McLaren front row as Alonso suffers car failure

McLaren front row as Alonso suffers car failure

8 September 2012 – Lewis Hamilton has clinched his second pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, leading Jenson Button to the third McLaren front row lock-out of 2012. Felipe Massa will start third for Ferrari but team-mate Fernando Alonso suffered an anti-roll bar problem and was left tenth. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will start fifth and eleventh.

Heading into a dry qualifying session under blue skies, thousands of Tifosi flocked to historic Monza hoping for an Alonso pole. After the Spaniard missed out on the top spot in final practice by just one thousandth of a second, levels of optimism rose. At Lotus, Jérôme d’Ambrosio returned to racing as a substitute for the banned Romain Grosjean.

There were no major surprises in Q1, but Nico Hülkenberg was extremely disappointed to miss out on what he believed could have been his best grid slot of the season. The Force India suffered a fuel line problem and was forced to pull over; he starts 24th and last on Sunday. This aided d’Ambrosio, who scraped through to Q2 after a close battle with Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham. Behind, Narain Karthikeyan out-qualified Pedro de la Rosa at HRT, helping to confirm that all drivers have now beaten their team-mate at some point in 2012.

D’Ambrosio fell by the wayside in the second phase, but managed to stay ahead of Jean-Éric Vergne’s Toro Rosso. With Red Bull continuing to lack top speed, Mark Webber could not avoid an early bath and missed the top ten shootout for the fourth time this year, also hindered by a KERS issue. Pastor Maldonado qualified 12th, which becomes 22nd place when his ten-place penalty is applied; this was perhaps the lesser of two evils, as the Williams driver narrowly escaped a large accident after running onto the grass on the exit of Ascari.

Knowing Mercedes engines hold the upper hand, Ferrari attempted the clever tactic of instructing their drivers to slipstream each other. This worked out for Massa, but the Brazilian was unable to repay the favour as Alonso already had a problem; a broken anti-roll bar is the latest in a string of issues with Alonso’s new chassis, which was introduced after his previous car was written off in the heavy accident at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix. Massa went on to qualify third, thus getting the better of Alonso on a Saturday for the first time in 2012.

Hamilton’s fastest lap was 1:24.010, comfortably the quickest of the weekend as the Englishman stressed that he has not been distracted by talk of moving to Mercedes. Button missed pole by one tenth of a second but it was still a hat-trick for the Woking team. Paul di Resta was on a provisional front row slot before falling to a still impressive fourth; this becomes ninth on Sunday because of a five-place drop for a gearbox change.

Once di Resta is demoted, Vettel will start inside the top five and sandwiched by the Mercedes factory cars of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. Kimi Räikkönen will be seventh on a grid on what is becoming a damage limitation weekend for Lotus. From eighth, Kamui Kobayashi and Sauber will be attempting to avoid any first-corner bedlam, not least as Sergio Pérez was held up by Bruno Senna and failed to make it out of Q2.

The result marks the fifth McLaren pole position of 2012, Lewis Hamilton’s fourth and the 23rd of his career. By locking out the front row, to the dismay of Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, McLaren have repeated a feat last achieved five years ago. They also equal Williams for 61 Formula 1 front row lock-outs.


Sunday’s Grand Prix, the final race in Europe this year, starts at 2pm local time (BST +1) and can be followed through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Wednesday 1 October 2014

  2. Kobayashi keeps Caterham seat for Suzuka 08:18

    Kobayashi keeps Caterham seat for Suzuka

    Kamui Kobayashi will retain his Caterham seat for his home race at Suzuka this weekend, alongside regular driver Marcus...

    F1
  3. Suzuka memories: Häkkinen vs Schumacher 05:04

    Suzuka memories: Häkkinen vs Schumacher

    Relive the final battle between Mika Häkkinen and Michael Schumacher during the 2001 Japanese Grand Prix. Schumacher,...

    F1
  4. Tuesday 30 September 2014

  5. Renault braced for engine penalties 16:03

    Renault braced for engine penalties

    Renault says it is braced for a spate of engine penalties in the closing stages of the 2014 season. Toro Rosso rookie...

    F1
  6. 14:30

    MotoGP photos: Suzuki presents 2015 bike

    MotoGP
  7. Suzuki signs Aleix Espargaró, Viñales for 2015 13:28

    Suzuki signs Aleix Espargaró, Viñales for 2015

    Suzuki has signed Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales for its comeback MotoGP season in 2015. The Japanese manufacturer,...

    MotoGP
  8. Video: Force India drivers preview Suzuka 11:59

    Video: Force India drivers preview Suzuka

    Force India drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez preview the Japanese Grand Prix.

    F1
  9. Ferrari 'determined' to overhaul Williams 11:55

    Ferrari 'determined' to overhaul Williams

    Ferrari says it is "determined" to reclaim third in the Constructors' standings during the season run-in. With five...

    F1
  10. Formula E chief outlines manufacturer plan 11:33

    Formula E chief outlines manufacturer plan

    Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag has set out plans for the new all-electric championship to progressively move away from its...

    Formula E
  11. Button says McLaren on 'upward curve' 10:03

    Button says McLaren on 'upward curve'

    Jenson Button believes that his McLaren team is on an "upward curve" with the development of the MP4-29 chassis, even though...

    F1
  12. Suzuka memories: Senna, Prost collide, 1990 05:07

    Suzuka memories: Senna, Prost collide, 1990

    A year after their infamous clash as McLaren team-mates, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost collide at the first corner of the...

    F1
  13. Monday 29 September 2014

  14. Video: Sainz Jr. inspects shopping mall 16:24

    Video: Sainz Jr. inspects shopping mall

    Carlos Sainz Jr. carries out a unique inspection of the Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi ahead of its opening in November.

    F1
  15. Penske adds Pagenaud as fourth driver 15:25

    Penske adds Pagenaud as fourth driver

    Simon Pagenaud will drive a fourth Penske car in 2015, the reigning champion team has announced. The 30-year-old...

    Indy
  16. Video: Rossi crashes out at Aragón 14:09

    Video: Rossi crashes out at Aragón

    Valentino Rossi avoided serious injury during this violent crash in Sunday's Aragón Grand Prix.

    MotoGP
  17. Rossi back to '100 per cent' after crash 13:55

    Rossi back to '100 per cent' after crash

    Valentino Rossi says he is already feeling "100 per cent" again after his Aragón Grand Prix crash. The works Yamaha rider...

    MotoGP
  18. Hamilton yearning for first Suzuka win 11:58

    Hamilton yearning for first Suzuka win

    Lewis Hamilton has his sights fixed on claiming his first ever victory at the Suzuka circuit this weekend. Although...

    F1
  19. Verstappen confirmed for Suzuka practice 11:19

    Verstappen confirmed for Suzuka practice

    Toro Rosso has confirmed that future racer Max Verstappen will drive at a Formula 1 event for the first time this weekend,...

    F1
  20. Single DRS zone retained at Suzuka 11:11

    Single DRS zone retained at Suzuka

    The FIA has retained a single DRS zone for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix. As in previous years at the Suzuka...

    F1
  21. Force India continuing to develop VJM07 10:49

    Force India continuing to develop VJM07

    Force India boss Vijay Mallya says the team will continue to develop the VJM07 chassis over the closing stages of the 2014...

    F1
  22. Verstappen passes extensive medical tests 09:41

    Verstappen passes extensive medical tests

    Max Verstappen has passed an extensive medical evaluation as preparations ramp up for his maiden Formula 1 campaign with...

    F1
  23. Suzuka memories: Räikkönen's last-lap pass 05:12

    Suzuka memories: Räikkönen's last-lap pass

    Kimi Räikkönen claimed victory at Suzuka in 2005 with this stunning last-lap move on Giancarlo Fisichella.

    F1
  24. Sunday 28 September 2014

  25. 17:05

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  26. Rossi suffers concussion in Aragón crash 16:22

    Rossi suffers concussion in Aragón crash

    Valentino Rossi suffered a concussion but escaped serious injury following his crash in the Aragón Grand Prix on...

    MotoGP
  27. Lorenzo wins epic dry-wet race at Aragón 13:53

    Lorenzo wins epic dry-wet race at Aragón

    Jorge Lorenzo claimed his first win of 2014 in an epic dry-wet race at MotorLand Aragón after Repsol Honda riders Marc...

    MotoGP
  28. 12:51

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Sunday at Paul Ricard

    FR 3.5
  29. Sainz Jr. inches towards title with seventh win 12:50

    Sainz Jr. inches towards title with seventh win

    Red Bull young driver Carlos Sainz Jr. controlled proceedings at Paul Ricard to claim his second win of the weekend and move...

    FR 3.5
  30. Caterham has performed a small miracle – Ravetto 10:24

    Caterham has performed a small miracle – Ravetto

    Caterham Team Principal Manfredi Ravetto believes that the squad has achieved a "small miracle" in 2014, following the...

    F1
  31. Lotus pair hopeful of more 2014 points 07:28

    Lotus pair hopeful of more 2014 points

    Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado say that they have not ruled out adding to the squad's points tally...

    F1
  32. Video of the Day: F1 in every Renault – Umbrella 05:04

    Video of the Day: F1 in every Renault – Umbrella

    Unsuspecting Renault drivers experience the sensation of being on a Formula 1 starting grid.

    F1
  33. Saturday 27 September 2014

  34. Red Bull sure of closer Renault relationship 15:20

    Red Bull sure of closer Renault relationship

    Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko says that the current champions will have a closer relationship with engine supplier...

    F1
  35. 14:00

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  36. Márquez flies to pole at MotorLand Aragón 13:58

    Márquez flies to pole at MotorLand Aragón

    MotoGP championship leader Marc Márquez will start the Aragón Grand Prix from pole position after he set the quickest time d...

    MotoGP
  37. 13:00

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Saturday at Paul Ricard

    FR 3.5
  38. Sainz Jr. marches to victory at Paul Ricard 12:53

    Sainz Jr. marches to victory at Paul Ricard

    Carlos Sainz Jr. took a giant step towards this year's Formula Renault 3.5 title after easing to his sixth victory of the...

    FR 3.5
  39. Márquez on top in third Aragón session 09:46

    Márquez on top in third Aragón session

    Marc Márquez set the quickest time during third practice at MotorLand Aragón in Spain. Márquez spent much of the session f...

    MotoGP
  40. Chester doubts F1 will enforce telemetry ban 07:14

    Chester doubts F1 will enforce telemetry ban

    Lotus Technical Director Nick Chester says he doubts Formula 1 will add a telemetry ban to its radio clampdown as the sport...

    F1
  41. Video of the Day: Virtual lap of Sochi track 05:06

    Video of the Day: Virtual lap of Sochi track

    With a fortnight to go until the inaugural Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, enjoy a virtual lap in F1 2014.

    F1
  42. Friday 26 September 2014

  43. Substance contamination caused Rosberg failure 19:31

    Substance contamination caused Rosberg failure

    Mercedes has revealed that a freak substance contamination contributed to Nico Rosberg's retirement from last weekend's...

    F1
  44. 15:38

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  45. Dovizioso keeps GP14.2 on top in FP2 14:02

    Dovizioso keeps GP14.2 on top in FP2

    Andrea Dovizioso made it a clean sweep for Ducati's GP14.2 by topping Friday's second practice session at MotorLand...

    MotoGP
  46. Radiator seal led to Magnussen issue 12:05

    Radiator seal led to Magnussen issue

    McLaren has confirmed that a broken radiator seal led to hot air being pumped into Kevin Magnussen's cockpit during the...

    F1
more news