Italian Grand Prix 2011: Red Bull’s Vettel takes Monza pole
Championship leader storms to his 10th pole position of the season, ahead of McLaren's Hamilton and Button
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel secured his 10th pole of the season as he cruised through qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
The defending world champion’s time of 1m22.275 was almost half a second quicker than McLaren rivals Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who both aborted their final laps after making mistakes.
“This year the car is very good here, the balance is perfect even though for most of the people we don’t carry much wing around, so it is very slippery,” Vettel said. “We are quick in all three sectors, so I am happy today. We think we have quite a racy approach so very pleased.”
Speaking about his chances for a race win at a circuit Red Bull have yet to score a point on, Vettel added: “This weekend we know it is not easy for us, but so far it has been excellent, the main task is coming tomorrow.
“So far we haven’t scored a single point, but we have put ourselves in the strongest position. After tomorrow’s race we focus on the next one, then we focus on the next one.”
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was reasonably happy with fourth quickest in front of the passionate Tifosi as he improved on his final lap to jump Mark Webber, who was just fifth quickest in the second Red Bull.
The top five was covered by just half a second before Vettel’s last lap, but it remains close at the top with second to fifth covered by around three-and-a-half tenths.
Felipe Massa was sixth quickest ahead of Renault’s Vitaly Petrov, who caused a surprise by finishing ahead of the two Mercedes with a time of 1m23.530s, as Michael Schumacher comfortably outpaced his team-mate Nico Rosberg with an unusual speed advantage through the second sector.
Bruno Senna continued his impressive start to life at Renault with a second consecutive top 10 qualifying finish, but the Brazilian opted not to run in the Q3, and rounded out the top 10 with extra sets of fresh tyres for Sunday’s race.
Force India were disappointed with their efforts in qualifying after late runs from the Renault duo meant they dropped out in Q2, with Paul di Resta particularly unfortunate as Senna got a tow from Hamilton with a last-gasp effort to relegate the Scot to 11th by just six-thousandths of a second.
Williams found some pace on the low downforce circuit as Rubens Barrichello pipped team-mate Pastor Maldonado by less than a tenth to take 13th, as the Venezuelan recovered from a mistake out of the Parabolica which caused damage to his front wing in Q1 to push for a place in Q3.
Sauber had a disappointing Q2, with rookie Sergio PÃ©rez (15th) and Kamui Kobayashi (17th), along with Toro Rosso’s SÃ©bastien Buemi (16th) never looking like making a challenge for the final shoot-out.
Jaime Alguersuari, in the second Toro Rosso was high-profile casualty in Q1, joining the traditional backmarkers Team Lotus, Virgin and HRT.
Jarno Trulli was best of the “new” teams, finishing quicker than Lotus team-mate Heikki Kovalainen by half a second, while HRT rookie Daniel Ricciardo out-qualified team-mate Tonio Liuzzi for the first time to take 23rd as all 24 drivers comfortably made it within the 107 per cent qualifying time.
Italian Grand Prix 2011 – Starting grid
1 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1mins 22.275secs
2 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) McLaren 1:22.725
3 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren 1:22.777
4 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Ferrari 1:22.841
5 Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:22.972
6 Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari 1:23.188
7 Vitaly Petrov (Rus) Renault 1:23.530
8 Michael Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:23.777
9 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:24.477
10 Bruno Senna (Bra) Renault No Time
11 Paul di Resta (Gbr) Force India 1:24.163
12 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:24.209
13 Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Williams 1:24.648
14 Pastor Maldonado (Ven) Williams 1:24.726
15 Sergio Perez (Mex) Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.845
16 Sebastien Buemi (Swi) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:24.932
17 Kamui Kobayashi (Jpn) Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.065
18 Jaime Alguersuari (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:25.334
19 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Lotus F1 1:26.647
20 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) Lotus F1 1:27.184
21 Timo Glock (Ger) Virgin Racing 1:27.591
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio (Bel) Virgin Racing 1:27.609
23 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) HRT-F1 1:28.054
24 Vitantonio Liuzzi (Ita) HRT-F1 1:28.231