Nico Rosberg will start on pole position for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix after posting a sensational 1:35.121 at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Mercedes have never started from pole since the team returned to Formula 1 in 2010 but they have a clean sweep of the front row due to Lewis Hamilton's five-place grid penalty.
Hamilton posted the second fastest time of the day but he drops down to seventh with Michael Schumacher moving up to second to ensure an all-Mercedes front row for the first time since the 1950s.
Mercedes had been tipped to enjoy a spectacular qualifying session and the predictions proved to be correct with Rosberg posting a sensational time with his first lap in Q3.
It was enough to see him take a maiden Formula 1 pole position and the German confidently got out of his car with just under five minutes remaining of the session.
His rivals tried hard to close the gap but they could get nowhere near the pace of the Mercedes with Hamilton going second, almost half-a-second slower, but he will be hit with a penalty due to his gearbox change.
Schumacher was third fastest with Kamui Kobayashi coming through in the final seconds to claim fourth in his Sauber.
Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen qualified in fifth just ahead of Jenson Button's McLaren with Mark Webber seventh in his Red Bull. Sergio Perez posted the eighth-fastest time of the afternoon in his Sauber, while Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean ninth and tenth for Ferrari and Lotus.
Rosberg had led a Mercedes one-two in Q2 but the shock news from the second part of qualifying centred around Sebastian Vettel, who failed to make it into the top-ten shootout for the first time since Brazil in 2009.
The reigning world champion never looked comfortable in his RB8 and he finished just outside the top ten with Felipe Massa behind him in the Ferrari.
It was a relatively uneventful day in Shanghai with Caterham led Marussia and HRT all going out in Q3 but all 24 drivers are comfortably inside the 107 per cent margin.
Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying Result:
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.121s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m35.626s + 0.505
3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m35.691s + 0.570
4. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.784s + 0.663
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m35.898s + 0.777
6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.191s + 1.070
7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.290s + 1.169
8. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m36.524s + 1.403
9. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m36.622s + 1.501
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault No time
Q2 cut-off time: 1m35.831s
11. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.031s + 0.331
12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m36.255s + 0.555
13. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m36.283s + 0.583
14. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m36.289s + 0.589
15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m36.317s + 0.617
16. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m36.745s + 1.045
17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m36.956s + 1.256
Q1 cut-off time: 1m36.933s
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.714s + 1.516
19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m38.463s + 2.265
20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m38.677s + 2.479
21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.282s + 3.084
22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m39.717s + 3.519
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m40.411s + 4.213
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m41.000s + 4.802
Hamilton has a five-place grid penalty.