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Qualifying - Hamilton pips Sutil to Monza pole 12 Sep 2009

Qualifying parc ferme (L to R): Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1, second; Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, pole position; Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 12 September 2009 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 12 September 2009 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 12 September 2009 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F60.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 12 September 2009

For moments it seemed that Force €ndia were about to celebrate a consecutive pole position, following their Belgian success, after Adrian Sutil lapped Monza on Saturday afternoon in 1m 24.261s in Q3. But right at the very end Lewis Hamilton came blazing round for McLaren with 1m 24.066s to snatch the honour away.

Behind them, the KERS cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen lined up third and fourth, the first Finn lapping in 1m 24.523s for Ferrari, the second in 1m 24.845s for McLaren.

Then came the Brawn GPs, with Rubens Barrichello acing Jenson Button, 1m 25.015s to 1m 25.030s. Seventh, with a good fuel load, was Vitantonio Liuzzi in the second Force €ndia (1m 25.043s), ahead of Renault’s Fernando Alonso (1m 25.072s), and the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber (1m 25.180s and 1m 25.314s).

Button had grabbed the fastest time away from Hamilton right at the end of Q2, with Barrichello, Sutil, Liuzzi, Webber, Raikkonen and Alonso in pursuit. Toyota’s Jarno Trulli was the first to fail to make it through to Q3 after a lap of 1m 23.611s, which put him 11th ahead of Renault’s Romain Grosjean (1m 23.728s), BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica (1m 23.866s), Ferrari’s Giancarlo Fisichella (1m 23.901s) and BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld (1m 24.275s). €t was not a great session for BMW Sauber, with both cars stopping in Turn One with engine failures.

As Raikkonen set the pace from Hamilton, Button, Barrichello, Kovalainen, Vettel, Sutil and Liuzzi (the two Force €ndia separated by 0.002s!), Toyota nearly lost both cars in Q1, Trulli just squeaking into Q2 as team mate Timo Glock became the first faller with 1m 24.036s to the €talian's 1m 24.014s.

The other two Toyota-engined cars also failed, Kazuki Nakajima lapping his Williams in 1m 24.074s to team mate Nico Rosberg’s 1m 24.121s as they took 17th and 18th. And the two Toro Rossos were at the back, in stark contrast to last year. Sebastien Buemi lapped his in 1m 24.220s to Jaime Alguersuari’s 1m 24.951s. The latter's 20th position renders a five-place penalty for a pre-session gearbox penalty largely meaningless.

Overall, the times up the front are so close that it is going to be a terrific race.