World champion Sebastian Vettel stormed to pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday, the German pipping McLaren's Lewis Hamilton on his final flying lap around the Sepang circuit.
Hamilton had just set the quickest time before Vettel clocked one minute, 34.870 seconds in his Red Bull, just over a 10th of a second quicker than the McLaren.
Vettel's team mate Mark Webber claimed third spot on the grid, a further 0.205 behind Hamilton.
Vettel won at Sepang last season and is aiming for a fourth consecutive race victory on Sunday after claiming the season opener in Melbourne two weeks ago and ending last season with back-to-back triumphs.
The 23-year-old was clearly delighted with his qualifying effort."Yes boys, that's what I am talking about. Great job," he told his team over the radio as he slowed down after picking up a 17th pole position of his career.
Red Bull had opted against using the KERS power boost system because of reliability issues in Australia, but the extra speed it provides on the long straights in Sepang was enough to convince the team to employ it in Malaysia.
"We had a challenging weekend right up through qualifying," Vettel told reporters. "I was happy with the car but we never really got into a sort of rhythm so yesterday wasn't as smooth as we had hoped for.
Narain makes it to the grid
Indian Narain Karthikeyan was delighted after clocking a fast enough time to qualify for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
After a five-year absence from the sport, the 34-year-old Hispania driver will start in 24th position, a marked improvement for his team, who were too slow to qualify in Melbourne two weeks ago. Karthikeyan, who raced for Jordan in 2005, said he was delighted be in the race.
"We made it through qualifying which was our aim for today," he said.