The Brit finished 0.452s faster than team-mate Nico Rosberg, with world champion Sebastian Vettel in third.
Mark Webber will start from fourth, ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta.
Daniel Ricciardo set the sixth fastest time, with Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso rounding out the top 10.
Ferrari opted to put Alonso onto the prime tyres for his Q3 lap.
Neither McLaren driver made Q3. Jenson Button finished in eleventh, with team-mate Sergio Perez down in fourteenth. The 2009 world champion blamed understeer for his premature exit.
Felipe Massa’s difficult weekend continues as he struggled to twelfth place, ahead of Toro Rosso racer Jean Eric Vergne.
Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado also failed to progress through the second session of qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas was narrowly edged out by team-mate Maldonado and will start from seventeenth. Esteban Gutierrez’s qualifying difficulties continue as the Mexican lines up in eighteenth.
Charles Pic won the battle at the back, ahead of Jules Bianchi, Giedo van der Garde and Max Chilton.
Van der Garde will however start last courtesy of his penalty from the Canadian Grand Prix.