Daniel Ricciardo will start eighth on the grid for Renault at the French Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton seized pole position in record time.
Formula One world championship leader Hamilton was 0.286 seconds quicker than Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
But Australian racer Ricciardo also enjoyed a strong session in his improving Renault, easing through into Q3 to secure a top-ten starting place for the sixth time this season.
“I’m content with eighth place today; we kept up our recent run of Q3 appearances,” said 29-year-old Ricciardo.
“I felt there wasn’t much more lap time left out there and eighth was probably the maximum. I made a mistake on the first Q2 run, so I aborted that and then put the medium tyre on.
“It was a risk as it was the first time we had run it all weekend. But clearly the team knew it was going to pay off as I managed a good lap to get through to Q3.
“The grid tomorrow is interesting with more or less everyone starting on the Mediums. I’ll target the cars ahead and aim for a good race.”
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc qualified third with teammate Sebastian Vettel a distant seventh on a distinctly off day for the German.
The pole, in a time of one minute 28.319 seconds, was a record-extending 86th of Hamilton’s career and his third of the season.
“I’m happy that I got the potential out of the car, the team did a fantastic job,” said five-times world champion Hamilton, last year’s winner from pole at Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard circuit.
“We’ve just been chipping away at improving the set-up of the car,” added the Briton, who is 29 points clear of Bottas after seven races — all won by the pair. Hamilton also triumphed in the last two of 2018.
Bottas was fastest in the second phase of qualifying but could not match Hamilton’s sizzling pace when it mattered in the final shoot-out.
Mercedes have looked to be in a class of their own all weekend, with Hamilton or Bottas fastest in every practice session with Leclerc, rather than Vettel, consistently the best of the rest.
Vettel struggled, backing out of his first hot lap and then failing to string together all the sectors smoothly on his second attempt.
“I don’t know what happened, I lost so much momentum there was no point to finish that lap,” said the German, who starts behind the Renault-powered McLarens of British rookie Lando Norris (fifth) and Spaniard Carlos Sainz (sixth).
Vettel’s time of 1:29.799 was eighth tenths of a second slower than Leclerc’s best.
Leclerc, who starts with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen alongside, asked the team over the radio to get Vettel to speed up but the Monegasque said his lap had not been compromised.
Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly lines up ninth for his home race with Italian Antonio Giovinazzi 10th for Alfa Romeo.