Alonso secures Ferrari homeland pole at Monza

Fernando Alonso was the man of the moment in today's Formula One qualifying session, as he grabbed his first pole position in Ferrari colours, ahead of their home race at the Italian Grand Prix.

Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, Scuderia Ferrari, Jenson Button, McLaren Mercedes.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"The team and I have been without a pole for too long and two Ferraris in the top three is a fantastic result," said Alonso. "We must make the most of this opportunity to bring home a lot of points: we will try and get a good start and tackle the first chicane as cleanly as possible, which is always difficult on the first lap."

The Spaniard marked the team's first pole of the season and since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008, with a very impressive lap time of 1.21.962. Jenson Button joins Alonso on the front row of the grid, with Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari in third, next to Mark Webber in his Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton didn't quite find the pace like his team mate Button set, and landed himself in fifth place. The current leader in the Drivers' Championship took the decision not to run with the F-duct, which could explain why he didn't have as smooth a run like Button. Despite his promising form in practice yesterday, Sebastian Vettel, failed to make it onto the front row in the sister Red Bull, which has been usual territory for him this season, and his Australian team mate. The German driver lines up alongside Hamilton in sixth position.

In the early stages as Q1 got underway, it was Jenson Button for McLaren who looked like the one to beat, when he was the first to temporarily take the top spot. His decision to run with the F-duct from the beginning of the weekend seemed to pay off especially when it mattered today. With this addition to his car, it means he has a higher downforce level, giving him better performance round corners and breaking zones. During Q2 Button was tussling from time to time with Hamilton for position, and in Q3 the defending World Champion was nearly a threat to Alonso, but couldn't manage to close the gap to snatch pole.

Jenson Button, McLaren Mercedes.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Button was thrilled to have landed on of top positions on the front row, even though he didn't have quite enough pace to get pole. He remains very upbeat about his chances in the race tomorrow, in his quest to maintain his defence on the title.

"The car has felt very good and I've been comfortable with the stability of the rear. You know you'll be competitive when you keep finding small increments of time here and there... I want to say a big thank you to the whole team for bringing a great package to this weekend's race. Our car is moving forwards all the time. It will be an incredible battle at the front tomorrow, but, starting from the front row, my aim must be for a victory."

The other drivers who made it into the top ten included Nico Rosberg in seventh position for Mercedes, Nico Hulkenberg eighth in his Williams, and Renault's Robert Kubica in ninth place -- who was just ahead of Rubens Barrichello in the other Williams -- to round off the last of the desirable slots on the grid.

Unfortunately Adrian Sutil was not able to keep his place into the top ten shootout, as Rubens Barrichello took it back from him. It now means that the Force India driver will start eleventh, alongside fellow German, Michael Schumacher in his Mercedes. Sutil was on the front row just twelve months ago, and team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi got seventh. Today's performance was certainly not a mirror image, of their last outing for qualifying in Italy.

Liuzzi was the first driver to slip out at the end of Q1. The Italian suffered loss of power in third practice this morning, and experienced the same fate this afternoon. He will now begin the race from twentieth place, ahead of Virgin Racing's Timo Glock, who also had an interrupted session. Due to a gearbox change he will incur a five-place grid penalty, which will see him drop to the back of the pack.

Vitaly Petrov, Renault F1 Team.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Vitaly Petrov caused Timo's bad day before the gearbox problem, when Petrov was exiting the pits and blocked Glock, who was just starting his first flying lap. Timo raised his hand to try and inform the Renault driver of what he had done, but the race stewards decided to investigate the incident for themselves. It has now been announced that as a result of his actions, Petrov will now face a five-place grid penalty for impeding Glock. This means that the Russian rookie will start from twentieth place.

Following their good start to the weekend in practice yesterday, the Lotus drivers continue to be the best of the new teams, both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, improved on their final positions from second practice. As a result of Petrov's penalty, Trulli will start from seventeenth place for his home race, and his Finnish team mate, Kovalainen, is just behind in eighteenth.

The two other new teams will line up near the back, with the second Virgin Racing driver, Lucas Di Grassi, ahead of Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto for Hispania Racing.

When the race gets underway tomorrow, polesitter Fernando Alonso will be hoping to bring his prancing horse home at Monza, as he attempts to get his and the teams' fight for the titles back on track. If the statistics are anything to go by, it could be that the Spaniard and his team mate, Massa, get some positive headlines this week for Ferrari. For seven of the last ten races held at the circuit, the polesitter has been crowned the winner. However, as many people know, the sport can be unpredictable during a race and anything can happen.