Lewis Hamilton set a scintillating pace
to take pole position for the British Grand Prix
ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton's margin over the field was a stunning 0.452 seconds as Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber took third and fourth on the grid.
Vettel's title rivals Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso could manage only ninth and 10th.
Scot Paul Di Resta was fifth ahead of Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo.
Lewis Hamilton and David Coulthard fly with the Red Arrows
It was Di Resta's career-best qualifying position and Ricciardo, a contender to replace Webber next year, equalled his own highest grid position.
"It's an incredible feeling," said Hamilton. "It feels like [previous Silverstone pole] 2007.
"The crowd have been great - such a great turnout - that was a lap for them. I hope we can do something special in the race."
was his first since the Chinese Grand Prix in April
and it came as a result of what team boss Ross Brawn described as "a very special lap".
"It's definitely a great feeling to have the fastest car and the Mercedes team did a great job," said Rosberg.
"We are confident we have improved and some of the other cars may be better than us but finishing top two can only be good for us."
Vettel edged out Webber by just 0.009secs as Red Bull put themselves in a strong position for the race.
"We will see what happens tomorrow," said Vettel. "I don't know if Lewis [Hamilton] found a short cut or he just found something special here - it was a phenomenal lap.
"It is always nice to position well in qualifying here. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow and we will see how we are with looking after tyres."
Mercedes are still concerned about their rear tyre usage, especially with higher temperatures forecasted for the race on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton proud of pole for British Grand Prix
The race looks set to be fought out by the Red Bulls and Mercedes, whose tyre wear
in the cooler conditions of Friday was better than usual.
But Raikkonen and Alonso, who both admitted coming into this race that they needed to make up ground on Vettel, face a tough battle after struggling for pace all weekend.
Jenson Button won the internal McLaren battle by qualifying 11th and beating team-mate Sergio Perez by 0.4secs, but the team were way off the pace.
Ricciardo's sixth place on the grid was perfectly timed following Webber's announcement on Thursday that he will be leaving F1 at the end of the year.
is one of three contenders for the second red Bull seat in 2014,
along with Raikkonen and the other Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne, who qualified 13th after running wide on his final lap in second qualifying, which was on target to match Ricciardo's.
Englishman Max Chilton struggled in the Marussia - he qualified last, 1.7 seconds slower than team-mate Jules Bianchi.
Full qualifying result.
British Grand Prix Grand Prix, day three
Sunday, 30 June:
Race: Coverage on BBC One 12:10 BST, BBC Red Button 12:00 BST & Radio 5 live from 13:00 BST; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. F1 Forum 15:30 BST. TV highlights 19:00 BST, BBC Three