Free Practice 3
Once again, McLaren decided to split their cars with regards to downforce strategy as Jenson Button held onto the F-Duct and a high downforce set-up, while Lewis Hamilton retained his skinny rear wing set up. At the end of practice, Hamilton was the faster of the two and indeed fastest overall, with Button lagging with 5th best time and a gap of 0.2 of-a-second.
Both Red Bull’s ran well, with Sebastian Vettel setting the 2nd fastest time just ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso – something that was not anticipated at this low-downforce track. Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber stopped at the Prima Variante chicane after 40 minutes with an airbox fire, which resulted in a cut engine – it was becoming a difficult weekend for the Australian who finished the session with the 7th best time, just slower that Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes.
Felipe Massa registered the 4th best time, but only after he had an off at the first Lesmo corner, kicking up the dust, but not causing any damage to his red machine. Jaime Alguersuari had a similar off to Massa at the second Lesmo; his Toro Rosso went wide and slid into the dusty gravel trap – the Spaniard pulled in mired down in 15th.
Following a disastrous Friday, both the Hispania machines finally got some decent running, but were still slowest of all the runners.
Under the glare of the Tifosi, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso secured the 19th pole position of his career. With the fastest lap of the entire weekend (1:21.962), the Spaniard nudged Jenson Button to the top spot by just over one-tenth of-a-second.
Button – who was running the F-Duct with a high downforce wing set-up – found himself sandwiched by red cars as Felipe Massa slotted his Ferrari into 3rd. Massa will joined by the leading Red Bull of Mark Webber. Indeed this is the first time a Red Bull has not been on the front row since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix.
It was an excellent time by Webber, who has struggled all weekend with poor reliability. He’ll be hoping to stay ahead of Championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel tomorrow as they start from 5th and 6th respectively.
The top 10 was filled out by the leading Mercedes driven by Nico Rosberg, while Nico Hulkenberg (8th) and Rubens Barrichello (10th) squeezed the Renault of Robert Kubica (9th).
The second session confirmed something of a disappointing session for the Force India’s as Adrian Sutil (11th) just lost out to Rosberg and Barrichello for the last slot into Q3. That disappointment will be nothing compared to the pressure faced by Michael Schumacher – the great German won on his last visit to Monza in 2006; however he will start the race from the sixth row, alongside Sutil.
Kamui Kobayashi was the fastest of the Sauber’s in 13th, with team mate Pedro de la Rosa in 17th. The Swiss team sandwiched both Toro Rosso’s (Sebastien Buemi (14th) and Jaime Alguersuari (15th)). Vitaly Petrov had originally qualified in 15th, but was later penalised five places for blocking Timo Glock in the first session.
Vitantonio Liuzzi was the biggest loser in Q1 – his Force India lost engine power during the run, leaving the Italian to start in 19th position. Ahead of him were both Lotus’, headed by Jarno Trulli. It was not a good qualifying session for Timo Glock – apart from the Petrov block, he later picked up a grid penalty for changing his gearbox, leaving him firmly in last place behind the Hispania duo.
Italy, Qualifying (September 11th)
1 ALONSO Ferrari 1m21.962s
2 BUTTON McLaren 1m22.084s
3 MASSA Ferrari 1m22.293s
4 WEBBER Red Bull 1m22.433s
5 HAMILTON McLaren 1m22.623s
6 VETTEL Red Bull 1m22.675s
7 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m23.027s
8 HULKENBERG Williams 1m23.037s
9 KUBICA Renault 1m23.039s
10 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m23.328s
11 SUTIL Force India 1m23.199s
12 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m23.388s
13 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m23.659s
14 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m23.681s
15 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m23.919s
16 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m24.044s
17 TRULLI Lotus 1m25.540s
18 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m25.742s
19 LIUZZI Force India 1m25.774s
20 PETROV Renault 1m23.819s (* 5-place penalty for blocking Glock)
21 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m25.974s
22 SENNA HRT 1m26.847s
23 YAMAMOTO HRT 1m27.020s
24 GLOCK Virgin 1m25.934s (** 5-place penalty for a gearbox change)
Italy, 3rd Free Practice (September 11th)
1 HAMILTON McLaren 1m22.498s
2 VETTEL Red Bull 1m22.545s
3 ALONSO Ferrari 1m22.644s
4 MASSA Ferrari 1m22.648s
5 BUTTON McLaren 1m22.724s
6 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m22.946s
7 WEBBER Red Bull 1m23.082s
8 HULKENBERG Williams 1m23.129s
9 KUBICA Renault 1m23.209s
10 SUTIL Force India 1m23.303s
11 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m23.450s
12 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m23.673s
13 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m23.896s
14 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m23.908s
15 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m23.909s
16 PETROV Renault 1m23.967s
17 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m24.191s
18 LIUZZI Force India 1m24.439s
19 TRULLI Lotus 1m25.788s
20 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m25.925s
21 GLOCK Virgin 1m26.434s
22 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m26.682s
23 SENNA HRT 1m27.471s
24 YAMAMOTO HRT 1m28.730s