Nico Rosberg secured his third successive pole position after Mercedes came out top in a dramatic qualifying session ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Rain showers prior to the start made the early stages of the session something of a lottery, but with the streets of Monte Carlo having dried out by the time Q3 arrived, the fight for pole came down to a straight-forward battle where outright pace was the key.
With the drivers running on slicks by the time Q3 came around, Mercedes were expected to be at the head of the pack given their practice pace and it proved to be the case as Rosberg emerged on top of the pile.
Concerns that rain could be about to return saw the drivers head out on track as soon as the circuit went green and on their final runs, it was Rosberg and team-mate Lewis Hamilton who locked out the front row.
Hamilton had been the first man to set a quick time in the ten minute session as he was the first man to lap into 1min 15secs but that time quickly came down as both Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber jumped ahead.
However with the chequered flag out, Hamilton then posted a time of 1min 13.967secs to jump onto provisional pole only for Rosberg to cross the line seconds later to better his mark by just 0.091secs.
Vettel was still to cross the line on his final lap but couldn't better the Mercedes pair and had to settle for third spot. Webber joins him on the second row having elected to abort his final lap in the session.
Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso share row three having failed to match the pace of the front-runners, with the pair nearly a second off the front-running pace, with Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil rounding out the top eight. Jenson Button had to settle for ninth having suffered a loss of power on is final run while the top ten was completed by Jean-Eric Vergne – who managed to take his Toro Rosso through to Q3 for the first time.
The ten who made it through to Q3 did so after a dramatic end to the second part of qualifying, where drivers were forced to dive into the pits in the closing minutes for dry tyres.