Lewis Hamilton on pole at Monza with Fernando Alonso 10th

 

Lewis Hamilton swept to pole position for the Italian Formula One Grand Prix today in an all-McLaren front row with team mate Jenson Button lining up alongside him.

It was McLaren's third successive pole, and 23rd of Hamilton's career, and left the two Britons perfectly placed for a third win in a row after their third one-two in qualifying this season.

"I think practice was a lot better for me," said Hamilton, who was fastest in the morning's final practice, of what he called a 'half-decent' lap at the end of the session.

"I didn't think that lap was anywhere near good enough," added the 2008 world champion, whose Formula One future has been the major talking point of the weekend with speculation raging that Hamilton could move to Mercedes.

Button has finished runner-up at Monza for the past three years in a row but knows only too well that the driver on pole has also ended up the winner in six of the last 10 races there.

"The last few races have really shown our strength," said Button. "Qualifying both of us on the front row is great...but even being on the front row it's not going to be an easy race."

Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa qualified third but team mate and championship leader Fernando Alonso, who has a 24-point lead over Red Bull's champion Sebastian Vettel, could manage only 10th place on the grid for his team's home race.

"I think he had a problem," said Massa, whose future at Ferrari looks shakier than ever after he scored just 35 points in 12 races. "He had a problem on Q3 (the third phase) and was not able to complete his lap."

Britain's Paul Di Resta qualified fourth fastest but has a five-place grid penalty due to an unscheduled gearbox change. That meant Michael Schumacher, still adored by the Ferrari fans for his golden past with the team, will start on the second row instead for Mercedes.

Vettel will share the third row with the Mercedes of compatriot Nico Rosberg with former Ferrari champion Kimi Raikkonen seventh for Lotus and alongside Japan's Kamui Kobayashi for Sauber.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg will start last after he failed to set a time in qualifying after slowing and stopping on the escape road next to the first chicane.

His problems allowed Belgian Jerome D'Ambrosio, replacing the banned Romain Grosjean at Lotus for one race, to go through to the second phase.

He will start 15th because Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, wearing a new helmet with "Less Trouble, More Speed' written on it, has a 10-place grid penalty for jumping the start at the last race in Belgium and causing a collision.

Frenchman Grosjean was handed his ban at Spa for causing a pile-up that dumped Alonso and Hamilton out at the first corner.

For the first time since 1969, Sunday's race will have no Italian drivers in it - although the grim economic climate was a more likely explanation for the unusually large numbers of empty seats in the main grandstand.

D'Ambrosio, Massa, Toro Rosso's Australian Daniel Ricciardo and Di Resta all have Italian ancestry, however.

Reuters

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas