Lewis Hamilton produced another remarkable qualifying performance to take his second pole of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Mercedes driver would improve on each of his laps in the important Q3 segment setting a new track record of 1m17.173s on the Supersoft tyre to end the three-race steak of Sebastian Vettel.
Valtteri Bottas almost emerged late on to spoil the party but the Finn would fall four-hundredths shy of his world champion teammate as Mercedes secured their first front row lockout of the year.
After hiding their pace throughout practice, Ferrari unsurprisingly turned up the wick and were much more competitive when the action got serious in qualifying.
For their strong pace in the first two segments, however, their drivers struggled initially in Q3 with Vettel fifth and Kimi Raikkonen only seventh.
Both would switch to the Soft compound tyre for their second attempts, believing it offered better grip throughout the lap, and so it proved with the German moving up to third and the 2007 champion just behind in fourth.
That meant the demotion of the two Red Bull drivers as once again the lack of a special engine mode for a boost in performance over a single lap would hurt them massively.
Max Verstappen would be just 0.002s faster than Daniel Ricciardo in fifth and sixth respectively but ultimately, the RB14's would be over six-tenths slower than Hamilton's pole time, one of the biggest margins all year.
Haas proved they have made good progress with the Barcelona upgrades as Kevin Magnussen inserted himself as the lead midfield runner in seventh and Romain Grosjean also featured inside the top 10 in P10.
The two home favourites, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, gave the Spanish crowd something to cheer by taking the remaining Q3 positions in eighth and ninth.
Alonso's result marked the first time a McLaren has made the top 10 all season, while the Renault driver maintained his record of outqualifying his teammate every year at his home GP.
The second McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne will hope to use his free tyre choice to make progress into the points from 11th as will Pierre Gasly who produced a strong lap in 12th for Toro Rosso.
Also impressive was Charles Leclerc, fresh from scoring his first F1 points in Baku two weeks ago, with the Monegasque 14th for Sauber.
He was the meat in a Force India sandwich as Esteban Ocon claimed 13th and teammate Sergio Perez struggling in P15.
Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise victim in Q1 as a fuel pressure problem left the German scrambling to set a time. He would get out on track, but improvements from others saw the Renault driver only 16th fastest.
Marcus Ericsson was a lowly 17th in the second Sauber, some six-tenths slower than teammate Leclerc, but the Swede wasn't helped by a late crash for Lance Stroll at Turn 12 bringing out the yellow flags in the closing moments.
The Canadian was behind his teammate Sergey Sirotkin as the two Williams' once again brought up the timesheet but a three-place grid penalty for the Russian will see him drop back.
Brendon Hartley suffered a big accident in final practice in the morning, spinning off at the near-flat out Campsa corner at around 160mph. The rear of his Toro Rosso would fall off as it was being recovered and unsurprisingly it was too badly damaged to be fixed in time for qualifying, meaning the Kiwi will start last.
Verstappen owns up to Monaco "mistake"
Monaco GP: Ricciardo flies to pole, Vers
Monaco GP: Red Bulls split by 0.001s as
No chance Grosjean will be fired by Haas
Williams insists current problems won't
Pirelli open to altering compound names
Alonso praises McLaren recovery after mi
Hamilton satisfied with Mercedes pace af
Verstappen: Red Bull has pace to negate
Monaco GP: Ricciardo completes practice
Monaco GP: Ricciardo leads Red Bull 1-2
Ricciardo sensing Mercedes mind games ah
Hamilton & Vettel enjoy back and forth o
Alonso rejects thoughts of a surprise Mo
Leclerc receives Vettel backing ahead of
Abiteboul: Red Bull incapable of recogni
Hamilton not completely ruling out Monac
Lauda admits there is a risk Mercedes co
McLaren chief eyes WEC with Alonso behin
Hockenheim warns Liberty not to chase mo
MotoGP's Marquez & Pedrosa to test Red B
Alonso excited to return to Monaco in im
Ex-F1 champion Hill believes Hamilton is
Ricciardo raring to go as Red Bull mark
Leclerc ready to make dream come true by
Ferrari fightback expected as Mercedes r
Red Bull set likely race for 2019 engine
Stroll Sr. maintaining faith in Williams
FIA president Todt confident Ferrari won
Red Bull's Marko offered mixed message o
Why an idea to host F1's 1000th race at
FIA reveal key factor in banning Ferrari
Mercedes boss surprised by level of Red
Pressure building at McLaren amid appare
Verstappen hoping to use Barcelona podiu
Hamilton rejuvenated and more passionate
Vettel concedes Pirelli right to alter t
Hamilton secures dominant win as Vettel
Wolff rejects suggestion Mercedes forced
Hartley thinks Spain practice crash was
Alonso bemoans McLaren's inability to cl
Red Bull drivers frustrated by qualifyin
Vettel's admission as Hamilton claims "i
Hamilton expecting Ferrari surge despite
Verstappen worried Red Bull's engine def
Kubica gives worrying Williams report af
Spanish GP: Hamilton leads as Raikkonen
Miami gives green light for F1 race in 2
Spanish GP: Bottas & Mercedes set rapid
Alonso's latest comments suggest he is f
Hamilton: Mercedes can't keep depending
Risk of team orders will hover over Red
Perez disheartened by lack of driver inf
Renault make early bid to make Sainz mov
Alonso tempers McLaren expectations ahea
Prost suggests a Hamilton weakness that
Wolff seemingly shuts the door on Riccia
Todt, Ecclestone questioned as part of I
Maldonado rejects "inappropriate" Versta
Renault allow Red Bull a little breathin
Williams protest Sirotkin penalty for Sp
Renault adamant Red Bull must decide 201
GPDA's Wurz hopes 2019 changes a first s
Hamilton: Easier for rivals to play catc
Vettel: Recent results are masking how f
Haas boss Steiner wouldn't expect a rook
Carey vows to maintain F1 "foundation" i
Alonso says Le Mans now his "priority" f
Toyota and Ford win incident packed seas
Toyota #7 disqualified from qualifying i
Ford and Toyota still out Ffont after FP
Alonso’s flying start in WEC
FIA's latest oil burning directive could
Lawrence Stroll not prepared to fund clo
Ferrari chairman more positive about agr
Red Bull advisor admits incidents are pa
Perez possibly the most underrated drive
Wolff: Mercedes' difficult start to 2018
Magnussen clarifies after stating he wou
2019 Miami GP could be on the cards as k
Brawn: Ricciardo became a "passenger" pr
Renault looking at options should Sainz
Red Bull has begun engine talks with Hon
Raikkonen reveals scary near-miss during
F1 Commission passes aero changes for 20
Hamilton critical of Vettel SC restart t
Red Bull drivers "screwed up" but won't
Gasly slams "most dangerous driver" Magn
Leclerc thrilled with first F1 points an
Alonso claims Baku recovery "one of my b
Bottas had "no idea" he had run over deb
Perez hails "best laps of my career" to
Hamilton: Baku win a reminder to never g
Vettel remaining upbeat despite losing A
Red Bull drivers put up united front aft
Azerbaijan GP: Hamilton inherits victory
Ricciardo reveals Q3 scare almost ended
Raikkonen regretful after error costs hi
Hamilton & Vettel ready for repeat of 20
Azerbaijan GP: Vettel scorches to third