Lewis Hamilton overcame a series of niggling issues to claim his first F1 pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix and celebrate what he called a 'very special day'.
The Briton had been the man to beat in Thursday's two practice sessions, and led the way for much of Saturday morning before his time was overhauled by Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, but insisted that no-one was going to deny him top spot in qualifying.
Early in the three-part session, however, it appeared that Rosberg had the upper hand as Hamilton struggled to find the handling he wanted from his W06 Hybrid but, come the crucial final phase, the Briton was back on his game and, having posted the fastest time on his first run, saw Rosberg wilt under pressure second time around. Already ahead of the German on time and track, there could be no repeat of last year's controversy as Rosberg locked up and slithered into the run-off at Ste Devote, causing him to abort his pursuit and hand pole to the reigning world champion.
"Nothing was going to get in my way today," Hamilton insisted, "I'm sitting here thinking about all the previous years and things that got in the way or when I wasn't good enough or whatever... I think it was 2006, in GP2, the last time I started on pole here, so it's a very special day.
"It wasn't the easiest session as I had a lot of things that could easily throw you off your rhythm - and they did as I didn't have the rhythm until the last few laps. We had some problems with the tyres and problems with the wing and traffic, so it wasn't easy - and it makes it even more special because, normally, if you back-to-back-to-back good laps, you can kind of expect [pole position] but we had some bad laps, didn't get good laps in Q1 or Q2 so I'm glad we did it."
Hamilton, however, is wise enough to know that filling the first place on the grid is no guarantee of raceday success - even if Monaco stats suggest it is more likely.
"This is not even half the job done as there is so much to do tomorrow," he confirmed, "It's a long, long way to go, with many, many laps, so it's going to be mentally and physically challenging. But I'm just so happy..."