Raikkonen Quickest, Montoya on Pole

Juan Pablo Montoya secured his first ever pole position for McLaren in Saturday's qualifying session at Monza to hand his team a vital advantage for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix

Raikkonen Quickest, Montoya on Pole

It was all down to Montoya after title challenger Kimi Raikkonen's appalling bad luck continued before a wheel was turned in the qualifying session when McLaren were forced to change the Mercedes engine in his car.

And Montoya, who joined McLaren at the start of the season, made no mistakes as he eased to a lap of 1:21.054 to ensure championship leaders Renault and Fernando Alonso were kept off the top spot.

Raikkonen, who was out last in the session, will have modified his strategy for the race because of the change but he was still able to post the fastest time of the session and put himself 11th on the grid with the 10-position penalty.

That means Alonso will still start on the front row after setting a time 0.265 seconds slower than Montoya that put him third in the session and just ahead of BAR-Honda driver Jenson Button.

Button's teammate Takuma Sato finished fifth fastest just ahead of Toyota driver Jarno Trulli in sixth with World Champion Michael Schumacher having to settle for seventh place in his Ferrari team's home Grand Prix.

Rubens Barrichello, his Ferrari teammate, backed him up in eighth place with Giancarlo Fisichella a disappointing ninth for Renault and Ralf Schumacher completing the top ten in the second Toyota.

Antonio Pizzonia, who raced at Monza last year as a replacement for the injured Ralf Schumacher, was back in the Williams cockpit to fill in for the injured Nick Heidfeld and was the first man out on track but he finished 16th.

Suffering from a lack of preparation time having been drafted in just before the morning practice, Pizzonia set a time of 1:23.291 but his teammate Mark Webber bettered that by seven tenths of a second and ended the session 14th.

Sauber driver Felipe Massa failed to trouble Webber then Michael Schumacher, after locking up at the first chicane where he went off in practice, set an impressive pace in the rest of his lap to take the top spot by eight tenths.

Ralf Schumacher was the next man to trouble the leaders as he slotted into second in his Toyota then former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve attacked his lap and finished third, just ahead of Webber, with ten cars gone.

Barrichello then put the two Ferraris on the provisional front row, to the delight of the Tifosi crowd, when he slotted into second place but Sato spoiled the party immediately when he went top by a quarter of a second.

Trulli almost made it into top spot on his flying lap but he had to settle for second, with five cars left to go, after a disappointing final sector let him down overall.

Button then went ahead with a superb lap to put himself one tenth ahead of Sato and leave BAR-Honda with a front-row lock-out with the two Renaults and two McLarens left to run.

Fisichella made a mistake at the first chicane and went over the kerbs and ended up with a time only good enough for sixth place then Montoya went out to set a time for McLaren that Alonso could not beat.

Finn Raikkonen, who trails current title race leader Alonso by 24 points, was forced to change his engine before qualifying at the French Grand Prix in July and the British race that followed one week later.

Raikkonen finished fastest in both of the morning practice sessions on Saturday and he will be hoping his impressive pace advantage will enable him to still fight through the field for victory on Sunday.

Pos       Driver        Team                   Time
 1.  (20) Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:20.878 *
 2.  (18) Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:21.054 + 0.176
 3.  (19) Alonso        Renault           (M)  1:21.319 + 0.441
 4.  (16) Button        BAR-Honda         (M)  1:21.369 + 0.491
 5.  (12) Sato          BAR-Honda         (M)  1:21.477 + 0.599
 6.  (15) Trulli        Toyota            (M)  1:21.640 + 0.762
 7.   (4) M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  1:21.721 + 0.843
 8.  (11) Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  1:21.962 + 1.084
 9.  (17) Fisichella    Renault           (M)  1:22.068 + 1.190
10.   (9) R.Schumacher  Toyota            (M)  1:22.266 + 1.388
11.  (14) Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:22.304 + 1.426
12.  (10) Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:22.356 + 1.478
13.  (13) Klien         Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:22.532 + 1.654
14.   (2) Webber        Williams-BMW      (M)  1:22.560 + 1.682
15.   (3) Massa         Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:23.060 + 2.182
16.   (1) Pizzonia      Williams-BMW      (M)  1:23.291 + 2.413
17.   (6) Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:24.666 + 3.788
18.   (8) Doornbos      Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:24.904 + 4.026
19.   (7) Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:25.859 + 4.981
20.   (5) Albers        Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:26.964 + 6.086

* Will drop 10 places due to engine change
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