Lewis Hamilton claimed a second consecutive pole position - and Mercedes' sixth in nine races - with top spot in qualifying for the 2013 F1 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
The Briton twice bettered Sebastian Vettel's best effort to top the timesheets with a 1 minute 29.398 second effort, but will have the reigning world champion lining up alongside him after Mercedes was restricted to a single contender by a tactical error that eliminated British GP winner Nico Rosberg in Q2.
Behind Vettel, Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber shares row two with Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, while Romain Grosjean rounds out the top five in the sister E21, the last man to register a 1m 29s lap in the top-ten shootout.
Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo impressed again and was sixth as he tries to stake his claim for promotion to the Red Bull 'A' team, while Ferrari duo Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso both opted to run the harder medium compound tyre, like McLaren's Jenson Button and Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg, and they will start in positions 7 through to 10 - although Button and Hulkenberg both opted not to set a time in Q3.
Rosberg meanwhile will line up in eleventh after an error of judgement left him sitting in the garage as he slipped down the timesheets in Q2. Expecting to be in the battle for top spot, Mercedes played the waiting game, saving tyres for race day, but failed to spot Rosberg's slide, and when Raikkonen posted a late lap to haul himself from eleventh to second, and others benefited from an improvement in track conditions that Mercedes also failed to take into account, the Silverstone victor was out and not at all happy...
Rosberg joins Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez, Esteban Gutierrez, Adrian Sutil and Jean-Eric Vergne in the bottom six of phase two, although nearly everyone featured in the top ten at some point during the second session. di Resta failed to improve on eleventh spot with his final effort and was subsequently demoted by improvements from Hulkenberg and Raikkonen, while Gutierrez and Sutil also failed to move up the order before taking the chequered flag.
Further back, both Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado failed to progress beyond the opening phase, leaving the Williams duo to start the squad's 600th race from the final third of the grid. Maldonado briefly topped the times early on in the opening 20-minute session, but both drivers remained on the cusp of the 'drop zone' as the clock ticked down and, when Perez rescued his afternoon with a late lap worthy of 14th spot, Bottas was pushed through the trap-door.
The Finn lost a lot of time with an error on his final run, while Maldonado was likewise unable to improve on 18th position, eliminating the Grove team along with its rivals from Leafield and Banbury as Caterham and Marussia filled their usual positions at the foot of the timesheet, with Charles Pic in 19th and Jules Bianchi in 20th. Giedo van der Garde and Max Chilton fill the final row.
To see the full times from qualifying for the F1 2013 German Grand Prix - CLICK HERE