Mercedes continue their domination of qualifying sessions in the 2013 Formula 1 world championship season, with a front-row lockout at Silverstone. Home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg, who finished fastest in the two preceding free practice sessions.
Hamilton posted a stunning 1:29.607 in the dying minutes of the hour-long session, to beat Rosberg by 0.452s. The Red Bull Racing pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, who have been left trailing in the Mercedes drivers' wake all weekend long, could do little but ensure a second row start for Sunday's race.
Vettel and Webber lapped in 1:30.211 and 1:30.220 respectively, to finish approximately six-tenths off the pole position man; the gap is consistent with times from the practice sessions but, as ever, qualifying does not get you championship points.
Sunday's race is likely to play into the Red Bulls' hands given their superior race pace, compared to the Mercedes cars, and the fact defending world champion Vettel has a massive buffer of five cars (including his team mate) between him and his nearest championship rival - Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus.
Meanwhile, behind the top four, Force India enjoyed a superb qualifying session, with Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil coming in fifth and seventh respectively. A hard charging Daniel Ricciardo claimed sixth for Toro Rosso - his second top ten qualifying performance of the year.
The young Australian had a good start to the race weekend too, finishing fastest in a rain-affected (and admittedly somewhat farcical) opening practice session on Friday.
The Lotus-Renaults of Romain Grosjean and Raikkonen will start eighth and ninth, ahead of the leading Ferrari of Fernando Alonso.
The scarlet cars have had a miserable weekend so far and desperately need to find some speed on Sunday or risk falling further behind in the race for the world championships.
For the full qualifying results and the provisional grid, click here.