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

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

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue