Ferrari had an awful lot to prove coming into this race, their home grand prix, and so did their driver Fernando Alonso.  It’s mildly embarrassing to wage a championship campaign off the back of a team orders scandal.  But today, at the supreme Monza circuit in Italy both Ferrari and Fernando somehow, perhaps by magic, or a good helping of Italian enthusiasm, pulled it out of the bag to take a dominant pole.

"I love you Fernando!" - Ferrari President Montezemolo (c) autosport, LAT

The only man to break into the one minute twenty ones, Alonso was quickest in both Q2 and Q3, with team-mate Massa fastest in Q1.  Not much of a ‘thriller’ of a qualifying given that the drivers on top during all three sessions pretty much, well, stayed on top.  The usual last-minute switches, swaps and surprises didn’t feature as Alonso’s cracker of a lap sat pretty a-top of the time sheets.

The Red Bulls faded into the background a little, falling back into an uncustomary 4th and 6th.  Saturday is usually a Red Bull speciality.  Who knows?  Perhaps they’ve got a cunning race-day plan to blow the Ferrari pretenders out of the water.  Lewis Hamilton could only manage 5th as it was revealed by team-mate Jenson Button that each side of the McLaren garage had opted for different set-ups.  The gamble paid off for Jenson, but needless to say Hamilton was miffed, and just a tad sulky in his post-qualifying interview with the BBC.

With a resurgent Jenson Button hot on the Spaniard’s heels, and potentially a tank full of fuel vapours to be so suddenly quick, Alonso has an Italian Job on his hands tomorrow for sure…

The starting grid for tomorrow's race