Runaway championship leader Jenson Button, reportedly with a healthy 20 laps of fuel on board, secured yet another pole position on Saturday, on the streets of the famous Monaco street circuit.
But the real surprise of the session was the strong form of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, who shares the Principality's crucial front row of the grid with the dominant Brawn runner.
"He's proved me wrong and got himself together," said BBC commentator Eddie Jordan, who was previously highly critical of Finn Raikkonen this season.
Raikkonen, 29, will benefit from his KERS system at the start on Sunday.
Brawn boss Ross Brawn was impressed with Button's lap, after the Briton did not always look a match for his teammate Rubens Barrichello, third on the grid, throughout the practice sessions.
Barrichello turns 37 today.
"I think Jenson is getting into the habit of saving the best for last," said Brawn. "He knew that was the lap where he had to produce and he's just driving exceptionally well at the moment."
Driving less well on Saturday afternoon was reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, whose weekend was progressing well until the Q1 section, when he crashed and beached himself 16th on the grid.
"I just don't know what I was thinking, I made a mistake. I want to apologise to the team for wasting their time but at least Heikki (Kovalainen) is still up there," said the Briton, referring to his teammate who qualified 7th.
The stewards are investigating a possible blocking incident, after Jarno Trulli - all but dead last in the uncompetitive Toyota - complained about Fernando Alonso's driving.
Also woefully slow this weekend have been the BMWs, meaning that the Force Indias unusually enjoyed the proceedings of the 'Q2' session, including Monaco specialist Giancarlo Fisichella who is 13th.
Felipe Massa qualified fifth, but only after a scare on his initial out lap which required an early visit to the pits for a new nose.
|13||21||Giancarlo Fisichella||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.063||1:16.146||18|
|15||20||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:16.248||1:16.545||19|
|17||6||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||1:16.264||11|
|18||5||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||1:16.405||12|
Source: GMM via World Car Fans