Lewis Hamilton topped the times in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix with a last-gasp effort that edged him ahead of Force India’s Adrian Sutil.
Seconds before Hamilton’s time the Force India driver posted the fastest time of 1:24.261 on his final run, despite an error on the first Lesmo.
“It is a great moment, a great deal,” said Sutil. “The whole weekend was a big success already. We did good work, and the car is amazing, really quick.”
“It’s unbelievable, it is so good for the team especially after the Spa success.”
“We continued it here and just being competitive, it is such a different feeling in the car right now. You know you have a chance.”
“It’s a good feeling like the racing driver is back in me. I enjoyed every single moment.”
Former Force India driver and Spa pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella had a low-key start to his Ferrari career after he failed to make it past Q2
Hamilton was surprised at the pace of the McLaren cars and delighted to take the top spot alongside ex-F3 team-mate Sutil.
“It was very close qualifying session and very happy to see Adrian up here,” said Hamilton. “It has probably not been since F3 that we were in a press conference together and qualifying together.
“They [Force India] are incredibly fast and competitive, but our team did a great job this weekend. I was able to put the lap together. It’s such a great feeling to put that lap together, the public have to imagine what it is like, it is the most exciting exhilarating thing.
Another driver who was positive after qualifying was championship leader Jenson Button,“I’m happy,” he said.
“All weekend I’ve been pretty happy with the car, and it got better in qualifying. It went well on both high fuel and low fuel.”
“I think we can go well from there [sixth]. My team-mate slightly pipped me, by 15 hundredths, which is a pain, but we’re in a good position.
“I want to go out there and win this race. We’ve done the best strategy not to just score points but to do the best job we can this weekend. I think our strategy is good and I’m looking forward to it.”
Both BMW drivers experienced engine problems and pulled out of qualifying with in minutes of each other and BMW boss Mario Theissen explained “As far as we can see from the data they both had the same problem, the two engines were new, therefore the reason cannot be too much mileage or too high stress. A thorough analysis will only be possible once we have dismantled the engines.
“Of course, this has a negative effect on our race prospects. We expected good grid positions on this track. Obviously the failures also influence our engine planning for the remaining races of the season.”