Sebastian Vettel became the youngest driver in Formula One history to secure a pole position after finishing on top in a wet qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix.
Vettel set his time early in Q3, and looked increasingly safe as the rain steadily became heavier.
In the end his 1:37.555 was enough to keep him clear of second-placed Heikki Kovalainen, while a stunning all-or-nothing lap from Mark Webber got the Australian up to P3 on his final run, edging out Sebastien Bourdais.
While there were celebrations in the STR garage, it was a different story for world championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who had a dreadful afternoon and now faces the task of trying to salvage a result from 15th on the grid.
Hamilton's problems began with a gamble on intermediates early in Q2. It never looked like paying off, but even though the Briton replaced them with full wets, he appeared distinctly uncomfortable with the conditions throughout the entire session and never threatened the top order.
McLaren were not the only front-running team to trip over during Q2. Kimi Raikkonen missed the cut-off and will start from 14th, and BMW's Robert Kubica could manage no better than 11th.
Hamilton's misfortunes will make life easier for main title rival Felipe Massa tomorrow, who will start the race from sixth alongside Nico Rosberg. Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock delivered on Toyota's early promise to end the afternoon in seventh and ninth, bookending Fernando Alonso, with Nick Heidfeld completing the top 10.
Force India recognised the adverse conditions as a chance to get a result, and the team were rewarded when Giancarlo Fisichella made it through to Q2 for the first time this season, the Italian finishing a very respectable 12th.
Both of the Hondas were early casualties, with Jenson Button both failing to make it through the first session.
Nelson Piquet also missed out at the expense of Renault teammate Fernando Alonso, who knocked him back below the cut-off point just moments after he'd pulled himself above it.
Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 1. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:35.464 1:35.837 1:37.555 2. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:35.214 1:35.843 1:37.631 3. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:36.001 1:36.306 1:38.117 4. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:35.543 1:36.175 1:38.445 5. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:35.485 1:35.898 1:38.767 6. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:35.536 1:36.676 1:38.894 7. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:35.906 1:36.008 1:39.152 8. Alonso Renault (B) 1:36.297 1:36.518 1:39.751 9. Glock Toyota (B) 1:35.737 1:36.525 1:39.787 10. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:35.709 1:36.626 1:39.906 11. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:35.553 1:36.697 12. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:36.280 1:36.698 13. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:36.485 1:37.284 14. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:35.965 1:37.522 15. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:35.394 1:39.265 16. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:36.510 17. Piquet Renault (B) 1:36.630 18. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:36.653 19. Button Honda (B) 1:37.006 20. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:37.417
All Timing Unofficial