The Spaniard topped the timesheets in two of the three free practice sessions prior to Saturday's qualifying battle and he continued to challenge in the shoot-out before eventually settling for fifth place on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg locked out the front row but Alonso was only 0.226 seconds behind pole sitter Hamilton and has plenty of confidence going into Sunday's race.

Alonso, fifth in the drivers' championship, has only achieved two podiums so far this season but with a solid start and good strategy he believes a third could come in Singapore.

"We have been competitive in all free practice sessions as we normally are, then in the qualifying we normally lose some time, but today we remained competitive in qualifying, so that is very good news," he told television reporters.

"At the end the position is fifth, but it is a very different fifth as we are only two tenths from pole position.

"So I am definitely happy and I think this gives us an opportunity to fight tomorrow with the leaders, which we are not used to. Tomorrow we have this opportunity and hopefully we can finish this weekend in a good manner.

"We will get a good start and overtake two or three cars and then we will play with the strategy."

Alonso will start alongside former team-mate Felipe Massa - now with Williams - on the third row, while Kimi Raikkonen was seventh in the second Ferrari.