Nico Rosberg claimed his second successive Monaco Grand Prix pole position despite going off at the tight Mirabeau corner on his final flying lap.
The German was the faster of the Mercedes duo on the first runs in the top ten shootout, shading Lewis Hamilton by 59 thousandths of a second.
But then he made a mistake on his final Q3 lap, locking up and sliding up the escape road at Mirabeau.
But as Hamilton, who was behind Rosberg on track, was slow in the middle sector of his final lap because of the resulting yellow flags, the 2008 Formula 1 world champion was unable to attempt to defeat Rosberg.
Daniel Ricciardo continued his strong Monaco Grand Prix weekend by beating his Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel to third, with the Scuderia of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen claiming the third row.
Jean-Eric Vergne qualified seventh after winning his personal battle with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen.
The second Toro Rosso driver, Daniil Kvyat, impressed by surviving a crash in Q1 at the chicane that ripped off his front wing by making it to Q3 in ninth, ending up ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez.
Jenson Button, winner in Monaco in 2009, was the biggest-name casualty in Q2, ending up P12 behind Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was P13, with Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado behind him as the Lotus team continued to have a difficult weekend.
Felipe Massa ended up only P16 after being unable to participate in Q2.
The Williams driver let Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson through at Mirabeau in the closing stages of Q1, but the Swede had to correct a rear-end slide under braking for the right-hander and hit Massa, who was holding a wide line.
Both cars nosed into the barrier and neither was able to get back to the pits, although Massa did get his car going again but then ground to a halt.
This incident meant that the battle to avoid elimination in Q1 was interrupted and there were few late changes, with Sauber pairing Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil ending up P17 and P18.
Marussia pairing Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton filled the tenth row, with the Caterhams of Kamui Kobayashi and Ericsson at the back.
And yet the major talking point post-qualifying was that Rosberg incident.
There was a divided opinion in the paddock that the Silver Arrows driver had deliberately made the mistake to prevent his team-mate in scoring pole position.
Comparisons were made to a similar incident back in 2006, when Michael Schumacher parked his car at La Rascasse to stop Fernando Alonso challenging for pole. The race stewards looked into the incident then and threw Schumacher back to the end of the grid.
As for the 2014 incident, Rosberg said he made a genuine error. The stewards spent several hours investigating and in the end found no evidence of a deliberately move to prevent Hamilton from challenging to pole position.
And yet, the rivarly between Rosberg and Hamilton had just been stirred up even further following the news that more engine power was used for 2008 Formula 1 world champion to win the previous race in Spain… The Monaco Grand Prix is going to be a fascinating contest between the Silver Arrows.
Monaco Grand Prix, qualifying times:
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m15.989s
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m16.048s
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m16.384s
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m16.547s
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m16.686s
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m17.389s
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1m17.540s
8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.555s
9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1m18.090s
10. Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m18.327s
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m17.846s
12. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m17.988s
13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m18.082s
14. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m18.196s
15. Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1m18.356s
16. Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes No time
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.741s
18. Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.745s
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1m19.332s
20. Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1m19.928s
21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1m20.133s
22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1m21.732s
107 per cent time: 1m22.985s