Formula 1 Monza – McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button wrapped up the front row
Alonso had set the pace in Q1 and Q2, but when it came to it he could not better 1m 25.678s on his second run in Q3 after a problem with his rear anti-roll bar.
Hamilton, meanwhile, had been biding his time and picking up pace all through, and his 1m 24.010s was almost two-tenths better than Alonso’s Q1 time. Button was also getting quicker, and popped in a 1m 24.133s on his second run to displace an impressive Paul di Resta who had taken his Force India round in 1m 24.304s. Felipe Massa also pushed the Scot down, taking third in his Ferrari in 1m 24.247s.
Mercedes’ challenge could only muster the fifth-fastest time, with Michael Schumacher acing team mate Nico Rosberg, 1m 24.540s to 1m 24.833s. Sebastian Vettel squeezed between them with 1m 24.802s for Red Bull.
It didn’t come together for Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus, as the Finn managed only 1m 24.855s for eighth. Kamui Kobayashi was ninth for Sauber 1m 25.109s, and a very unhappy Alonso 10th.
With Di Resta’s five-place penalty for a gearbox change, the top 10 grid order will be: Hamilton, Button; Massa, Schumacher; Vettel, Rosberg; Raikkonen, Kobayashi; Di Resta, Alonso.
A late lap in Q2 just kept Vettel in Q3 after he’d momentarily been bumped by Kobayashi, so that left Red Bull’s Mark Webber stuck in 11th place on 1m 24.809s from Williams’ Pastor Maldonado in 12th on 1m 24.820s, Sauber’s Sergio Perez on 1m 24.901s, Williams’ Bruno Senna on 1m 25.042s, Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 25.312s, Lotus’s Jerome D’Ambrosio on 1m 25.408s, and Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 25.441s in the second Toro Rosso.
Force India’s qualifying had begun to become unravelled when Nico Hulkenberg’s VJM05 stopped with a fuel-pressure issue before he had even done a timed lap, leaving him 24th.
As Alonso set the pace with 1m 24.175s, Heikki Kovalainen took his customary 18th place for Caterham with 1m 26.382s ahead of team mate Vitaly Petrov on 1m 26.887s. Then came the evenly-matched Marussia duo, with Timo Glock on 1m 27.039s and Charles Pic on 1m 27.073s. Narain Karthikeyan got close on 1m 27.441s to oust HRT team mate Pedro de la Rosa on 1m 27.629s ahead of his 100th Grand Prix start.
With Maldonado’s two five-place penalties from Spa applied, the grid order from the sixth row downwards will be: Webber, Perez; Senna, Ricciardo; D’Ambrosio, Vergne; Kovalainen, Petrov; Glock, Pic; Karthikeyan, Maldonado; De la Rosa, Hulkenberg. -Formula 1