Lewis Hamilton clinched his fifth pole position in Malaysia as engine troubles meant his title rival Sebastian Vettel did not set a lap time.
Qualifying got off to a frantic start for Ferrari as Sebastian Vettel's mechanics changed his engine in the gap between FP3 and qualy – two hours!
The German took to the track along with his rivals in Q1 only to report that he "lost drive", adding that it "feels like I've got no turbo."
He pitted without a time to his name, and never made it back out.
It is a huge blow to Vettel's championship hopes as the Ferrari driver, who trails Hamilton by 28 points, will start P20.
Hamilton, meanwhile, claimed pole position – his fifth at the Sepang circuit.
Sticking with Mercedes' old specification aerodynamic package he clocked a 1:30.076 in Q3 to beat Kimi Raikkonen by 0.045 seconds.
Max Verstappen was third ahead of Daniel Ricciardo while Valtteri Bottas, running Mercedes' new aero package, was fifth.
Esteban Ocon claimed sixth place, 1.4s down, while Stoffel Vandoorne was an impressive P7 for McLaren-Honda.
Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso completed the top ten.
Pierre Gasly in his first F1 qualifying session finished P15.
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:30.076
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:30.121 0.045
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:30.541 0.465
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:30.595 0.519
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:30.758 0.682
6 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:31.478 1.402
7 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:31.582 1.506
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport 1:31.607 1.531
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:31.658 1.582
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:31.704 1.628
11 Felipe Massa Williams 1:32.034
12 Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport 1:32.100
13 Lance Stroll Williams 1:32.307
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:32.402
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:32.558
16 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:33.308
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:33.434
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:33.483
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:33.970
20 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari