Flavio Briatore accused Michael Schumacher of "unsporting" driving after his convenient last-minute accident robbed Fernando Alonso of pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.

World champion Alonso was racing towards pole in the dying seconds when Schumacher, holding top spot at the time, ran wide and parked his Ferrari at the penultimate corner.

That brought out the yellow flags, obliging Alonso to slow down and ruin his fast lap, as well as raising suspicions Schumacher might have deliberately sabotaged his title rival's efforts.

Renault boss Briatore had no doubt Schumacher's incident had been deliberate, saying: "I think he is taking everyone for a ride.

"Someone who was seven times a world champion wants us to believe that he didn't do it on purpose - it's fairyland.

"And given that we are not Snow White and the Seven Dwarves I think that what he did was unsporting and against everything.

"It's really astonishing what he did. Incredible."

Schumacher topped the timing sheets going into the final seconds but on the penultimate corner of his last lap he ran wide and parked his Ferrari on the exit of Rascasse.

World champion Alonso was on a flying lap and set to snatch pole, but with yellow flags waving he was forced to ease off around the final bend, leaving him 0.064 seconds behind Schumacher.

Schumacher's lap of one minute 13.898 seconds earned him the 67th pole position of his career and gives him the perfect chance to equal Ayrton Senna's record of six Monaco wins.

Mark Webber took a surprise third place for Williams at the scene of his maiden Formula One podium last season. He will share the second row with McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.

Giancarlo Fisichella was fifth in the other Renault while Juan Pablo Montoya took sixth to give McLaren two cars on the first three rows on their 40th anniversary.

David Coulthard qualified in the top 10 for the first time this season after continuing his promising practice form. The Scotsman starts ninth for Red Bull.

He is the top Briton for once after Jenson Button became the biggest casualty of second qualifying following his worst qualifying display of the season.

The Honda driver has started from the front row three times this season but he failed to even make the top 10 and was soundly beaten by team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

Button needed a late lap to make the first cut but could not repeat the trick and will start from 14th.

Most drivers had predicted chaos in first qualifying as 22 drivers battled for clear air on the tight two-mile track and Felipe Massa obliged after six minutes.

The Ferrari driver, who has qualified in the top four for the last three races, slid into the barriers at Casino Square, ripping off his front wing and bringing out the red flags.

With just over eight minutes remaining and without a time on the board, Massa missed the cut and must start 22nd tomorrow.

Surprisingly, that was the extent of the carnage as the usual suspects were eliminated along with Massa - both Midlands, the two Super Aguris and Scuderia Toro Rosso's Scott Speed.