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Qualifying analysis - Alonso's pain, McLaren's gain 08 Sep 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 9 September 2012 The car of Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 VJM05 is delivered back to the Pits after stopping on track during Qualifying.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012 The HRT Team and the Formula One Paddock celebrate 100 Grands Prix for Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) HRT Formula One Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 8 September 2012

Thanks to technical problems for Fernando Alonso, superb pace from Force India - unfortunately allied with a gearbox penalty for Paul di Resta - and a relatively lacklustre showing from Red Bull, Saturday's qualifying produced an exciting and mixed-up grid for Sunday's Monza race. We take a team-by-team look at the form book...

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 24.010s, P1
Jenson Button, 1m 24.133s, P2

Hamilton said his laps in qualifying weren’t as good as those he’d done in practice, but he still managed to take his 23rd pole, as Button came up to second place. It was a terrific performance from the British team, and its lockout of the front row officially took it past Williams’ tally with 62. Now all they have to do is make it through the first corner intact…

Ferrari
Felipe Massa, 1m 24.247s, P3
Fernando Alonso, 1m 25.678s, P10

Massa did a great job to uphold Ferrari honour, as it all went wrong for Alonso. The Spaniard set the pace in Q1 and Q2 after losing out by a thousandth to Hamilton in FP3, but a problem with his rear anti-roll bar at the start of Q3 kept him down to 10th place on the grid. He was convinced that without the problem he would have taken the pole, though the McLaren drivers had a different view.

Force India
Paul di Resta, 1m 24.304s, P4, will start P9
Nico Hulkenberg, No time, P24

This was a bittersweet day for the team. Di Resta looked strong throughout and served up an excellent fourth-place performance, but he’d needed a gearbox change which automatically gave him a five-place grid penalty, so he will start only ninth. Hulkenberg, meanwhile, was told to roll to a halt before he’d even recorded a lap time in Q1, when the team noted falling fuel pressure.

Mercedes
Michael Schumacher, 1m 24.540s, P5, will start P4
Nico Rosberg, 1m 24.833s, P7, will start P6

Schumacher said he was happy with his car, and he was even happier when Di Resta’s penalty moved him from fifth to fourth on the grid. Rosberg likewise moved up a place, but said he’d been much less happy with his car’s balance by Q3.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 24.802s, P6, will start P5
Mark Webber, 1m 24.809s, P11

Once again, the story was that Red Bull just weren’t quick enough. Vettel thought his lap might have been slightly quicker but doubted it would have made much difference; Webber was philosophical that he missed the Q3 cut by a fraction.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 24.855s, P8, will start P7
Jerome D’Ambrosio, 1m 25.408s, P16, will start P15

Lotus, too, lacked that final bit of pace, but Raikkonen was relieved to be in Q3. D’Ambrosio looked less strong again, but said that 70-80 percent of the difference between himself and the Finn came in sector one, where he was clearly struggling.

Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 25.109s, P9, will start P8
Sergio Perez, 1m 24.901s, P13, will start P12

Kobayashi said that yesterday’s undisclosed mechanical problem had largely been overcome, while further set-up changes after FP3 gave him a car he could push for qualifying, even if it lacked the pace it had demonstrated at Spa. Perez was not so happy, and felt that held lost his Q3 chance by staying too close to Senna on his final run in Q2. Neither sounds overly confident for the race.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 24.820s, P12, will start P22
Bruno Senna, 1m 25.042s, P14, will start P13

Williams didn’t have the top 10 they had hoped for, and Maldonado’s two five-place grid penalties really hurt as he dropped from 12th to 22nd. Senna said he was troubled by understeer.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 25.312s, P15, will start P14
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 25.441s, P17, will start P16

Ricciardo described his qualifying as ‘so,so,’ while Vergne admitted that he’d never felt comfortable with the set-up of his STR7.

Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 26.382s, P18, will start P17
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 26.887s, P19, will start P18

No problems here, but not enough speed.

Marussia
Timo Glock, 1m 27.039s, P20, will start P19
Charles Pic, 1m 27.073s, P21, will start P20

Glock was unhappy that his MR01’s balance wasn’t as good today as it was yesterday, after the ambient temperature had risen, and struggled as a result. Pic said he was happy with his qualifying even though he met traffic on his first Q1 run and felt that a small change since FP3 hadn’t been the right way to go.

HRT
Narain Karthikeyan, 1m 27.441s, P22, will start P21
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 27.629s, P23

Karthikeyan said he was quite happy with the way things went for him in Q1, despite some problems on his second set of Pirellis, but De la Rosa said that his build-up to his 100th Grand Prix was only ‘average’ and that his F112 had been better in the morning.

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