German driver Sebastian Vettel claimed the first pole position of the 2010 season for his Red Bull Racing team, as he beat the Ferraris to the top spot in Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying.
Felipe Massa got ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso for the outside front row spot, while Michael Schumacher will start his comeback from seventh on the grid - one place ahead of world champion Jenson Button.
Alonso had held provisional pole early in Q3, as Ferrari was one of the few teams to go for two qualifying runs in the final segment of the session. But Vettel's 1m54.101s was 0.9s quicker than Alonso's initial best, and proved unbeatable as the rest of the top ten completed their final shots, securing a sixth career pole for the young German.
Both Ferraris improved on their second laps, and Massa came out on top, beating Alonso by 0.366s as the pair took second and third. Lewis Hamilton's first Q3 lap had been 1.8s off the Ferraris' pace. He improved on his next run, but was still a second down on Vettel as he took the outside row two slot.
Nico Rosberg was the quickest Mercedes throughout qualifying, claiming fifth while his team-mate Michael Schumacher was seventh behind Red Bull's Mark Webber. Button just managed to squeeze into Q3 - nudging Rubens Barrichello out of 10th place - before going on to take eighth. Renault's Robert Kubica took ninth, as Force India confirmed its testing promise was real with Adrian Sutil's 10th place.
Barrichello remained 11th for Williams, with Force India's Tonio Liuzzi between the Brazilian and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg - who was the highest qualifying rookie as Renault's Vitaly Petrov took 17th behind the Saubers and Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso).
With the new teams always unlikely to make it beyond Q1 at this stage, only one of the early eliminations was set to be an established contender. The struggling Saubers came close to dropping out, but in the end it was Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari who ended up in 18th place, thanks in part to a wild oversteering slide on his last lap that left him half a second away from progressing. Virgin was the quickest of the newcomers, as Timo Glock just edged out Lotus' Jarno Trulli to take 19th.
Karun Chandhok was finally able to get out on track for Hispania. Unsurprisingly he was 10s off the pace in what amounted to a high profile shakedown test, but he completed seven laps and lapped within 1.7s of team-mate Bruno Senna, who had at least had chance to get comfortable in the car yesterday.
1. Vettel - Red Bull-Renault: 1:54.101
2. Massa - Ferrari: 1:54.242
3. Alonso - Ferrari: 1:54.608
4. Hamilton - McLaren-Mercedes: 1:55.217
5. Rosberg - Mercedes: 1:55.241
6. Webber - Red Bull-Renault: 1:55.284
7. Schumacher - Mercedes: 1:55.524
8. Button - McLaren-Mercedes: 1:55.672
9. Kubica - Renault: 1:55.885
10. Sutil - Force India-Mercedes: 1:56.309
11. Barrichello - Williams-Cosworth: 1:55.330
12. Liuzzi - Force India-Mercedes: 1:55.653
13. Hulkenberg - Williams-Cosworth: 1:55.857
14. de la Rosa - Sauber-Ferrari: 1:56.237
15. Buemi - Toro Rosso-Ferrari: 1:56.265
16. Kobayashi - Sauber-Ferrari: 1:56.270
17. Petrov - Renault: 1:56.619
18. Alguersuari - Toro Rosso-Ferrari: 1:57.071
19. Glock - Virgin-Cosworth: 1:59.728
20. Trulli - Lotus-Cosworth: 1:59.852
21. Kovalainen - Lotus-Cosworth: 2:00.313
22. di Grassi - Virgin-Cosworth: 2:00.587
23. Senna - HRT-Cosworth: 2:03.240
24. Chandhok - HRT-Cosworth: 2:04.904