Vettel storms to Monza pole position

Sebastian Vettel maintained Red Bull's 100 per cent record of securing pole position in 2011 by topping the times in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix

Vettel storms to Monza pole position

The runaway world championship leader breezed through the first two segments of qualifying, comfortably setting the best time in Q2, and ended Q3 0.450s ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

The German immediately asserted his dominance in Q3, bumping McLaren driver Jenson Button from the top of the times with his first flying lap. But when on course to improve on his second flier of that run, he was forced to abort after a lurid slide in the Ascari chicane.

With Lewis Hamilton only 0.112s behind him after the first runs, Vettel had no choice but to go back out for another attempt. But both McLaren drivers had to abort their final runs, with Hamilton locking up his front-left heading into the second chicane and Button losing time in the final sector, leaving German to knock another 0.338s off his fastest time unchallenged.

Fernando Alonso qualified fourth, within one-tenth of a second of Button, after improving on his final run. He knocked Mark Webber down to fifth place, with positions second through to fifth covered by only three-and-a-half tenths.

Felipe Massa qualified sixth, with Vitaly Petrov causing an upset by beating Mercedes pairing Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg to best of the rest honours after putting in a lap of 1m23.530s late in the session. Unusually, Schumacher was the better of the two Mercedes drivers, comfortably outpacing Rosberg, largely thanks to his speed advantage in the second sector. They both ended up ahead of the second Renault of Bruno Senna, the Brazilian opting not to run after using all of his option rubber after making Q3 for the second consecutive race.

Force India pairing Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta looked on course to make the top 10 shoot-out having ended Q1 ninth and 10th, only to lose out to the Renaults in the next session.

Petrov set his time, which proved good enough to make Q3, on his sole run, but Senna had to rely on a last-gasp effort to bump di Resta by just six-thousandths of a second.

Behind them, Rubens Barrichello pipped Williams team-mate Pastor Maldonado by less than a tenth. That said, the Venezuelan was perhaps fortunate even to be in Q2 after losing control exiting the Parabolica and spinning into the barrier on the inside of the track during the first segment of qualifying.

The only significant damage he suffered was to the front wing, meaning that he could limp back to the pits and return to the track a few minutes later.

Behind them, Sauber pairing Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, along with Scuderia Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi, never looked like credible threats to make Q3.

The other Toro Rosso driver, Jaime Alguersuari, was the main casualty in Q1, joining regular drop-outs Team Lotus, Virgin and HRT.

The Spaniard was bumped into 18th place in the dying moments of the session by team-mate Sebastien Buemi and Rubens Barrichello. He ended up 0.170s off the Swiss.

Jarno Trulli was best of the 'new team' group, outpacing Lotus team-mate Heikki Kovalainen by half-a-second, with all cars comfortably within the 107 per cent qualifying cutoff.

Pos  Driver                Team                 Time            Gap   
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m22.275s
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m22.725s   + 0.450
 3.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m22.777s   + 0.502
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m22.841s   + 0.566
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m22.972s   + 0.697
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m23.188s   + 0.913
 7.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m23.530s   + 1.255
 8.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m23.777s   + 1.502
 9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m24.477s   + 2.202
10.  Bruno Senna           Renault              No time
Q2 cut-off time: 1m24.157s                                   Gap **
11.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m24.163s   + 1.249
12.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m24.209s   + 1.295
13.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m24.648s   + 1.734
14.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m24.726s   + 1.812
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m24.845s   + 1.931
16.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m24.932s   + 2.018
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m25.065s   + 2.151
Q1 cut-off time: 1m25.164s                                    Gap *
18.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m25.334s   + 1.358
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m26.647s   + 2.671
20.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m27.184s   + 3.208
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m27.591s   + 3.615
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m27.609s   + 3.633
23.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth         1m28.054s   + 4.078
24.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         1m28.231s   + 4.255

107% time: 1m29.854s
* Gap to quickest in Q1
** Gap to quickest in Q2
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