Monza, it’s the home of the Italian grand prix, and one of the legendary tracks on the F1 calendar.  It’s the home race for the Ferrari team and their hoardes of flag-waving ‘Tifosi’, who were no doubt hoping for a ‘red wash’ at qualifying today, and not in fact a ‘red-bull wash’ …

Unbeatable? - Photo credit: Red Bull Media

Qualifying session 1the usual suspects

The front runners ventured out later onto the track for Q1, with the McLarens setting the early pace.  Maldonado had a spin early on, losing his front wing in the process.  His engineers got him back out with 5 minutes to spare, and he set the 11th fastest time despite any remaining damage.   Bruno Senna looked anxious down on the cusp in 17th at one point, but a set of soft tyres got him up into 13th.  There wasn’t much between the drivers, with the top 14 covered only by a second.  In the end it was Hamilton who set the fastest time, but Q1 was more of a formality tick-box exercise for the front runners.

Qualifying session 2 – Senna scrapes through

In the blink of an eye it was Q2 – and not to be outdone by Hamilton, Vettel laid down the gauntlet in Q2.  Di Resta got bumped out at the last second by Bruno Senna, and the Williams team underlined a lacklustre season with Barrichello in 13th and Maldonado in 14th.  Crazy Kobayashi is down in 17th, so fingers crossed for a bonkers strategy which sees him fighting his way through the field on race day tomorrow.

Qualifying session 3surprise, surprise

Could anyone stop the young German?  Monza was the site of his first ever F1 win, so he was always going to be strong here.  With 3 minutes to go in Q3 nearly every driver was in the pits … biding their time for a last minute banzai lap for pole.  A mild sense of panic spread as Vettel didn’t quite find his window for making his final attempt at the front of the grid.  A mistake from Hamilton ruined his lap, and was realistically the only driver with a chance of threatening Vettel.  Despite a decent lap, Button abandoned his attempt to start a respectable 3rd.  The best Ferrari could manage was a distinctly average 4th for Alonso.  So once again, it’s deju vu – Vettel takes pole in Monza.

Here’s how the field lines up for the race tomorrow…

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Jenson Button
  4. Fernando Alonso
  5. Mark Webber
  6. Felipe Massa
  7. Vitaly Petrov
  8. Michael Schumacher
  9. Nico Rosberg
  10. Bruno Senna
  11. Paul Di Resta
  12. Adrian Sutil
  13. Rubens Barrichello
  14. Pastor Maldonado
  15. Sergio Perez
  16. Sebastien Buemi
  17. Kamui Kobayashi
  18. Jaime Alguersuari
  19. Jarno Trulli
  20. Heikki Kovalainen
  21. Timo Glock
  22. Jerome D’Ambrosio
  23. Daniel Ricciardo
  24. Vitantonio Liuzzi