(CNN) -- Michael Schumacher's disappointing Formula One comeback continued with an unimpressive return to the scene of his last race victory on Saturday, as Red Bull again dominated qualifying.
Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix from first on the grid ahead of teammate Mark Webber, with seven-time world champion Schumacher back in ninth.
The 41-year-old German won in Shanghai four years ago, his 91st victory in a glittering career, but was again outshone by his young compatriot Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes.
Rosberg qualified in fourth place, behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, with world champion Jenson Button fifth and his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton -- who was fastest in Friday's practice sessions -- claiming the next place on the grid.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa was seventh ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica, while Force India's Adrian Sutil rounded out the top-10.
Schumacher was more than a second behind the best lap of one minute 34.558 seconds set by fellow German Vettel, who has won pole for three of this year's four races so far -- with Webber claiming the other.
"I am obviously disappointed about my qualifying," Schumacher told reporters. "It didn't really come together today.
"In certain areas I was just not quick enough, and at some corner exits I struggled a bit with rear-end grip. I haven't really found the balance of the car all weekend.
"It will be tough to be too optimistic for tomorrow from my grid position, but then I had some good starts lately and there is always room for lots of things to happen in Formula One races.
"We can still achieve some good points and I am definitely going to go for it."
The 22-year-old Vettel, who has won six races in his short career including one this year, insisted that he had a long way to go before being mentioned in the same breath as Schumacher.
"The greatness of Michael is untouched," he told reporters. "It is ridiculous to compare myself at this stage with someone like Michael. He is a legend and one of the best the sport has ever seen.
"I see myself as a racing driver, something I have been dreaming of since I was young. It is nice to be here part of Formula One and it is even nicer when you sit here [on pole].
"I'm not the oldest on the grid and at the moment I enjoy what I am doing. I don't know where I will be in five or 10 years, hopefully still in F1 if teams will sign me. But you never know, F1 changes quickly, as does life and so things could change."