(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel adapted to "tricky" and blustery conditions at the Circuit of Americas to pip his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber to pole position Saturday at the United States Grand Prix in Texas.
There was simply no stopping the four-time world champion, who will be bidding for a record eighth straight Grand Prix victory and his 12th of the season when the race proper gets underway in Austin Sunday afternoon.
Vettel looked to be second best to Webber until pulling out all the stops for a one minute 36.338 second clocking, just 0.103 seconds better than the Australian on his final run.
It was Red Bull's fifth one-two on the grid this season and Vettel's 44th career pole. It served as the perfect 40th birthday present for team chief Christian Horner.
"Happy birthday to Christian," said Vettel.
"It's a good result to have both cars on the front row. It was a tricky session as the wind picked up quite a lot from this morning. It's not that easy round the high-speed corners.
"It was a good battle with Mark, he has got closer and closer as the weekend has gone on," he told the official F1 website.
Webber was disappointed to miss out first place on the grid, looking to end his F1 career with a victory in one of the final two rounds.
"Today I let pole slip through my fingers. Well done to Seb. He put three sectors together and I put two-and-a-half together. It's not satisfying when you do that," he said.
Romain Grosjean was third fastest for Lotus, with Kimi Raikkonen's replacement Heikki Kovalainen an excellent eighth, coming in at short notice for his fellow Finn who has undergone back surgery.
Valtteri Bottas was also impressive for Williams to make the top 10 shootout and took ninth.
Behind the top three, Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber and last year's winner, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, were fourth and fifth.
Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg struggled in the windy conditions and with unresponsive tires to be back in 14th.
Fernando Alonso was sixth for Ferrari and the departing Sergio Perez seventh for McLaren, out qualifying his teammate Jenson Button of Britain, who will start on the seventh row with Rosberg.