Jenson Button took his first pole position since 2009 and maiden top spot for McLaren in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday.
Button, who has never qualified higher than fifth at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, put in a surging penultimate lap that would have been enough for pole regardless of his final run, which was faster still.
"Woohoo!" said a jubilant Button on the team radio.
Japan's Kamui Kobiyashi came a surprise second in his Sauber to join the Briton on the front of the grid 0.3 seconds back, with Pastor Maldonado finishing 0.32 adrift for third place in the Williams.
Sergio Perez in the other Sauber will start in fifth, with championship leader Fernando Alonso, who topped the practice times, in sixth.
Mark Webber achieved the seventh-fastest time but has a five-place grid penalty for an illegal gearbox change and must start in 12th, promoting Lewis Hamilton to seventh.
World champion Sebastian Vettel, last year's pole sitter, failed to make the final qualification session in a miserable afternoon for Red Bull, along with Michael Schumacher, and starts 11th, with the seven-time title winner 13th.
"Sorry guys, I had no more in it," Schumacher said on the team radio.
The Caterham pair of Heikki Kovalainen and Russia's Vitaly Petrov could manage only 19th and 20th, respectively.
1. Jenson Button (McLaren)
2. Kamui Kobiyashi (Sauber)
3. Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
5. Sergio Perez (Sauber)
6. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
7. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
8. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
9. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
10. Paul Di Resta (Force India)
11. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
12. Nick Hulkenberg (Force India)
13. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
14. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
15. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso)
16. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
17. Bruno Senna (Williams)
18. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
19. Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham)
20. Vitaly Petrov (Caterham)
21. Timo Glock (Marussia)
22. Pedro de la Rosa (HRT)
23. Charles Pic (Marussia)
24. Narain Karthikeyan (HRT)