Shanghai - Sebastian Vettel gave Red Bull their fourth pole position in four races with a searing late lap in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday.
Vettel on pole for Chinese GP
The German clocked one minute 34.558 seconds to pip team mate Mark Webber with his final lap and claim the eighth pole position of his career - his third of the year - and justify his position as favourite in Shanghai.
Vettel led Australian Webber to a Red Bull one-two in the last race in Malaysia and in Shanghai last year and the 22-year-old will take the lead in the drivers' championship with victory on Sunday.
Twice world champion Fernando Alonso of Spain was third quickest for Ferrari and will line up alongside the Mercedes of German Nico Rosberg on the second row of the grid.
Briton Lewis Hamilton had looked quick all day but had to settle for sixth place and a place alongside his McLaren team mate and world champion Jenson Button, who was fifth quickest.
Championship leader Felipe Massa of Brazil was seventh fastest for Ferrari ahead of Poland's Robert Kubica, who was again impressively quick for Renault.
On a cool but sunny Shanghai day, there was never the prospect of the torrential downpour that destroyed McLaren and Ferrari's qualifying last time out in Malaysia. Rain is, however, forecast for Sunday.
Provisional qualifying results from the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai on Saturday:
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:34.558
2. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:34.806
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:34.913
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.923
5. Jenson Button McLaren 1:34.979
6. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:35.034
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:35.180
8. Robert Kubica Renault 1:35.364
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:35.646
10. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:35.963
11. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:35.748
12. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:36.047
13. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:36.149
14. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:36.311
15. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber 1:36.422
16. Nico Huelkenberg Williams 1:36.647
17. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber 1:37.020
18. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India 1:37.161
19. Timo Glock Virgin 1:39.278
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:39.399
21. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:39.520
22. Lucas Di Grassi Virgin 1:39.783
23. Bruno Senna HRT 1:40.469
24. Karun Chandhok HRT 1:40.578