Lewis Hamilton put in a dominant display, leading the way in all three qualifying segments on his way to pole position.
The McLaren driver had been quickest in Friday's practices at the Hungaroring and followed that up with a P1 time in Q1 and again in Q2. However, it was the final segment that really counted.
Romain Grosjean put in a late effort to take second place on the grid, 0.413s down on the McLaren driver while Sebastian Vettel was third ahead of Jenson Button.
Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will make up the third row of the grid.
There was no sign of rain at the Hungaroring as the sun beat down on a track that was hovering between 45C and 46C with an ambient of 30C.
Romain Grosjean was out early and started a pattern that would be often repeated in the qualifying hour, he missed his braking for Turn 1 and went straight on. Thus it was team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who set the first serious P1 time at 1:23.273. Nobody bettered it until Kimi came through again lowering it to 1:22.689.
Lewis Hamilton was consistently the fastest driver in Sector 1 but often had to back off mid-lap when he encountered traffic. He was next at the top of the timesheets with a 1:22.371 before he lowered that to 1:21.794. Lewis, like most, was using the Medium tyre
A re-invigorated Bruno Senna put his Williams into P2 behind Lewis while Felipe Massa seemed to be getting the better of Fernando Alonso in the intra-Ferrari battle.
With five minutes to go many of the teams were beginning to get nervous and strap on the faster Soft tyre. The danger positions were: 14.Perez, 15.Kobayashi, 16.Alonso, 17.DiResta, 18.Kovalainen, 19.Petrov, 20.Ricciardo.
Ricciardo moved up to P13, while Alonso and DiResta made themselves super-safe in P2 and P2 (DiResta going ahead of Alonso), Nico Rosberg slotted in between them in P3.
With the new teams taking the last six places, that made the edge of the dropzone: 16.Ricciardo, 17.Perez, 18.Kobayashi.
Button (who'd dropped to 14th) put himself in P3 and Perez eased clear in P6. That left the dropzone looking like: 15.Webber, 16.Vettel, 17.Ricciardo, 18.Kobayashi.
Kobayashi was out on track but Ricciardo had gone back to the garage, so when the Sauber driver put in a final lap to get himself P15, Ricciardo was out. It was the first time the Aussie had been eliminated in P18, that honour usually falling to his team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne - for which it's happened five times).
So out went: 18.Ricciardo, 19.Kovalainen, 20.Petrov, 21.Pic, 22.Glock, 23.de la Rosa, 24.Karthikeayn.
It was another great qualifying session for Charles Pic who is gaining ascendency over Tom Glock in the Marussia qualifying..
Times came down in Q2 as we got some cloud cover and although the session started with the track at 46C, by the end it was 40C. Felipe Massa set a great benchmark time of 1:21.951 with everyone switching to Soft tyres now.
Hulkenberg lowered the mark to 1:21.906, Button edged it down to 1:21.880 and Grosjean took it lower with a 1:21.854. Kimi Raikkonen was quicker than his team-mate, though and set P1 at 1:21.614.
Lewis Hamilton on his first set of softs set a very slow first lap and then nailed it on the second. His 1:21.060 put him over half a second clear and he wouldn't have to run again.
Running into the final five minutes the danger positions were: 7.Massa, 8.Vettel, 9.Perez, 10.Alonso, 11.Senna, 12.DiResta, 13.Rosberg, 14.Kobayashi, 15.Schumacher, 16.Maldonado, 17.Vergne.
Nobody felt safe and even Mark Webber who held P3 decided to go again. His fears were well-placed. Vergne claimed P13, Massa promoted himself to P2, Alonso took P3, Rosberg could only manage P8, Button made himself safe in P5, Vettel made himself even safer in P2 while Mark Webber - who had dropped by now to P7 - could only manage P7 again.
When Bruno Senna put his Williams into P8, that nudged Rosberg into P10 and Perez into P11. Then Maldonado grabbed hold of P3 pushing Webber into P9 and Senna into P10 and both Perez and Rosberg were gone. Nico Hulkenberg then put his Force India into P8 and when Senna recovered to P10 that meant Webber (who'd topped final practice this morning) was out.
Michael Schumacher was lingering back in P17 but was following Maldonado and when Pastor put a wheel on the dirt and clouds of it into the air, Michael abandoned his final attempt to get out of Q2.
So out went: 11.Webber, 12.DiResta, 13.Rosberg, 14.Perez, 15.Kobayashi, 16.Vergne, 17.Schumacher.
It was a great result for Williams to get both cars into Q3, but worrying for Mercedes that they could only manage 13th and 17th.
Temperatures were on the rise again for Q3 but Lewis Hamilton didn't help himself by muffing his first lap, running off circuit. That left the stage clear for Kimi Raikkonen to set provisional pole at 1:21.717.
When Lewis finally got his lap in it was half a second quicker at 1:21.260. Pastor Maldonado aborted a flying lap on used tyres so after the first runs only four cars had set a time with the order: 1.Hamilton, 2.Grosjean, 3.Button, 4.Raikkonen.
The reason there was only four times on the board was that everyone had used a lot of soft tyres in their bid to get to Q3. Vettel came out and looked like he was heading for pole on his single flying lap - at one point he was 0.15 up on Hamilton, but lost it in the final sector to finish P2.
Bruno Senna ruined his first run by going straight on at Turn 1, team-mate Maldonado grabbed P4, Hulkenberg put his Force India into P7, Alonso took P4 and Massa came up just short of him in P5. Button leapt them both to put his McLaren into P3 as Lewis Hamilton came out again to lower the provisional pole to 1:20.953.
Nobody was going to beat that but Romain Grosjean gave himself a front row start with a late run for P2. Hamilton's pole was McLaren's 150th pole position. Vettel is still in contention back in P3 but both men will fear the ability of Grosjean and Raikkonen's Lotus to look after its tyres in the race. The forecast for Sunday is hot with thundery showers, but Lotus will be hoping that the sun beats down and produces track temperatures in the mid-forties.
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:20.953
2 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:21.366 0.413
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:21.416 0.463
4 Jenson Button McLaren 1:21.583 0.630
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:21.730 0.777
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:21.844 0.891
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.900 0.947
8 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:21.939 0.986
9 Bruno Senna Williams 1:22.343 1.390
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:22.847 1.894
11 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:21.715
12 Paul di Resta Force India 1:21.813
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.895
14 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:21.895
15 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:22.300
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:22.380
17 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:22.723
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:23.250
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:23.576
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:24.167
21 Charles Pic Marussia 1:25.244
22 Timo Glock Marussia 1:25.476
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:25.916
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:26.178