A determined Mark Webber of Red Bull secured pole position for Sunday's German Grand Prix with a blistering performance in the final minutes of Saturday's tense and competitive qualifying session.
The 34-year-old Australian was dominant as unexpected nearest rival Lewis Hamilton grabbed second place for McLaren. The Briton's performance pushed defending champion Sebastian Vettel off the front row of the grid.
It was the first time this year that 24-year-old Vettel, the runaway leader in this year's title race, had failed to qualify on the front row and, overall, the first time in 15 Grands Prix since last season's Italian Grand Prix.
For Webber, it confirmed his liking for Nurburgring, where he claimed his first career win two years ago. He clocked a fastest lap of one minute and 30.079 seconds.
Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi was given a five places penalty on the grid for Sunday's German Grand Prix after his Hispania team changed the gearbox on his car. He had completed the previous race, the British Grand Prix, and had also used his 'free' gearbox change earlier this year.
Karun Chandhok qualified 21st for Team Lotus. Chandhok's best lap was 0.823 seconds slower than teammate Heikki Kovalainen who is 19th.