"It's easier to predict the results of the football matches tonight and tomorrow (in Euro 2012)."
Joining him on the front row, but 0.324 seconds adrift, is McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, with Pastor Maldonado reviving season by claiming third for Williams.
Lotus' Romain Grosjean, many people's favourite for pole coming into the weekend, could only manage fourth ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg sixth.
Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi starts seventh ahead of Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta in eighth and 10th, split by Jenson Button in his McLaren - beaten in qualifying by Hamilton for the eighth time this year.
Preceding that was a staggering 15-minute Q2 session - just under three tenths of a second separated the top 13 - with the top seven split by a mere 0.089secs over a lap lasting 100 seconds.