McLaren lockout front row in Ferrari’s backyard!

McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have locked out the front row for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix while Ferrari’s lead driver Fernando Alonso toils down in 10th place after a rear roll-bar failure in the final qualifying session after topping both Q1 and Q2 timesheets. However, team mate Felipe Massa qualified his Ferrari on the second row behind pole-sitter Hamilton.

Qualifying 1 saw Force India’s Nico Hulkenburg pull off the track with a fuel line failure and will start from 24th place because he failed to complete a timed lap, a massive disappointment given the Force India’s inherent speed at Monza. The six usual suspects, Heikki Kovalainen, Vitaly Petrov, Timo Glock, Charles Pic, Narain Karthikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa were also eliminated from qualifying. Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of 1:24.175, three hundredths of a seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton and a massive half second ahead of the second McLaren of Jenson Button.

Qualifying 2 saw Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen scrape into the top 10 while Red Bull’s Mark Webber couldn’t find the speed to make it into the top 10; finishing seven hundredths off the cutoff. Pastor Maldonado, Sergio Perez, Bruno Senna, Daniel Ricciardo, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Jean-Eric Vergne joined Webber in being knocked out during the Q2 session. The second Sauber did secure a berth in the top 10 shootout with a last minute effort which pushed World champion Sebastian Vettel out of the top 10 before an even later lap from the German popped him into ninth ahead of Raikkonen.

Qualifying 3 brought drama for Alonso; the Spaniard suffering a broken rear anti-roll bar, which hampered his ultimate speed and cost him a shot at pole, the Ferrari driver will start from 10th place. While the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa benefited from Alonso’s woes and will start from third place behind the McLaren duo of Hamilton and Button. Force India’s Paul di Resta pulled out a stunning lap to go forth fastest but will drop five places to ninth because of a gearbox change. Micheal Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Kamui Kobayashi benefit from di Resta’s demotion to start the Italian Grand Prix from fourth through eighth respectively.

Pastor Maldonado who qualified 12th will start the race tomorrow from 22nd place because of a 10 place grid penalty for causing an avoidable collision at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend. It should be an interesting start tomorrow with Hulkenburg and Maldonado out of place at the back of the grid, the Williams and Force India are much faster than the Caterham’s, Marrusia’s and HRT’s.

Top 10 Starting grid for the Italian GP is as follows:

1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 1:24.010
2 Jenson Button (McLaren) +0.123
3 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) +0.237
4 Michael Schumacher (Mercedes) +0.530
5 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) +0.792
6 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) +0.823
7 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) +0.845
8 Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) +1.099
9 Paul di Resta (Force India) +0.294*
10 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) +1.668

* Paul di Resta handed a five place grid penalty for a change of gearbox.

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