Jenson Button had no explanation after yet another disappointing twist put a dent in his world championship challenge.
The Brawn driver and championship leader, sweating in the Singapore heat, missed the top ten cut in qualifying for Sunday's grand prix, and afterwards told British television: "It's disappointing. That's all there is to say, really."
His team boss Ross Brawn called the result "disastrous".
However, the sting was taken out of his performance by the misfortunes of his teammate and most likely championship challenger, Rubens Barrichello.
The Brazilian veteran started the night session knowing that he would need to take a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, and then crashed during the Q3 segment whilst fifth quickest.
With the penalty, he will line up tenth in a repaired car on Sunday.
Instead, the plaudits went to pole sitter Lewis Hamilton ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, with Williams' Nico Rosberg a strong third quickest.