Alonso takes pole in front of tifosi
Fernando Alonso has done the best job possible by taking pole on his first outing in front of the tifosi. He didn't even need a second flying lap to stay first. Jenson Button is second while the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa is third.
At sunny Monza, Timo Glock is the first driver to take the track, but when he sarts his flying lap, it's immediately ruined by Vitaly Petrov who slowly came out of the pitlane, blocking the Virgin driver through the first chicane.
McLaren's F-duct could well pay off here at this high speed track, and 10 minutes into the session it's already showing as Hamilton is the first to dive under 1:23. Ferrari appear on the pace as well, with Alonso dominating FP3 while Massa looks quick but has been off the track at various moments through this weekend so far.
Many drivers are currently doing 3 or 4 lap runs on the harder tyre, as it shows degradation in the primes is not a problem, but it takes a moment to get them heated up.
Webber and Vettel don't look impressive so far, as Vettel is 8th while Webber did not do bette than 10th with 7 minutes to go. The could be running their engines on reduced pace to prevent reliability problems.
Tonio Liuzzi's fortunes aren't improving either as after just one flying lap his Mercedes engine showed a drastic drop in performance after the team already found the same symptom at the end of FP3. As there appears no quick solution, Liuzzi is sidelined after a mere 3 laps.
Of the running cars, Toro Rosso is setting lots of flying laps, both their cars now looking comfortably through to Q2. Jarno Trulli is the quickest car that is eliminated, and he is joined by his teammate Kovalainen, Liuzzi, Glock, Di Grassi, Senna and Yamamoto.
Glock though will start from last place, or possibly the pitlane as he takes a 5 place grid penalty due to an unscheduled gearbox change.
Right at the start of Q2, a queue of cars goes out on track. After 4 minutes 14 drivers have already set a flying lap. What's interesting is that Hamilton is the only one going on on the option tyre, doing just a single lap before coming in again.
Hamilton's soft tyres kicked in immediately and he sets the quickest time of qualiying yet, only to be improved by Alonso one lap later.
Vettel meanwhile is fighting hard with his car and improves to 4th, still 5 tenths off Alonso's fastest lap. The team are struggling to benefit from their excellent downforce here as pure engine performance is more important than at any other circuit of the calendar.
Schumacher is again struggling to get into Q1, with his one but lap ruined in the middle sector. Sutil is the first man eliminated, ahead of Schumacher who didn't manage to improve on his final lap. Kobayashi is 13th, ahead of Buemi, Petrov, Alguersuari and De La Rosa.
The queue at the start of Q3 is led by Massa, followed by Webber and Alonso. The McLarens are immediately behind them while Vettel awaits until everybody is gone to leave the pitlane.
As they all pass the finish line after their first flying laps, it is Alonso who is quickes with an amazing 1:21.962 on the softer tyres. Jenson Button with the higher downforce McLaren is second, ahead of Massa and Hamilton, the latter running a low downforce setup. Webber and Vettel are 5th and 6th, Kubica 7th.
All men were on the option tyres, and only Massa stayed out on track, setting a personal best but staying in 3rd place, behind Button.
With 3 minutes to go the main contenders come back on track for a final lap, while Hulkenberg is setting his first laptime in Q3, good for 8th while Barrichello ruined his lap as he slightly missed his braking point in turn 1.
Rosberg is waiting even more and joins the leaders in their final stints. He is only 10th after his first flying lap.
Alonso, the first on the final flying laps abandons his attempt and comes into he pit, hoping nobody improves. Button at least doesn't. Massa stays third while Webber moves up to 4th. Hamilton doesn't deliver while Vettel is 6th.