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Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Saturday, 10 September 2011 17:10 UK

Sebastian Vettel pips Lewis Hamilton to Monza pole position

Venue: Monza Dates: 9-11 September Coverage: Race-day Grand Prix live: 1215-1515, BBC One/online, BBC Radio 5 live. Also, F1 forum: 1515-1615, BBC Red Button/online, Highlights: 1900-2000, BBC Three Find complete listings here

Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - Italian GP qualifying

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport at Monza

Red Bull's in-form championship leader Sebastian Vettel notched up his 10th pole of the season with the last lap in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

A slight mistake from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton ruined his fastest lap but the Englishman starts on the front row alongside the world champion.

McLaren's Jenson Button and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso share the second row.

Michael Schumacher, a five-time winner in Italy, starts in eighth just ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Red Bull had never finished on the podium or taken pole at Monza, but they appear to have cracked the historic track.

With four main straights and just one fast corner at Parabolica, it is a track that rewards engine power and straight-line speed.

"To get the pole here is beyond our expectation as Monza is a bogey circuit for us," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. "It was an unbelievable job by Sebastian."

Vettel said: "We thought it would be much closer than that.

"We knew we had more time in the car and I had some cars in front which always helps in Monza, but we did not think we would be on pole by such a big margin at a track that for the last two years did not suit us.

"We have quite a racy approach, so I'm happy."

Germany's Sebastian Vettel is the first driver since the late Ayrton Senna to take 10 pole positions in two separate Formula 1 seasons
Reigning world champion Vettel now has 25 poles in his F1 career
Vettel is 18 years younger than compatriot Michael Schumacher, who was born in the late 60s

Hamilton locked his brakes as he tried to chase down Vettel's early benchmark but even without that mistake the 2008 champion conceded he could not match the Red Bull.

"I didn't have another half a second in the bag," said Hamilton. "Maybe a couple of tenths but that's all."

Button, who starts in third, added: "I agree with Lewis, we were never going to challenge Sebastian today.

"It's difficult to understand but we are going to concentrate on tomorrow now. We can score some good points and it's not so important to be on pole as you have [overtaking aid] DRS."

Ferrari have been struggling to match rivals Red Bull and McLaren all weekend and Alonso and Felipe Massa tried to work together to close the gap.

The two red cars went out line astern in the final phase of qualifying as Alonso, who was following his team-mate on track, tried to eke out some extra pace in Massa's slipstream, a tactic that has historically worked well at Monza.

Alonso summed up the ploy as "a nice game" and qualified fourth, just ahead of Mark Webber's Red Bull, with Massa in sixth alongside Renault's Vitaly Petrov.

Italian GP qualifying - top three drivers

Italian GP qualifying - top three drivers

"It's good because obviously we didn't find the right balance or speed all weekend," said Alonso.

"We still lacked a bit of braking stability and top speed, we were never happy with the balance, we are not totally confident with the car but fourth opens possibilities for us tomorrow. It opens up a possibility of a podium which is very good news."

Mercedes converted their encouraging practice pace into eighth and ninth on the grid with Bruno Senna completing the top 10 for Renault.

Nico Rosberg was ninth, a place behind team-mate Michael Schumacher, after electing to qualify on the medium tyres so as to save a set of the faster softs for the race.

Force India were hopeful Monza would suit the characteristics of their car but Paul di Resta begins his first Italian GP in 11th ahead of team-mate Adrian Sutil.

Di Resta was narrowly knocked out of the top 10 by Senna and was told by his race engineer that Senna had edged him by travelling in Hamilton's slipstream.

Fernando Alonso

Alonso optimistic of Monza podium

Williams driver Pastor Maldonado qualified 13th but only after his team hastily patched up his car following his crash at the exit of Parabolica.

"When I opened the [moveable] rear wing, the car lost it immediately," Maldonado explained.

Maldonado had looked odds-on to be the midfield fall guy in the first phase of qualifying but it was Jamie Alguersuari who finished in 18th place.

"The pace was not there," the Spaniard explained glumly.

Italian Jarno Trulli out-qualified Heikki Kovalainen for just the second time this season at Lotus while Australian rookie Daniel Ricciardo lines up ahead of HRT team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi.

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see also
Italian Grand Prix qualifying results
08 Mar 11 |  Results
Ferrari boss gets job assurance
10 Sep 11 |  Formula One
Monza qualifying as it happened
10 Sep 11 |  Formula 1
Vettel tops final Monza practice
10 Sep 11 |  Formula One
Italian Grand Prix practice results
08 Mar 11 |  Results

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