Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Rosberg beat Vettel by 0.254 seconds with Alonso a further 0.083secs behind.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Mark Webber qualified fourth and fifth, but will be demoted five and three places as a result of grid penalties.
That means Ferrari’s Felipe Massa will start fourth ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta.
The Scot’s team-mate Adrian Sutil qualified seventh and will start sixth, ahead of Webber, Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen, who qualified ninth, Hamilton and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Hamilton earned a five-place penalty after suffering a tyre failure in final practice which damaged his gearbox, requiring it to be changed.
The Englishman, who will start ninth, said he felt it was unfair to be penalised as a result of a problem caused by external factors but added he would try his best to make up.
Webber will start seventh following a three-place penalty as he was blamed for causing a collision with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in China last weekend.
Button scraped through into the top 10 shoot-out in the uncompetitive McLaren and took 10th place having not set a time in the final part of qualifying.
1. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1min 32.330secs
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1:32.584
3. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 1:32.667
4. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1:33.207
5. Paul di Resta (GB) Force India 1:33.235
6. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:33.246
7. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:33.078* Three-place grid penalty
8. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Lotus 1:33.327
9. Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:32.762* Five-place grid penalty
10. Jenson Button (GB) McLaren no time
– – – – – – – – – –
11. Romain Grosjean (Fra) Lotus 1:33.762
12. Sergio Perez (Mex) McLaren 1:33.914
13. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Toro Rosso 1:33.974
14. Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Sauber 1:33.976
15. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 1:34.105
16. Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra) Toro Rosso 1:34.284
– – – – – – – – – –
17. Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Williams 1:34.425
18. Charles Pic (Fra) Caterham 1:35.283
19. Jules Bianchi (Fra) Marussia 1:36.178
20. Giedo van der Garde (Ned) Caterham 1:36.304
21. Max Chilton (GB) Marussia 1:36.476
22. Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Sauber 1:34.730* Five-place grid penalty