Hamilton duly rose to the challenge in Q3 with his quickest run of the day to earn Mercedes the top spot on the grid in China for the sixth year running.
Hamilton secured the 63rd pole of his career on Saturday, and the sixth in succession dating back to last season, with a devastating lap of 1 minute, 31.678 seconds.
Hamilton and Rosberg endured numerous flashpoints as they fought each other for the championship, even colliding on the track as Mercedes' worst fears come true.
Sebastian Vettel was left disappointed after narrowly missing out on his first Formula 1 pole in 18 months in China on Saturday, saying he "chickened" onto the brakes too early at the end of his Q3 lap.
The Briton is now five behind Schumacher's overall record of 68 poles.
Ricciardo set a time of 1:33.033 in Q3, finishing just under half a second faster than Felipe Massa in 6th, but almost a whole second behind 4th place Kimi Raikkonen. The heavier cars are more hard to drive, putting more emphasis on the drivers' skills and conditioning.
"They are going to review my performance throughout the year and make a decision then which I think is completely fair".
Severe Weather Threat Decreasing This Morning
There are no reported injuries at this time. "Twenty-some-odd years ago, our two boys played baseball together", Thomas said. The severe weather system moved east through New Orleans, Alabama, the Florida panhandle, Georgia and SC on Monday .
One For Arthur adds tartan touch to Grand National
Little did the "Two Golf Widows", as they are now labeled, know that they were purchasing a future Grand National victor . Russell, whose partner and riding great Peter Scudamore never won the race, was overcome with emotion.
It was also the 75th time the team had qualified ahead of the rest of the field, with Mercedes reaching the milestone in their 150th race. Raikkonen still struggled and had to be content with fourth on 1m 32.140s, but was still comfortably ahead of Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull and Felipe Massa's Williams.
"It's not an overnight thing, for sure", Ricciardo said of closing the gap with Ferrari and Mercedes.
Max Verstappen said his lack of power during the Chinese Grand Prix was down to a spark plug issue creating a misfire on his Red Bull's Renault engine.
Antonio Giovinazzi impressed on his last-minute call-up to replace the unfit Pascal Wehrlein in Melbourne, but the Italian was brought back down to earth here after he crashed out.
Verstappen will now start in 17th place - a major setback for the young Dutch driver, who was coming off a fifth-placed finish in the Australian GP.
Stoffel Vandoorne had already failed to improve on 16th place and was eliminated, and he was joined by Grosjean, Jolyon Palmer, Verstappen and Esteban Ocon, who were all on laps.
The teams didn't waste any time in the pre-qualifying session after Friday's practice runs were almost completely wiped out due to poor visibility from rain, fog and smog.
Added to that, Motorsport.com reports that an alternate hospital, located just 5km from the track, is set to receive the equipment needed in the case of a neurological emergency prior to Sunday's race.