The Red Bull driver made the most of Saturday's qualifying, with rain and shine producing tricky conditions, to keep the championship-leading Brawns and German team mate Sebastian Vettel [ Images ] behind him.
Brazilian Rubens Barrichello [ Images ], in a Brawn, will start alongside 32-year-old Webber on the front row with team mate and overall leader Jenson Button [ Images ] behind with Red Bull's German Sebastian Vettel.
Button (with 64 points) has a 23-point lead over Barrichello after eight races, with Vettel a further two behind. Webber is fourth overall with 35.5 points.
Webber, the first Australian to start on pole since 1980 world champion Alan Jones did so for Williams at that year's German Grand Prix [ Images ] at Hockenheim, hailed his "very special day" after being so close in the past.
"We're here, the team have done a great job and we've been quick all weekend," he said, appearing in a news conference with the Brawn drivers.
"I am in a fantastic position to do it (take a first win," added the Australian, out-qualifying Vettel for the first time at Red Bull and ending the 22-year-old German's bid for three poles in a row.
"These guys have had a very strong season, no question about it and they will push us, but we're looking forward to the fight," he added.
"I certainly am and I'm up for trying to win my first race tomorrow if I can...A nice, boring grand prix for me would be fantastic."
Cars queued up to exit the pitlane at the start of the second session -- and then all came streaming back in again to change tyres as sudden rain made conditions treacherous.
"That session was madness," said Button, winner of six of the first seven races. "But it was good fun. We are struggling with tyre warm-up anyway but when you chuck a bit of water in there as well it's quite difficult.
"Tomorrow is going to be an interesting one."
Germany's Adrian Sutil [ Images ], who has a reputation for going well in the wet, secured Mercedes-powered Force India's [ Images ] first top 10 starting place with a surprising seventh in front of his home crowd.
Further back, Brazilian Nelson Piquet -- his future at Renault [ Images ] the subject of constant speculation -- outqualified double world champion team mate Fernando Alonso [ Images ] for the first time in his career.
Piquet starts 10th while the Spaniard spun during the second session and lines up 12th.
France's [ Images ] struggling Sebastien Bourdais [ Images ] was the slowest driver on the track and qualified in last place 1.3 seconds slower than rookie Toro Rosso team mate Sebastien Buemi [ Images ].