McLaren's Lewis Hamilton crushed all his rivals in taking pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix while a rule infraction sent championship leader Sebastian Vettel to the back of the grid.
In better news for Red Bull, Mark Webber qualified second fastest ahead of Vettel before the German's disqualification for not having sufficient fuel in his car for chemical analysis.
The 27-year-old Hamilton was simply untouchable as he steered his car to the fastest time in all three parts of the session, finishing with an outstanding best time of one minute and 40.630 seconds.
His dazzling display ended Red Bull's run of three consecutive races in which they dominated qualifying and produced front row lockouts.
Hamilton's best lap, clocked on his first run in the top ten shootout, was good enough to leave him three-tenths of a second clear of Webber.
Vettel's main title rival, Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, endured a frustrating session - though the Spaniard was bumped up a place to sixth after Vettel's demotion.
Williams driver Pastor Maldonado will start the race third, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus, McLaren's Jenson Button and Alonso.
Hamilton's pole was his sixth this year and the 25th of his career and gives him a perfect opportunity to end Vettel's run of four consecutive wins in pursuit of his goal of becoming F1's youngest triple world champion.
"I'm very excited. It's the first time for a long time to be ahead of the Red Bulls and starting at the front," Hamilton said at the press conference before Vettel's disqualification late Saturday night.
"It's going to be tough in the race and I hope we are strong enough to fight them once again. The car's felt beautiful all weekend but we've not made any improvement since last weekend so I guess it just likes the track and hopefully it will continue to like it tomorrow."
Webber said: "We did the best we could, it was a pretty smooth qualifying and we're still a long way up the grid. There's a little bit of friendly fire going on which we need to tidy up."
Vettel, who takes part in his 99th Grand Prix on Sunday, had suffered brake trouble in the last practice session and wasn't happy with his tyre temperatures in qualifying.
"I'm not entirely happy with the last part of qualifying. It was quite tricky for me. I should have been a little quicker."
The German has a 13-point lead over Alonso, having led every lap of the past three races.