In a story that is becoming all too familiar this season, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have locked out the front row of the grid for Sunday's British GP.
The Red Bull duo traded fastest lap times throughout the opening two qualifying segments on Saturday afternoon, Vettel then claimed the team's ninth pole position from ten grands prix with his 1:29.615, edging Mark Webber by 0.143s.
And the Bulls had a massive advantage over third placed Fernando Alonso, who was 0.811s adrift of Vettel while Lewis Hamilton, who pulled out a great save to qualifying P4, was the only other driver to get within a second of Vettel's time.
Meanwhile, Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button was the biggest casualty of qualifying as the Brit, who had struggled for pace throughout the weekend, failed to make it through to Q3. He will start the grand prix 14th on the grid.
With an unusually hot sun beating down on the new Silverstone circuit, the ambient temperature was up to 25C with the track at 37C before an almost capacity crowd.
Fernando Alonso was the first driver to duck under the 1:32 second mark and set the P1 time at 1:31.795, Nico Rosberg lowered that to 1:31.684, Vettel reduced it to 1:31.591, Rubens Barrichello (of all people) pushed it down to 1:31.424 before Mark Webber showed what a really hot lap from a Red Bull could be.
Webbo took P1 with a 1:30.988, with Lewis Hamilton slotting into P2, then Sutil and then Alonso. Sebastian Vettel with a slightly newer front wing than Webber snatched P1 off him with a 1:30.841
Heading into the final five minutes of the twenty-minute session it was the new cars at the back with: 13.de la Rosa, 14.Hulkenberg, 15.Button, 16.Kobayashi, 17.Liuzzi, 18.Alguersuari.
Alguersuari managed to improve to P17, Button leapt forward to P7, Liuzzi struggled past Alguersuari to P16 and Kobayashi grabbed P13, pushing Liuzzi back into P17 (but still safe).
Alguersuari (who'd failed early) was the fall guy but out on track the new cars were still embroiled in their own battle. Timo Glock grabbed P19 in the dying seconds of the session, only to be beaten by Heikki Kovalainen. The returning Sakon Yamamoto was well off the pace, as might be expected from a driver adapting to the new F1 slicks.
So out went: 18.Alguersuari
Lewis Hamilton was out early in the second session and set the benchmark pole time of 1:31.286, this was edged down by Alonso who took it to 1:31.019 before Mark Webber put the Red Bull dominance into perspective with a 1:30.436 - a time that Vettel couldn't beat on his opening lap.
Jenson Button, although finishing Q1 with the 8th fastest time was really struggling and his opening lap time was only 14th fastest.
As we headed into the final five minutes the danger positions were: 8.de la Rosa, 9.Sutil, 10.Rosberg, 11.Kobayashi, 12.Kubica, 13.Liuzzi, 14.Button, 15.Hulkenberg, 16.Buemi, 17.Petrov
Petrov slowed on his return to the pits and was collected by the Renault mechanics who rushed up the pitlane and still managed to send him on his way for one final effort.
Nico Hulkenberg's attempts to match his faster team-mate Rubens Barrichello were harmed when Tonio Liuzzi chopped across him at the high speed Becketts corner. Liuzzi had already baulked Jenson Button in Q1, but this had much greater significance to the result of Q2.
Button stayed 14th on his first fun, Nico Rosberg jumped forward to P6, Liuzzi stayed in P15 and then Button much to the dismay of the 110,000 crowd also stayed where he was in P14.
In the final stages of the session Pedro de la Rosa jumped up to P9 and Robert Kubica grabbed P10.
So out went: 11.Adrian Sutil
Button complained that the car had been undrivable, but with Hamilton ultimately finishing P4 on the grid questions marks will be raised over the set-up and information sharing in the McLaren garage - because to have cars in P4 and P14 is a serious team error.
Adrian Sutil was also a surprise elimination, the Force India driver having finished Q1 in a very strong P4 position.
The two Ferraris came out very close together at the beginning of the final session with Alonso showing signs of wanting to get in front of Massa on track but ultimately dropping back. Massa had a disastrous opening sector losing 0.6 of a second to his team-mate a 25.6 compared to Alonso's 25.0 - credit to Felipe that it was only 0.35 by the end of the lap.
Massa's provisional P1 time was 1:30.785 with Alonso a 1:30.426 and Hamilton slower in P2. However they were both keeping the front row 'warm' for Red Bull.
Mark Webber stormed through with a 1:29.758 and Sebastian Vettel bettered it with a 1:29.695.
Michael Schumacher, Robert Kubica and Pedro de la Rosa chose to go for only one timed run, so after the opening skirmish the order was: 1.Vettel, 2.Webber, 3.Alonso, 4.Hamilton, 5.Rosberg, 6.Barrichello, 7.Massa.
Into the second runs and Alonso was angered to be slowed by Rubens Barrichello at the end of his second run. Ultimately it didn't matter as Hamilton's second hot lap although faster at 1:30.556 was not going to displace the Ferrari driver from 3rd on the grid.
Felipe Massa improved, but Robert Kubica slipped past him into P6, demoting Rubens Barrichello to P8. Michael Schumacher had only shot at a lap time, and although he had been faster than team-mate Rosberg in Q2, wound up P10 behind de la Rosa.
At the front Mark Webber couldn't improve his time, so before Vettel even crossed the line on his second run he knew he had pole, however he still opted to finish the lap and reduced the pole time to 1:29.615, a whole 0.8 ahead of Alonso in third.
It was a dominant Red Bull performance, though in the press conference afterwards Mark Webber was noticeably downbeat, perhaps thinking about the edge that the new front wing had given Vettel.
Given Webber's poor start in Valencia, Alonso must fancy his chances of having a run at one or more of the Red Bulls on the opening lap tomorrow. Lewis Hamilton will do well to finish on the podium given the liveliness of the Mclaren over the circuit's many bumps for a race distance. Jenson Button may be looking to start on hard tyres and grind his way forward to about 7th or 8th.
With a wide, fast circuit, it will certainly be a spectacular opening lap on Sunday.
01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:29.615
02. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:29.758
03. Alonso Ferrari 1:30.426
04. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:30.556
05. Rosberg Mercedes 1:30.625
06. Kubica Renault 1:31.040
07. Massa Ferrari 1:31.172
08. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:31.175
09. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:31.274
10. Schumacher Mercedes 1:31.430
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:31.399
12. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:31.421
13. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:31.635
14. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:31.699
15. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:31.708
16. Petrov Renault 1:31.796
17. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:32.012
18. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:32.430
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:34.405
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:34.775
21. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:34.864
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:35.212
23. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:36.576
24. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:36.968