Lewis Hamilton edged his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to secure pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Hamilton, fastest in all three practice sessions, clocked an 1:35.782 to take the early advantage in the final shootout, but failed to improve on his second lap.
Rosberg, who trailed his team-mate by three tenths of a second after the opening round of laps, improved with his final flier, but missed Hamilton’s pole time by a mere 0.042s to give the reigning champion his third successive pole, and his fifth in Shanghai.
Sebastian Vettel was third for Ferrari, nine tenths adrift of Hamilton, but ahead of the two Williams team-mates of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.
Kimi Raikkonen was sixth after a messy final lap in the second Ferrari, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was seventh.
Romain Grosjean went eighth for Lotus, while Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top ten in the two Saubers.
Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado was 11th after he narrowly failed to progress to the final shootout, ahead of Daniil Kvyat, who endured a torrid run to 12th in the second Red Bull.
The two Toro Rosso team-mates will start 13th and 14th, Max Verstappen edging fellow rookie Carlos Sainz Jr. despite a lock-up on his final flying lap.
Sergio Perez completed just a single timed lap in Q2 on route to 15th, while his Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg missed the cut and dropped out in the opening part of qualifying.
Both McLarens exited qualifying early, with Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso a lowly 17th and 18th on the grid for Sunday’s race.
The two Manor cars will start from the back row, Will Stevens ahead of team-mate Roberto Merhi.
Image courtesy of Daimler