Live Commentary: Italian Grand Prix qualifying - as it happened

Live Commentary: Italian GP quali - as it happened
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Read how Sebastian Vettel scored his 40th Formula 1 pole as Lewis Hamilton struggled in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Reigning three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel headed into today's qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix as the man to beat after some dominant performances in practice.

The German notched his 40th pole on a comfortable afternoon as Lewis Hamilton, the pole-sitter at the last four races, failed to even reach the top-10 shootout.

Read how all the pace-setting unfolded at Monza in our minute-by-minute updates below.


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12.32pmAfternoon all! Just under half an hour until qualifying begins at Monza.

12.34pmMonza is one of the most iconic tracks on the calendar and has a particularly special resonance with Ferrari as this is their home race.

12.36pmFerrari's lead driver Alonso encouragingly finished second behind Mr Vettel in this morning's final sun-soaked practice session. Find our report and full standings here.

12.38pmOn Friday Alonso finished second and fifth but form isn't in his favour when it comes to qualifying as he's yet to score a pole this year.

12.40pmIn fact, there's only been three different names on pole in the 11 races so far this season, with Mercedes man Lewis Hamilton on top in the last four races at the pace-setting. The other two to have achieved pole are Hamilton's teammate Rosberg and that boy Vettel.

12.42pmREMINDER! Just in case you've forgotten how F1 qualifying works or you're new to the sport, here's a quick rundown of the hour ahead:

All 22 cars take part in a 20-minute 'Q1' session. The six slowest cars after this period are eliminated and start the race from their position between 17-22.

Next is a 15-minute 'Q2' session where the remaining 16 cars battle for a place in the final top 10 shootout. As before, the cars that finish in positions 11-16 start the race from those spots.

Finally, the 10-minute pole position shootout where the 10 quickest cars from Q2 fight it out for the final positions on the grid.

12.44pmAs mentioned, tomorrow's race signals the end of Europe's races on this season's calendar. After this there are seven more races in Singapore, Korea, Japan, India, Abu Dhabi, America and Brazil.

12.47pmSTANDINGS! Vettel's triumph at the last race in Belgium gave him a 46-point lead going into this race in the driver rankings. Click here to see the full list.

12.50pmMonza is an extremely high-speed circuit with plenty of straights and just eight corners to slow down for. There will be 53 laps tomorrow around the 5.793km circuit.

12.53pmWEATHER WATCH! It's lovely and sunny at Monza, which is North of Milan, so we're set for a dry quali session. However, today's forecast indicates that there could be rain and thunderstorms for the race in 24 hours' time.

12.56pmCan Hamilton make it an incredible five poles in a row this afternoon? He tends to bring his A-game when the pressure's on but Vettel's Red Bull might just be too good this afternoon. Here's what Lewis tweeted last night:


12.59pmPREDICTION! Just a few moments until Q1 begins so I best get my prediction out there before we begin. I really hope that Alonso can send the sea of Ferrari red watching wild but you have to say that Vettel looks invincible around Monza, where the average lap speed is a whopping 152mph!

1pmGREEN LIGHT! We are underway in Italy! 20 minutes of pace-setting ahead for all 22 cars. Remember, the slowest six will be knocked out.

1.01pmRosberg, who was bottom in final practice this morning because of a gearbox issue, is out nice and early. None of the other big names yet to head out.

1.04pmRosberg's lap can't have been at full pelt as he's currently third out of the seven drivers to set a time, with Gutierrez on top with a 1:26.293.

1.05pmOut come the prancing horses of Massa and Alonso to a huge roar from the grandstand. All that the Ferrari boys will be hoping for is a clean lap to get them through to the next session.

1.06pmALONSO to the front with a 1:24.938. Soon-to-retire Webber has just started his first flying lap. Red Bull announced earlier this week that fellow Aussie Daniel Ricciardo, currently driving for sister team Toro Rosso, would replace Webber to partner Vettel next season.

1.10pmHalfway through the session and it's now VERGNE leading the way with a 1:24.630. Only Perez and Vettel are yet to set a time.

1.11pmHamilton pushes himself up to second before Alonso takes that spot from him seconds later. Vettel is only just cruising out from the pits now with nine minutes to go.

1.13pmIt's still VERGNE who leads the way from Alonso, Button, Hamilton and Raikkonen in the top five. Wait for Vettel to casually go straight to the front with his first lap...

1.15pmMaybe not! Just third for the German as he falls six-hundredths short of the time of Vergne. That will be just fine to get him into Q2 though. At the moment it's the Caterhams and Marussias or Chilton, Bianchi, Pic and Van der Garde and Gutierrez and Sutil heading for an early exit. Into the final five minutes of Q1.

1.16pmHamilton goes fastest with a 1:24.589 but moments later he's beaten by VETTEL's 1:24.319.

1.17pmForce India really need to up their game here. As it stands both Di Resta and Sutil will be joining the Caterhams and Marussias in being eliminated.

1.18pmDi Resta and Sutil get out of the bottom six but they're not that far clear of it and could soon be demoted again.

1.19pmThe Williams of Maldonando and Bottas are now in the danger zone as Rosberg goes second with a 1:24.527.

1.21pmCHEQUERED FLAG! Gutierrez and Bottas OUT!

1.22pmA Sauber and a Williams it is who join the Caterhams and Marussias in going out. Maldonado moved up to 12th with a fine last lap.

1.23pmOUT! Here are the six drivers, in the order they'll start the race tomorrow, who were eliminated there: 17 Gutierrez 18 Bottas 19 Van der Garde 20 Pic 21 Bianchi 22 Chilton

1.26pmAs expected, Vettel was fastest there with a 1:24.319. He's joined at the front by fellow German Rosberg of Mercedes, with Hamilton in third. Not so good from Webber, who was down in 13th.

1.27pmGREEN LIGHT! The 15-minute second session is underway and Ricciardo is straight out for Toro Rosso. Both he and Vergne were impressive in that first session and they'll be expecting to make it through to the top-10 shootout.

1.29pmAlthough Vettel was unsurprisingly on top in Q1, there was hardly any time between him and those that scraped through, with just seven-tenths separating him and 15th-placed Di Resta.

1.30pmRICCIARDO's first lap is a solid 1:24.746. We're yet to see anyone dip under the 84-second mark this afternoon.

1.33pmThe fastest time of the afternoon is set by ALONSO with a 1:24.227. Moments before that Hamilton ruined his chance at a quick lap by drifting out into the gravel trap.

1.35pmRosberg also goes a little wide on the arcing final corner to lose time and only manage second. Neither Red Bull has set a time in Q2 as we approach the final five minutes of the session.

1.37pmOne man not having fun out there is Hamilton. He's yet to set a hot lap and has just had to come in for a couple of tweaks. By the time he's back out he'll only have time for one or two laps to get himself into the final session.

1.37pmOn the cusp of being eliminated at the moment are Di Resta and Perez, who have both gone round in exactly the same time of 1:25.077 and sit 10th and 11th respectively.

1.39pmWebber's first flying lap is just shy of Alonso's before VETTEL dips under 1:24 with a 1:23.977.

1.40pmHuge couple of laps coming up for Hamilton now. He can't afford any mistakes.

1.41pmHamilton can only manage ninth so he'll have to sort that out to guarantee a top-10 place. Both McLarens and Force Indias look like they'll be out unless they can find something.

1.43pmLEWIS HAMILTON FAILS TO MAKE IT INTO Q3!!!

1.44pmHuge shock in Monza as the man who's secured pole in the last four races gets stuck in traffic and exits without even getting a shot at top spot.

1.44pmRaikkonen also slumps out in the second session.

1.45pmOUT! Here are the six drivers, in order, who were eliminated there: 11 Raikkonen 12 Hamilton 13 Grosjean 14 Sutil 15 Maldonado 16 Di Resta

1.46pmReplays show that Hamilton was clearly blocked on his way into the final corner ahead of his hot lap by Sutil and the stewards announce that they are investigating the incident. Sutil pretty much guaranteed to get a penalty.

1.48pmOnce again it was VETTEL who had the fastest time there and without pole specialist Hamilton there to take him on in Q3, surely the German is a shoe-in for top spot now.

1.49pmVettel is now 1/10 to be on pole position so not even worth a bet! Hamilton is already speaking to the media and sure to be venting his frustration.

1.50pmGREEN LIGHT! The top-10 shootout is underway and Rosberg heads straight out to the track.

1.51pmWebber also zips his way down the pit lane while Vettel looks as cool as a cucumber in his garage. Both Ferraris go out together as they've been trying to slipstream each other to gain time.

1.52pmHamilton tells Sky Sports F1: "That's life," after he was impeded by Sutil and failed to make Q3. When asked if he can produce something from the midfield tomorrow, the Englishman isn't positive and says he doesn't think so. Look on the bright side, eh Lew?

1.54pmThe first hot lap of the final session is from WEBBER and it's an impressive 1:23.990.

1.54pmVETTEL instantly goes faster with a 1:23.859 despite not being as quick as his teammate in the first two sectors. Only the Red Bulls, Ferraris and Rosberg have set a time so far.

1.57pmInto the final three minutes and Ricciardo is now whizzing round the famous old circuit. The Toro Rosso has looked impressive so far, can they get into the top four? Would be some achievement.

1.57pmIt is FOURTH for the Aussie as he sandwiches the two Ferraris.

1.59pmAll the cars are currently trying to warm up their car for an optimal final lap. Into the final minute we go.

2pmSEBASTIAN VETTEL QUALIFIES FASTEST FOR THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX!

2.01pmThe biggest surprise is that HULKENBURG somehow got third behind the two Red Bulls. Incredible stuff from the Sauber man.

2.02pmVettel didn't even need to improve on his initial time but still set the fastest lap of the afternoon with a 1:23.755.

2.03pmFINAL TOP 10! 1 Vettel 2 Webber 3 Hulkenburg 4 Massa 5 Alonso 6 Rosberg 7 Ricciardo 8 Perez 9 Button 10 Vergne

2.05pmApparently they're absolutely fuming at Ferrari because Massa went too far ahead of Alonso, meaning that they couldn't use their drafting technique.

2.08pmYou have to say that Red Bull's changes have clearly worked. The cars traditionally don't have a great top speed but here at Monza they were quickest in every single sector. Ridiculous supremacy at the moment and as they have locked out the front row it will be very hard for anyone to jump them at the start tomorrow.

2.10pmThanks for joining SM for coverage of qualifying. We'll be back from 12.30pm tomorrow for the race, which begins at 1pm. Do join us then.

Lewis Hamilton steers his car ahead of Sebastian Vettel during the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 28, 2013
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