Kimi Raikkonen stole the limelight from Jenson Button to claim pole position for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The Finn scored his third pole position, his first since the United States last season, with a brilliant lap to show the potential of his new McLaren.
Raikkonen's lap of one minute 18.233 seconds was just 0.072secs faster than Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello, with Button third.
Button had faced a nervous wait to see if the predicted rain would stay away after opting for a different strategy to his rivals in pre-qualifying.
Many other drivers deliberately drove slow in pre-qualifying to avoid the rain, but it never came and Button looked on track to take pole before
slipping in the last sector and ending up third.
World champion Michael Schumacher, who instigated the go-slow session, will start Sunday's race from fourth after his best effort was nearly half a
second slower than Raikkonen. Renault enjoyed a solid day's work with Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso qualifying fifth and sixth respectively.
Scotsman David Coulthard put in a disappointing lap to claim seventh, almost a second slower than team-mate Raikkonen. The threat of rain made
Saturday's pre-qualifying session something of a joke.
The session, which determines the order for qualifying proper, became a contest to see who could go slowest, with teams expecting late runners to
suffer wet conditions. The Ferraris of Schumacher and Barrichello spun in what appeared to be a deliberate move to clock slow times without giving
away their tactic to rivals.
Button put in a fast lap but soon most drivers were slowing to a crawl on the start-finish straight. Juan Pablo Montoya was the first of the big names
to hit the track in qualifying proper and he quickly went fastest, ahead of Williams team-mate Marc Gene and the Jaguar pair of Mark Webber and
Christian Klien, who were slowest in pre-qualifying.
Schumacher instantly dropped Montoya down to second though with an impressive lap, wiping more than half a second off the Colombian's effort.
Schumacher's time looked a fair bet for pole position but his team-mate Barrichello pulled out all the stops to go even quicker with a time three
seconds faster than his pole time of last year. Coulthard could not continue the trend of improving lap times and was almost a second down on
Barrichello with his effort.
As the clouds grew darker, Renault's Fernando Alonso moved into third before a stunning lap from Raikkonen put him on top of the timing sheets. Button
was last out and was expected to face a wet track but the British weather was kind and he just missed out on an emotional pole.
Giancarlo Fisichella did not turn a wheel in anger in either session after incurring a 10-place penalty for an engine change on Friday. The Italian
opted to stay in the pits, meaning Sauber will be able to work on his car overnight at the cost of starting from the pitlane.