Nico Rosberg repelled an initial threat from Ferrari to take pole position in a dramatic qualifying session in China, while Daniel Ricciardo snatched a space on the front row of the grid.
Rosberg trailed Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen after the first runs in Q3 but improved to take top spot by half a second with a time of 1:35.402
Ricciardo set a rapid final lap in Q3 to take second for Red Bull while Lewis Hamilton will start from the back after a technical problem in Q1.
Hamilton, who was already heading into qualifying with a five place grid drop for a gearbox change, encountered a problem with his ERS on his out lap.
Hamilton returned to the pits as Mercedes attempted to correct the problem but, after another slow lap, the Briton’s session came to an end without having set a time.
Hamilton will therefore start from the back of the grid at a venue where he has emerged victorious on four occasions.
Rosberg was thus able to cruise through Q2 on the Soft tyres, meaning that he will be able to start on that compound, rather than the Super Soft rubber, which is only expected to last a handful of laps.
Having been overhauled by Rosberg in Q3, Räikkönen was unable to find time and was usurped by Ricciardo, who equalled his best qualifying result in the sport, albeit over half a second down on the Mercedes driver.
Räikkönen maintained third as Sebastian Vettel opted to carry out just a solitary run in Q3 but ran deep at the hairpin en-route to fourth.
Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams, with Daniil Kvyat sixth, ahead of Sergio Pérez and Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Max Verstappen.
Nico Hülkenberg made it through to the top 10 but was unable to participate as his left front wheel detached at low speed during the final stages of Q2.
Hülkenberg was able to safely bring his Force India to a halt but was unable to set a time in the final session.
Felipe Massa narrowly missed out on a slot in Q3, having been ostensibly caught out by the red flag, while McLaren collected 12th and 13th, with Fernando Alonso ahead of Jenson Button.
Both Alonso and Button voiced their frustrations at the timing of the red flag, believing they were unable to demonstrate their true pace.
Romain Grosjean was 14th for Haas while both Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr made it through to Q2, but set the slowest times in the session.
Neither Renault driver qualified for Q2, with Kevin Magnussen only 17th and Jolyon Palmer in 19th.
Esteban Gutiérrez split the Renault pair in 18th position while Rio Haryanto was the slowest of the drivers who set a time in 20th spot.
Pascal Wehrlein caused Q1 to be halted after five minutes when he lost control on bump, where there was standing water, along the main straight.
Wehrlein half spun before clipping the barriers, causing damage to the left hand side of his MRT05.
Qualifying was delayed for 20 minutes while track workers attempted to dry the patches of water, which were underneath the two imposing overhead structures.