Lewis Hamilton won qualifying for the Austrailan Grand Prix in Melbourne on Saturday ahead of McLaren teammate Jensen Button, while Russia's Vitaly Petrov will start Sunday's race 20th on the grid.
The all-McLaren, all-British front row was a spectacular challenge to the dominance of Red Bull, whose drivers had to settle for the third row with Mark Webber fifth and world champion Sebastian Vettel sixth.
Hamilton's time of 1 minutes, 24.92 seconds was 0.15 seconds ahead of Button. Romain Grosjean, who replaced Petrov at Lotus this season, took a surprise third with Michael Schumacher, who impressed in practice, qualifying in fourth for Mercedes.
The other surprise of the day was Ferrari's poor showing, with Fernando Alonso 1.5 seconds back in 12th and Felipe Massa in 16th.
Petrov finished more than 2 seconds off the pace in 20th, the same position as in practice when he put the humble result down to rain and techinical issues with his Caterham car. Teammate Heikki Kovaleinen finished one place ahead on the grid.
"For me that was an ok qualifying, maybe not quite what we had hoped for but we know there's more to come," Petrov said in comments posted on the team's website.
"We obviously lost time yesterday, and today the performance run was cut short in FP3 [practice session] with a hydraulics issue, but I pushed as hard as I could and I think my engineer and I are finding out more about how to fine tune the setup for me every time I go out on track so the more time I spend in the car, the better I'm feeling."
Petrov has good memories of Albert Park, where he got his highest-career finish with third place for Lotus Renault in 2011.
Petrov joined Caterham just a month ahead of the first Grand Prix, ousting veteran Italian Jarno Trulli, and his late arrival cost him valuable pre-season testing time.