Michael Schumacher made a few critics eat their words by claiming the fastest time in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, but will not start the race from pole position due to his penalty from Barcelona.
The German waited until after the chequered flag to post the best time of Q3, a 1min14.301secs effort that eclipsed Mark Webber's provisional pole time by 0.08secs, in a session that was split into three distinct phases, with fast times coming thick and fast at the start, and then again at the end after a lull when it appeared that no-one could improve.
Schumacher's Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg set the ball rolling, swapping times with a rejuvenated Romain Grosjean before annexing top spot in 1min 14.572secs. There then followed a fallow period where the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso all came up short.
Just as it appeared that Rosberg would be claiming his second career pole in an anti-climactic end to the session, Webber popped up to knock the German off top spot. Lewis Hamilton also appeared to be on course for pole, only to lose time and come in third, which became fourth on the timesheets when Schumacher posted his late late time.
The top end of the field will undergo something of a reshuffle before the race on Sunday, not only with Schumacher taking his five-place punishment for colliding with Bruno Senna in Spain, but also Pastor Maldonado's ten-place penalty for colliding with Sergio Perez in FP3, which drops the Venezuelan to 19th.
Full report and times to follow....