Felipe Massa will start the Monaco Grand Prix from the pole position after leading a Ferrari 1-2 finish in qualifying on Saturday.

The Brazilian driver, who has won two of the last three Formula One races, gave Ferrari its first pole in Monaco in eight years after setting a best lap time of 1 minute, 15.787 seconds around the famous street circuit.

"I still can't believe it," Massa said after collecting his 12th career pole. "I managed to put everything together and managed to learn some tricks in some corners and put everything together. I can't believe I'm on pole."

Teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who won in Monaco for McLaren in 2005, will start on the front row for Sunday's race, with McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen filling the second row.

Ferrari, which has won four straight races coming in, hasn't won from the pole since Jody Scheckter in 1979 and is looking for its first win in the coastal principality since Michael Schumacher took the checkered flag in 2001.

"I knew (McLaren) would be able to improve a bit, but I improved a lot. I drove a perfect lap," said Massa, who clinched his second straight pole and third of the season.

"Tomorrow will be difficult. The rain can come any time, and the race in Monaco is the hardest."

Showers are expected for the race. In dry conditions, the outcome is usually determined by the fastest qualifier _ making Saturday's session important.

"If there is rain, there is a much bigger chance to get by," said Raikkonen, who leads Massa and Hamilton by seven points in the overall standings. "I think we have a good car for the race."

Ferrari has been focused on Monaco since Massa finished over a minute behind McLaren pair Fernando Alonso and Hamilton last year.

"The team did a great job on the preparation for Monaco," Massa said. "Straightaway after last year's race ... we already started with the team working on the idea for the year after. For sure it was a good move and straightway from Thursday we had a better car.

"I was able to get the max out of the car and of myself as well."

Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber will start fifth ahead of Nico Rosberg of Williams, who had been strong all weekend.

Alonso, going for his third straight victory at Monaco, will start from seventh in his Renault, ahead of 2004 winner Jarno Trulli of Toyota and Red Bull's Mark Webber.

McLaren, with 14 wins in the past 25 races here, had dominated practice through Saturday with Kovalainen setting the pace in the morning before a crash ended his session.

The Finnish driver came out of a curb and swiped the opposite wall to leave his rear left tire wobbling. He emerged unhurt from the smoking car and was seen smiling inside the British team's garage.

At last month's Spanish GP, Kovalainen was left unconscious after a high-speed crash into a tire wall. He spent a night in a hospital after receiving slight injuries, including a concussion.

Red Bull's David Coulthard had set the sixth fastest lap time through the first two qualifying sessions before a high-speed crash left him starting 10th.

The Briton lost control of his Red Bull car as he came out of the tunnel _ the fastest part of the street circuit race _ and slammed into the right wall. The front right wheel was damaged while the rear right wheel came loose, forcing the car to skid into the runoff area. Coulthard appeared unhurt getting out of his car.

"What's strange is that I've braked there many times before and never had that situation, but I have to accept that maybe today it was one step too far," the 37-year-old driver said. "The guys will look through the data, they'll look at the car and try to understand it but for now we just have to assume that I lost the rear."

Cars reach speeds of 174 mph coming out of the tunnel.