Nico Rosberg said his pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix was tainted by the ill fortune which struck Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who will start last.
A power failure in Q1 meant Hamilton was unable to post a time, while Rosberg sealed first place on the grid ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.
Rosberg has won both opening races of 2016 and looks well set to increase his standings lead over the double defending champion, but was not in the mood to celebrate on Saturday.
"The whole weekend has gone well. To get the lap done and put it on pole, I'm happy with that but not ecstatic because Lewis had bad luck and broke down," he said. "That fight didn't happen, but anyway I'm pleased."
Ricciardo, meanwhile, was thrilled with his place on the front row.
When asked to explain his efforts, Ricciardo said: "Not sure! To be honest, qualifying, I didn't think we started in the best position with the balance. We didn't really seem we were going to be in a fight with the front few.
"Second is pretty awesome - we didn't expect this!"
The Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were third and fourth respectively, although both were left to rue final-lap mistakes which cost them a shot of replacing Rosberg.
"On the previous run, the same corner, I ran very deep, too deep. The last one I was quite a bit up on that lap but I ran wide on the hairpin and obviously lost a lot of time," said Raikkonen.
"It's a shame, we had a chance to be on top today but that's how it goes. We'll try and make the best out of it tomorrow."
Vettel added: "I wasn't happy with a couple of small mistakes here and there which cost me quite a lot of time.
"We'll see. Nico's obviously starting on different compound. It will be interesting to see how the race unfolds. I'm confident. I think we can be quicker than the Red Bull and tomorrow our target is to get forward from where we are now.
"Hopefully it works out tomorrow. The first stint will be interesting to see how the tyres behave. We took a gamble today but unfortunately my lap wasn't good enough."