Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix saw the Mercedes-powered McLaren and Force India lock out the front row with Lewis Hamilton on the pole from Adrian Sutil, while Kimi Raikkonen
led the way for Ferrari in third position. Behind the fastest three there was drama for BMW Sauber
with a double engine failure, while both Williams and Toyota failed to shine. Here's what the drivers had to say.
1 . L. Hamilton - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
"It was a very close session. The car felt very good, and I was able to really put the lap together. I had a single shot at pole – and that’s the most exhilarating and exciting feeling you can have as a racing driver. We didn’t anticipate being this quick before the weekend, but I’m now in the best position to make the most of the start and to get out of the first corner cleanly. It’s fantastic to have Adrian starting alongside me tomorrow and we both want a clean start and to enjoy the grand prix.”
2 . A. Sutil - Force India Mercedes VJM02
"After the results yesterday and this morning, we wanted to fight for the pole position. We knew the car was up to it and that's what we showed in qualifying today. We have a great package, this circuit suits us very well as we have an incredible top speed and also a good downforce package so the efficiency of the car is really good. I'm starting on the front row with Lewis for the first time since F3 and I'm really happy he is next to me, he's a good friend but we will fight hard for it. I have a lot of respect for him. It's going to be very difficult start with the KERS cars around me but the race is long, I'll do what I have to to defend my position and have a good strategy. If the race pace is okay we can gain positions and even if they get past me I have a good, fast car on the straights so it's going to be tight."
3 . K. Raikkonen - Ferrari F60
“That was one of my best qualifying sessions of the year and we hope that tomorrow things can go even better. I am pleased with this result, for the team and for our fans. The car is not yet perfect, but it’s good all the same. We knew the hardest task would come in Q2 as after that, the car is always very competitive with a race fuel load on board: all the same, it was a pleasant surprise to see how it handled in the final part. I am confident for tomorrow: at the start it won’t be as easy to make up a lot of places as it was at Spa, because there are other cars fitted with KERS near me, but if everything goes well, we can fight for a place on the podium.”
4 . H. Kovalainen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
“Pole position would have been better, but I’m happy with my position. Tomorrow, we’ll see what strategies everybody is running: I think we’re going to be strong. We’re in good shape, have a solid and reliable car and are looking to be very competitive tomorrow. I’ve been quick all weekend and actually felt the car was working better with a heavier fuel load than on lighter tanks, so that’s another positive for the race. Our KERS Hybrid is going to be very helpful – it’s a boost at the start and will be useful throughout the race, particularly for overtaking and pushing out of the corners. My focus for tomorrow is to win this race – and I think that’s a realistic target.”
5 . R. Barrichello - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
"That was probably one of my best qualifying laps at Monza and I really enjoyed myself out there. We had the ability to be on pole today but strategically we had to consider the pace of the KERS cars off the line and so we put a lot of fuel in the car and focused on what was right for our race. I had a great lap with the fuel onboard and fifth position is the best that I could have achieved so I'm really pleased that we got everything possible out of the car. It will be interesting to see the fuel figures but I'm confident that we're in a good position. I just love racing here so I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow."
6 . J. Button - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001
"I'm really happy with sixth position today. Rubens and I have been so close on lap times all weekend and he's ended up just fifteen-hundredths ahead of me which is the difference between getting your head down on the straights. I obviously didn't do it enough! We got the best out of the car today and it felt good on the heavy fuel load which is important because it's not just about qualifying, you have to consider your race. It's been a positive day and I'm confident that we can have a good race."
7 . V. Liuzzi - Force India Mercedes VJM02
"Two weeks ago I didn't expect to be on the grid so this is a fantastic result - better than we expected. The team made a great effort and gave me a lot of support to reach this target. They never gave up and we had a great Friday and Saturday. The race will be difficult physically and mentally but I like the fight, the team are fighters and we will give the maximum in tomorrow's race. I'm definitely looking forward to racing in front of my home crowd."
8 . F. Alonso - Renault R29
“We had a few doubts about reaching Q3 this morning so we are happy to have made it through. In the end we missed being in fourth or fifth position by a very small amount. I hope to have a good start of the race tomorrow and gain some places using the KERS.”
9 . S. Vettel - Red Bull Renault RB5
“Not a very good session for us today, ninth and tenth is not where we wanted to be, but let’s wait to see the fuel weights. It’s a long race tomorrow, anything can happen and our target is to score points.”
10 . M. Webber - Red Bull Renault RB5
"We’ll see how the strategy pans out tomorrow – we’ve got to try and grab everything we can now. I’m pretty happy with the job I did today and the guys have done a good job all weekend, but we’re just lacking a bit of pace. We’ll do what we can tomorrow and salvage something from tenth – it’s certainly possible.”
11 . J.
Trulli - Toyota TF109
"I am happy with my lap in second qualifying because that was the maximum we could get out of the car. Of course it is not satisfying to be 11th and it's extremely disappointing to miss out on the top 10 right at the end of the session like that. I would have been really happy to be in the top 10 considering the performance in practice, which suggested it would be a tough qualifying for us. It is going to be hard tomorrow but 11th is not far away from the top eight so we need to fight and try to bring home some points."
12 . R. Grosjean - Renault R29
“This is my best performance in qualifying so far. Of course, I would have preferred to make it through to Q3, but I think I can be happy with my performance today. For tomorrow, the KERS should help us at the start of the race. My aim will be to finish in the top ten and if I can score some points I will be very happy.”
13 . R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.09
“This is a very difficult situation for me, not only for this Grand Prix but also for the next races. I do not have many engines left. It is also unfortunate for Nick who was very competitive here. Although I was struggling a bit I was quite confident of making it into the final qualifying session. I was struggling a little bit with the car in the first qualifying session, but it was better right from the start of the second one. I managed to do quite a good lap, but unfortunately had traffic for the next two laps. The engine problem makes my position for the final races of the season very complicated.”
14 . G. Fisichella - Ferrari F60
“Overall, I am reasonably happy, even if I’m aware that a fourteenth place on the grid is not up to the Ferrari standard. Yesterday, I drove the F60 for the first time and this morning, because of a mistake by me, I lost valuable time to prepare for qualifying, as I crashed into the barriers. I want to thank all the mechanics who did a fantastic job of rebuilding the car for qualifying. I was a bit tense before the session, as I knew I didn’t yet have enough confidence in the car. Unfortunately, in Q2, I never managed to put together a perfect lap and so I couldn’t make it through to Q3. It’s a shame, as the potential was there, but tomorrow there is still time to have a good race nevertheless. Maybe, I can try and immediately make up some places at the start thanks to the KERS.”
15 . N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1.09
“It is a real shame having an engine problem after it all looked so promising. We had a good qualifying in Spa where I was third, and in this morning’s free practice I was third again. I was certainly expecting a good qualifying result after the car was quite quick here. Reliability problems are very exceptional for our team and, of course, it is very strange that Robert and I both had problems with two new engines within a few minutes. We will find out what the reason was. Qualifying 15th will make it difficult, but I will not give up and make the most of it.”
16 . T. Glock - Toyota TF109
"It's frustrating to miss out on second qualifying when I was only sixth tenths away from the fastest lap of the session. We looked quite promising this morning but we didn't transfer all of that speed to qualifying, and I wasn't helped by traffic. On my last lap on the soft tyres another car went straight on at the chicane and I had to follow him, which destroyed my lap. I had the potential to qualify higher but if you lose a little bit of time like that it is very costly. It will be tough in the race tomorrow but we will work on a strategy to make up some places and do our best as always."
17 . K. Nakajima - Williams Toyota FW31
"It was a tough qualifying session for us – we knew it would be, but that doesn’t change the disappointment. The gap to making it into Q2 was very small and perhaps without hitting traffic on my last lap, something more might have been possible to give me a better start position for the race."
18 . N. Rosberg - Williams Toyota FW31
"I started to find a bit more competitiveness during qualifying today and we made all the right decisions such as choosing the soft tyre, but I didn’t manage to put the ideal lap together as the car has not been at its best all weekend. Although we had a tough time with the car last race and we will struggle a lot here this weekend, I am convinced things will improve for Singapore and we will be back where we were in Valencia."
19 . S. Buemi - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
“I did the best I could, but the session did not go well for me. I was held up by Hamilton, who did not know I was there. Another lap for me might have made a bit of a difference, but not much. As for Glock saying I held him up, I don’t think I did, as I was just trying to rebuild a gap after being slowed by Hamilton. They say it might rain tomorrow, so now we need to work out the best strategy for whatever conditions we might encounter in the race.”
20 . J. Alguersuari - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4
“I was not expecting much from this session, after problems in the morning with my gearbox meant I only did ten laps in free practice. Because of that, I did not have the time to try much in terms of setting up the car. Therefore, we carried over some unknown factors into qualifying and I have to say, I am still getting used to driving the car in this low downforce configuration. I hope I can still have a good race tomorrow and to be honest, I hope it rains.”