Rosberg on pole at Silverstone
Championship leader Nico Rosberg grabbed pole position for the British Grand Prix from a crazy qualifying session at Silverstone to again put Lewis Hamilton in the shade.
Hamilton was on course for top spot on the grid approaching the dying stages of a wet-dry session until pipped at the post by Mercedes team-mate Rosberg, with Hamilton backing off on his final run to leave him down in sixth.
After mistakes in qualifying at the last two grands prix in Canada and Austria, on this occasion it appeared to be misjudgement that cost the Briton dear, and again leaves him playing catch up in the race to Rosberg.
Rosberg will be joined on the front row by Red Bull's four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, with McLaren's Jenson Button third - for his highest grid position since the final race of 2012 in Brazil - for his home race.
Hamilton could offer no explanation as to why he aborted his lap as he said: "I don't know, I don't have much of an answer. I just decided not to do the lap."
Asked by the BBC as to whether he backed out as he perhaps felt he would not improve, Hamilton replied: "Obviously not. I don't have anything to say to you at the moment."
BBC pundit and former team principal Eddie Jordan, though, pulled no punches with regard to Hamilton's latest mistake as he said "It's a huge error and Lewis Hamilton, you're to blame."
Hamlton was on top spot after the first run in Q3, and come the start of the second run it appeared as if the track would be too damp in places for any driver to improve.
But that was far from the case as first Force India's Nico Hulkenberg went quickest and then Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.
As for Hamilton, he backed off in the middle sector down the Hangar Straight, yet directly behind him Rosberg flashed by and went on to take his fourth pole of the year, and third in the last four races.
Behind the top three will be Hulkenberg ahead of the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen, and then a lowly, downbeat Hamilton.
Force India's Sergio Perez starts seventh, with Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull eighth, with the Toro Rosso duo of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne ninth and 10th.