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Italian Grand Prix – Monza Qualifying

September 12, 2009

Lewis Hamilton took his second pole position of the season in the qualifying session at Monza, but most of the attention went to second place on the grid, which was secured by Force India’s Adrian Sutil, and had he not made a small mistake in his final lap, he could well have been at the front.

In Q1,it became clear that the Toyota engine was not coping with the rigours of Spa, as Alguersuari, Buemi, Rosberg, Nakajima and Glock went out, the only real surprise there being Rosberg. There may yet be an issue with Buemi being impeded by Hamilton on his final flying lap, but whether the stewards will do anything given that Buemi probably wouldn’t make Q2 anyway remains to be seen. It provided the highlight of the session for me though, with another classic David Coulthard/Eddie Jordan verbal scrap developing over whether the McLaren team should have told Hamilton to move.

The big story of Q2 was Giancarlo Fisichella, who appeared to be struggling with the brakes in his Ferrari. BMW also proved that the Toyotas were not the only engines with problems, as both their cars were forced to pull off track within minutes due to engine issues. Heidfeld, Fisichella, Kubica, Grosjean and Trulli were out.

Into Q3 the attention switched back to Force India, as they faced the possibility of the second pole in a row. Sutil was competitive throughout, whilst the Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber were less so. The Brawns of Button and Barrichello were fast but not outstandingly so. Ross Brawn and Jenson Button stated afterwards that they were very happy with their grid slots, as they are running very long first stint one stop strategies. Until the weights are published later, we won’t know what anyone else is doing, but I suspect Hamilton is light, and Raikkonen may be in with a good chance. Brawn clearly believe they can get on the podium, and I have to hope that Webber and Alonso are also heavy.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3
 1.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:23.375  1:22.973  1:24.066
 2.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:23.576  1:23.070  1:24.261
 3.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:23.349  1:23.426  1:24.523
 4.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:23.515  1:23.528  1:24.845
 5.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:23.483  1:22.976  1:25.015
 6.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:23.403  1:22.955  1:25.030
 7.  Liuzzi       Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:23.578  1:23.207  1:25.043
 8.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:23.708  1:23.497  1:25.072
 9.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:23.558  1:23.545  1:25.180
10.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:23.755  1:23.273  1:25.314
11.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:24.014  1:23.611
12.  Grosjean     Renault               (B)  1:23.975  1:23.728
13.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:24.001  1:23.866
14.  Fisichella   Ferrari               (B)  1:23.828  1:23.901
15.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:23.584  1:24.275
16.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:24.036
17.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:24.074
18.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:24.121
19.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:24.220
20.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:24.951

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