Mark Webber's title hopes have been dealt a blow after the Australian qualified fifth for Monday morning's season deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel set a scorching pace to take pole.
Championship leader Fernando Alonso came in third, considerably denting Webber's chances of snatching the title.
Vettel's time of one minute 39.394 seconds was followed closely by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who kept his slim title hopes alive with 1:39.425 to come in second.
Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button finished marginally behind Alonso (1:39.792) in fourth with 1:39.823, despite being out of contention, while Webber was a fraction further off the pace with 1.39.925.
The result sets up a tantalising final race with Alonso needing either a first or second-placed finish to secure the title.
Vettel remains 15 points behind Alonso in the drivers' standings and has given himself every chance should Alonso slip back to the pack while Webber remains an outside chance just eight points behind Alonso.
Webber, although disappointed, still harbours hope of a taking home the title on Sunday.
"We would have liked to be much further up but we couldn't get the pace so it's disappointing," Webber said.
"We need to be there at the end of course a lot of things can still happen," he said.
"We have haven't helped things by our performance today but at the end of the day we are still in the hunt and that is the main thing."