Pedro de la Rosa celebrated what he described as his best-ever lap around Monaco to escape the final row of the grid ahead of Sunday's grand prix.
The HRT driver qualified in 21st position, ahead of the Marussia of Charles Pic and just a tenth of a second behind Timo Glock. The Spaniard was also 1.2 seconds faster than teammate Narain Karthikeyan, who qualified 23rd.
"It was the best qualifying session of the year and, without a doubt, the best lap I've ever done in Monaco," said de la Rosa. "The car went well and we decided to do three runs with three new sets of super-softs because we already know that in Monaco the most important thing is to do one good lap.
"And that's just what happened and I'm delighted about it because getting into the 1m18.0s here is very good. I'm very satisfied because we got our timing right, the team knew when was the right moment to come out in order to avoid traffic and I accomplished my job, which was to do the best lap possible."
De la Rosa admitted he took several risks during his final flying lap.
"I must admit I took some risks, on some laps in the last sector I even almost closed my eyes, but I had to attack and did just that," he said. "With one more tenth we would have also overtaken Glock but the truth is that we're very happy with how the day went."