drivers to set a time.

9 min: The German crosses the line and begins his final assault.

9 min: Alonso and Hamilton start their challenge for pole.

9 min: Vettel runs wide towards the end of the first sector, but it is very quick at 28.3 seconds.

10 min: Hamilton's first sector is slower than Alonso and Vettel.

10 min: The flag is out, but it's not over yet ...

15:06 Schumacher and Barrichello both post 28.7 seconds in the first sector of their final attempt, one-tenth ahead of Rosberg.

15:06 Kubica goes sixth with his sole effort.

15:07 Here comes Vettel driving towards the line ... He goes second with 1m45.457s.

15:07 Alonso crosses the line - he doesn't improve but still sits on top of the times ....

15:07 Webber crosses the line and stays in fourth position. He improves his time slightly, but not position.

15:07 Hamilton fails to improve, with Button grabbing fourth.

15:08 But Fernando Alonso takes pole for the Singapore Grand Prix!

15:09 Vettel will start the Singapore Grand Prix alongside Alonso on the front row of the grid, with Lewis Hamilton in third.

15:09 Jenson Button makes it third and fourth for McLaren, with Webber fifth - all five championship contenders in the top five.

15:11 Button's late lap splits the championship contenders and this could play a pivotal role in the early laps of tomorrow's race.

15:11 Rubens Barrichello reduced a fine performance to qualify sixth, with Rosberg seventh, Kubica eighth, Schumacher ninth and Kobayashi rounding out the top 10.

15:12 That's a grid and a half we have for tomorrow's race. Alonso will be looking to continue the momentum, having won the qualifying battle.

15:13 Championship leader Webber is back in fifth and tomorrow may become a race of consolidation for the Australian.

15:14 Don't dismiss Rubens Barrichello's role in all this - if he jumps any of the championship contenders at the start tomorrow, then they will face a very difficult evening.

15:16 Here's the results of a thrilling qualifying hour:

Alonso pips Vettel to Singapore GP pole

15:18 Qualifying has served up a mouth-watering grid, with the drivers badly needing points at the front and the top two in the championship off the front row.

Barrichello and Rosberg put in strong performances and could yet cause one of the five championship contenders some pain.

A great race in prospect at Marina Bay. Join us for all the build-up and commentary from 10:30 GMT tomorrow.

Session length: 60 minutes
Cloudy High Temp: 29°C / 84°F
Track: Dry
Monday 20 Sep Start GMT
 Singapore Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 24 Sep
 Friday Practice 1 09:45
 Friday Practice 2 13:15
Saturday 25 Sep
 Saturday Practice 10:45
 Qualifying 13:45
Sunday 26 Sep
 Race day in Singapore 10:30