Lewis Hamilton claimed his sixth consecutive pole position on Saturday at the Belgian Grand Prix.
He beat his Mercedes team-mate and nearest challenger Nico Rosberg by nearly half a second. Valtteri Bottas of Williams will start third.
The two Mercedes were in a league of their own as the world champion took his 10th pole in 11 races in 1:48.908 seconds, 0.458 clear of Rosberg.
Vettel came into Belgium after the four-week summer break on a high after his dominant victory in Hungary, which was facilitated by an error-strewn race by Hamilton. Vettel and Ferrari had appeared set for a second-row grid slot in qualifying but they fell apart when it mattered.
Hamilton had lagged behind Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in both Friday sessions but solved his car problems to move onto another level on Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps.
The world champion’s pole was won in the middle sector of the lap, which features the vast majority of the corners.
Hamilton was half a second clear of Rosberg there, while the German more or less matched him in the first and third sectors, which are long flat-out sections punctuated by a single slow corner.
He became the first driver since Michael Schumacher 14 years ago to take pole six times running, and it gave him the perfect platform on which to extend his championship lead, which stands at 21 points heading into the race.
Ferrari had a bad day. Sebastian Vettel was ninth and Kimi Raikkonen, who suffered an oil problem that meant he could not move out of fifth gear, 14th.