Lewis Hamilton crashed twice in a drama-filled qualifying session which saw Lando Norris snatch pole for the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton had dominated the timing sheets throughout but when opting to change his tyres in Q3 he hit the pit wall and broke his front wing.
The Mercedes engineers were able to repair his car but he had time for just one last flying lap on the slick tyres, by which point other drivers had improved their times.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz beat Hamilton’s effort before Norris went quicker by half a second to secure the first Formula One pole position of his career.
Hamilton tried to regain the top spot but pushed too hard and spun out on his final lap, hitting the barriers.
The seven-time world champion will start fourth after he was also beaten by his team-mate in waiting, Williams’ George Russell, who put in an impressive lap of his own.
After the session had finished, Hamilton said: “Twice in the wall… that’s very rare for me.
“I’m really sorry to all the team because that’s not what you expect from a champion.”
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Torrential rain had threatened to cancel qualifying altogether after the third practice session had been abandoned on Saturday morning.
The weather did ease in Sochi, though, and after the green light was given the track progressively dried as more and more laps were completed.
McLaren picked up where they left off after their stunning one-two finish at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza two weeks ago with Norris’ pole and Daniel Ricciardo qualifying fifth.
Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine) rounded off the top ten.
Max Verstappen, meanwhile, will start Sunday’s race from the back of the grid after a new power unit was installed on his car.
Hamilton will be looking to capitalise on Verstappen’s misfortune by turning around the five-point deficit he currently faces in the championship and maximising his points haul.