Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from pole, having snatched the position right at the close of Q3, to equal Nigel Mansell's record of 14 in a single season.
McLaren had set the pace throughout the weekend right until when it matter in the top-ten shootout with Vettel producing a near-perfect effort to duck more than a tenth under the target time set by Lewis Hamilton who had, in turn, pipped team-mate Jenson Button for provisional pole. The resurgent Hamilton will line up alongside the double world champion for the penultimate round in the F1 2011 World Championship, but the omens look disturbingly similar to India a fortnight ago.
Button will start third - just 0.009s off the sister McLaren - with the other Red Bull of Mark Webber alongside, as neither could summon enough to beat their team-mates.
Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, could not improve on fifth place with his second run under the lights, and will share row three with Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa. Neither of the Scuderia drivers' though managed to get into the 1m 38s bracket.
Nico Rosberg pipped team-mate Michael Schumacher as the Mercedes drivers battled over seventh, while Adrian Sutil claimed the inside of row five as the only Force India driver to complete a flying lap in the final session. Paul di Resta will thus far from tenth.
Further back, Sauber's Sergio Perez finished the second phase of qualifying just on the wrong side of the cut-off, his best lap a 1m 40.874s, which left him three tenths shy of Schumacher, who incidentally had only been a similar amount up on Team Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen at the end of Q1.
Vitaly Petrov led the Lotus Renault GP charge in 12th, ahead of Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and then his team-mate, Bruno Senna. Jaime Alguersuari, Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado took positions 15 through to 17, although the latter will start 24th and last, alongside his Williams team-mate Rubens Barrichello, as he has picked up a ten-place grid penalty for an unscheduled engine change.
At the rear, with Barrichello unable to get out due to mechanical problems, it was no surprise to see the remaining six places held by the 'usual suspects', with Kovalainen leading the charge from Lotus team-mate Jarno Trulli, as has often been the case this year. Then came Virgin's Timo Glock and Daniel Ricciardo - who had previously sat just a couple of tenths off the lead Lotus in his HRT - followed by Jerome d'Ambrosio and Tonio Liuzzi.
To see the full times from qualifying for the F1 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - CLICK HERE