(CNN) -- Lewis Hamilton produced a scintillating drive to secure pole position for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal -- the first of the season for the 2008 world champion and his McLaren team.
Hamilton squeezed every inch of speed out of his Mercedez-powered car to record a time of one minute 15.105 seconds on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit.
Running on soft compound tires and so light of fuel his car had to be pushed back to the pits, the Briton edged out title leader Mark Webber and his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel, who will join him on the front row of the grid.
Hamilton admitted to being slightly "overwhelmed" after breaking Red Bull's dominance of qualifying this season, which had seen them claim all seven previous poles.
"I have so many memories that reminded me of my first pole position and first grand prix win here in 2007," said Hamilton, who always performs strongly in Canada and has claimed pole the last three times.
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest for Ferrari ahead of Hamilton's teammate and reigning world champion Jenson Button.
The big surprise was the failure of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher to make the final section of qualifying as he struggled to only 13th fastest in his Mercedes.
Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi again impressed to claim sixth quickest for Force India followed by Brazilian Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari and Pole Robert Kubica for Renault.
German Adrian Sutil was ninth fastest in the second Force India, with Nico Rosberg again outqualifying Schumacher by claiming 10th in his Mercedes.