The German rookie Nico Hulkenberg delivered a stunning shock to the Formula One world title contenders by grabbing pole position for Williams at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Hulkenberg, managed by Willi Weber who guided Michael Schumacher to a record seven world titles, took command when dry conditions prevailed after a spell of rain.
The 23-year-old moved to slick tyres and was swiftly clocking the best laps as he cut his time by seconds to seize a best lap of one minute and 14.470 seconds.
This left him on pole, for the first time in his first season, ahead of compatriot and title contender Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team-mate and title rival Mark Webber.
Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, the 2008 champion, was fourth ahead of current leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and local hero Rubens Barrichello in the second Williams.
Schumacher, in his Mercedes, was seventh ahead of his former Brazilian team-mate Felipe Massa of Ferrari, Russian Vitaly Petrov and his Renault partner Robert Kubica of Poland.
Five drivers are still in contention with two races to go, but only Alonso can clinch the championship tomorrow when he enters the race 11 points clear of Webber.