Vettel storms to Monza pole position
7 September 2013 – Sebastian Vettel claimed his fourth pole position of the 2013 season with a dominant performance during Saturday afternoon's qualifying session at Monza. The German clocked a time of 1:23.755 to lead fellow Red Bull driver Mark Webber by two tenths of a second, with Nico Hülkenberg a remarkable third for Sauber.
There were two established names missing from the list of Q3 runners, with both Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen failing to make it past the second phase. This gave the Red Bulls an even smoother run to the front row of the grid, with Vettel and Webber instantly stating their intentions in the final shootout.
Vettel ultimately got the better of his team-mate, who was hindered ever so slightly by Jean-Éric Vergne's gravel-seeking Toro Rosso at the Parabolica curve. Hülkenberg displayed incredible pace to secure third position, out-qualifying both Ferrari's. Felipe Massa this time got the better of Fernando Alonso amid some towing tactics.
Nico Rosberg bounced back from his final practice troubles to finish sixth fastest, just ahead of future Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo who again topped the speed trap rankings in his Toro Rosso machine. McLaren drivers Sergio Pérez and Jenson Button followed closely, while Vergne had to settle for the final top ten grid slot after his late off-track excursion.
Although Räikkönen's Q2 exit was related to pure pace, backed up by team-mate Romain Grosjean classifying 13th, Hamilton had reason to feel slightly more aggrieved after encountering traffic in the form of Adrian Sutil's Force India. The incident is under investigation by the stewards, with a post-session penalty likely.
But even if stewarding action is avoided, Force India's afternoon was troublesome. Sutil and team-mate Paul di Resta could achieve no more than 13th and 15th places, the pair split by Williams' Pastor Maldonado. Earlier on in the hour, Esteban Gutiérrez, unable to repeat his team-mate's heroics, and Valtteri Bottas fell at the first hurdle.
At the tail-end of the order, Giedo van der Garde again impressed for the Caterham squad, outqualifying team-mate Charles Pic. The Marussias of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton completed the grid, the latter just under four tenths of a second in arrears.
Post-qualifying feelings from pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel
Sunday afternoon's 53-lap Italian Grand Prix at Monza gets underway at 2pm local time (GMT +2) and can be tracked via the GPUpdate.net live report feature