Full qualifying times and results plus starting grid positions
Along with a weekend schedule unlike any other in the Grand Prix schedule, Monaco also does qualifying like no where else.
The usual 30 minute session was this time divided into two, with the first featuring a fierce battle for provisional pole between DAMS' Jolyon Palmer, Russian Time's Mitch Evans and Trident's Johnny Cecotto Jr., while the second saw a contest between Caterham's Rio Haryanto, DAMS' Stephane Richelmi, ART's Stoffel Vandoorne and Racing Engineering's Stefano Coletti.
When the final chequered flag came out, it was Palmer who had duplicated his practice success by setting the fastest time of anyone with a lap of 1:20.774s, which handed him pole position for tomorrow's feature race. By contrast Haryanto's 1:21.433s was only the fourth fastest time of the afternoon (Evans and Cecotto were both quicker) but he was nonetheless the best of the second group, which means that he takes second place on the grid on Friday morning, while Evans leads the second row and Cecotto the third under the Monaco qualifying system.
The two qualifying groups were necessary because of the cramped nature of the unique 2.075-mile, 19-turn circuit at Monaco. The field was split in half with the 13 odd-numbered cars going out in the first 16-minute session, and the even-numbered cars in the second. Fortunately for both groups, the track had dried up after the earlier drenching that it had received prior to the second F1 free practice, so that there was no question about needing wet or intermediate tyres - even if there were still a few damp patches here and there off the racing line.
Palmer quickly went to the front of the line and used the clear track ahead of him to set the first flying lap of 1:23.308s before pitting, but that was quickly beaten by Cecotto with a time of 1:21.968s. Caterham's Alexander Rossi and Carlin's Felipe Nasr were fast enough to slip into second and third place with their own next effort, with lap times improving with every passing minute - as Hilmer Motorsport's Daniel Abt proved a minute later with a fine effort of 1:21.760s, albeit still a second off the morning's practice times.
By the time Cecotto rebounded to the top of the times with five minutes remaining, Palmer had dropped all the way down to 12th - but was now back out again to respond with a new time of 1:20.774s, almost a dead heat with his morning practice best. Cecotto's reply was neutralised when his flying lap ran into traffic in the form of Abt at the tunnel exit. Evans also hit traffic in his final run but his time was still good enough to get him into second place ahead of Cecotto, whose tyres has clearly seen better days and were no longer capable of better times before the chequered flag came out.
Now the question was whether or not Palmer's time would be the best of qualifying - which would grant him pole position - or whether it would be beaten in the second group which got underway a few minutes later, with Richelmi following the strategy of his team mate from the first session by laying down an early banker (1:24.138s) before immediately pitting.
In his absence, Canamasas went top with a strong effort of 1:21.926s with Coletti quickly slotting into second on his first flier and then taking control with a lap of 1:21.649s on his next. A subsequent lap of 1:21.690s from Vandoorne was good enough to slip in between Coletti and Canamasas, but Richelmi's return to the fray was spoiled when he ran into traffic at the end of his own flying lap.
The traffic in question had been Rio Haryanto, the Caterham trying to find some space for this own flier - which is did successfully, as his time of 1:21.433s proved good enough to topple Coletti. Richelmi's own next effort was just enough to claim a provisional third place spot on the timing screens ahead of Vandoorne. Both Richelmi and Vandoorne subsequently improved their times to put them into second and third with their next fliers but not by enough to threaten Haryanto's supremacy; and Coletti's final comeback effort hit traffic and he failed to improve, leaving him in fourth place for the group.
More significantly, the times in the second qualifying group were down on those of the first group, which meant that Palmer was confirmed in pole while Haryanto secured the front row position alongside him for the start of Friday morning's feature race. The rest of the cars line up in a file behind their group leader, resulting in a second row line-up of Evans and Richelmi while row three is taken up by Cecotto and Vandoorne.
There had been no major incidents during either session, the most noteworthy being a simple lock-up into Ste Devote by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs which saw local waved yellows while he manoeuvred the Rapax back out again. There were some tense moments for Venezuela GP Lazarus's Nathanael Berthon, who after crashing out early in practice seemed to be struggling to post a time within the 107 per cent limit, but he finally did so before the chequered flag ended the session.
The feature race is scheduled for Friday morning at 11.15am (10.15am BST) with 42 laps and a mandatory pit stop and tyre change; the sprint race is set for Saturday afternoon at 4.10pm (3.10pm BST) and will consist of 30 laps with no planned pit stops to manage. All sessions are available live in the UK on the Sky Sports F1
digital subscription channel.
Full qualifying times and results plus starting grid positions are now available.