Formula 1

Vettel and Hulkenberg star in Monza Qualifying as Hamilton Suffers Q2 Exit

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Sebastian Vettel took an easy pole position for the Italian Grand Prix with a dominant display today in Monza.

At a circuit that was supposed to be the worst of the season for Red Bull, Mark Webber completed a front-row lock out for the team.

Nico Hulkenberg took an excellent third place for Sauber, out-qualifying both Ferrari drivers. Felipe Massa for was fourth, beating teammate Fernando Alonso who could manage only fifth.

It was an even more disappointing session for others: Kimi Räikkönen and Lewis Hamilton were both knocked out in Q2, and qualified only eleventh and twelfth respectively.

Sebastian Vettel shown his intent early on, setting the early pace by topping the timesheets in Q1. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were not far behind though, giving hope that there could be a challenge for pole position later in the hour.

It was not such a good opening to qualifying for Force India, however. Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil were P15 and P16 in Q1, and narrowly avoided being knocked out at the first hurdle.

That dubious honour went to Esteban Gutierrez and Valtteri Bottas, who bowed out of qualifying along with the usual suspects of Giedo van der Garde, Charles Pic, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton.

Vettel was top of the timesheets again in Q2, but there was major drama down the order with both Lotus cars, and Lewis Hamilton dropping out of qualifying. Kimi Räikkönen could manage only P11, Hamilton P12, and Romain Grosjean P13.

For Hamilton, this failure to get into Q3 was his first in 67 races, and Adrian Sutil will be investigated for impeding the winner of last year’s Italian Grand Prix after getting in Hamilton’s way on his hot lap.

Sutil eventually finished Q2 in P14, but is likely to be dropped down the order if found guilty of impeding Hamilton. Pastor Maldonado in P15 out-qualified Di Resta.

Possibly benefitting from Hamilton and others downfall was both McLaren drivers, both Toro Rosso drivers, and the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg, who all found themselves in the pole position.

Vettel set the early pace with a 1:23.859, with Mark Webber the only driver within half a second of the world champion.

The German did not actually need to do another lap to be assured of pole, as nobody else could beat his first time. However, Vettel did improve, setting a 1:23.755 at the end of the session. Webber improved on his initial time to complete the all-Red Bull front row.

Ferrari was left with egg on their face after another failed attempt to set up a tow for Fernando Alonso using Felipe Massa. Not only was Alonso out-qualified by teammate Massa, but bother drivers were beaten by Nico Hulkenberg.

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David is an occasional contributer to the site on matters related to Formula 1. You can follow him on twitter at @Dr_Bean.
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