McLaren claimed a front row lock-out for a second weekend in a row, with Lewis Hamilton qualifying on pole position a tenth ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.

Michael Schumacher gave another strong performance in a frantic qualifying session at the Sepang circuit which saw the German put his Mercedes AMG in third position, the highest grid place since returning to F1 in 2010.

Lewis Hamilton
(Credit: Reuters)

Red Bull are yet to show the dominating performance that we have become used to in recent years, with Mark Webber qualifying in fourth and team-mate Sebastian Vettel could only manage fifth. However, the German opted for the hard compound tyres which could give him a tactical edge in tomorrow's race.

Kimi Räikkönen had posted the fifth fastest time, but was relegated five places due to changing his gearbox during practice on Friday, pushing the Finn down to tenth. Team-mate Romain Grosjean qualified in seventh.

The Lotus is looking strong again this weekend after showing good pace in Australia last weekend, and Räikkönen posted the fastest time in the second qualifying session in Malaysia.

Hamilton claims the 21st pole of his career, ahead of team-mate Button and Schumacher. (Credit: Reuters)

Qualifying was incredibly close at the top, with just four tenths of a second covering the top eight drivers.

It was another disappointing day for Ferrari as the drivers and team continue to battle with an under-performing car. Fernando Alonso will start the race in ninth after suffering problems with his KERS towards the end of the session.

Team-mate Massa fared even worse, only managing to qualify in twelfth and therefore failing to make it into the third qualifying session.

Paul di Resta claimed fourteenth place in his Force India, while the sister car of Nico Hulkenberg will start in sixteenth.

For the first time this season, all 24 cars qualified within 107 percent of the fastest time, which will see the HRT team start their first race of the 2012 season, having missed the cut in Australia last weekend.

The full results are as follows:

Pos  Driver                Team                 Time         Gap   
 1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m36.219s   + 0.149
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m36.368s   + 0.172
 3.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m36.391s   + 0.242
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m36.461s   + 0.415
 5.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m36.461s   + 0.439
 6.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m36.634s   + 0.445
 7.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m36.658s   + 1.347
 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m36.664s   + 1.479
 9.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m37.566s   + 0.242
10.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m37.698s   + 1.370
Q2 cut-off time: 1m37.477s                                   Gap **
11.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m37.589s   + 0.874
12.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m37.731s   + 1.016
13.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m37.841s   + 1.126
14.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m37.877s   + 1.162
15.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m37.883s   + 1.168
16.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m37.890s   + 1.175
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m38.069s   + 1.354
Q1 cut-off time: 1m38.437s                                   Gap *
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m39.077s   + 1.905
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m39.306s   + 2.134
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m39.567s   + 2.395
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m40.903s   + 3.731
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m41.250s   + 4.078
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m42.914s   + 5.742
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m43.655s   + 6.483
The race starts at 8am GMT tomorrow morning.