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Ten-tenths Vettel takes Monza pole

NEWS STORY
10/09/2011

Ahead of today's qualifying session the air temperature is 29 degrees C, while the track temperature is 44 degrees. It is bright and sunny, like yesterday afternoon when, guess what, Sebastian Vettel was quickest.

The German lead a Red Bull 1-2 this morning - not the first time you've read that line - as the Austrian team defies the naysayers and looks ready to tick another box in the history books.

While McLaren will give Vettel and his teammate a run for their money, the McLaren outfit, based on what we've seen so far, doesn't have an answer - then again, nobody, even Red Bull themselves - was expecting the Austrian team to be quite so strong.

However, the big surprise is that Ferrari is clearly struggling, despite the warmer temperatures, despite the home support and despite the various updates.

While Mercedes had looked a lot better this weekend, Force India improved this morning while Sauber and Renault remain rooted in the midfield despite promise from the Swiss outfit on Friday.

There are two tyre options this weekend, medium (prime) and soft (option). Interestingly, the softs are not significantly faster than the mediums - certainly not to the degree seen elsewhere - but they are good for a couple of hot laps. This should lead to some interesting tyre strategies.

For the first time ever there are two distinct DRS zones, one on the run from the second Lesmo to Ascari and the other on the main straight.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo waves to the crowds opposite the Ferrari garage, however, it remains to be seen whether the Italian team will have anything to celebrate today or indeed tomorrow.

The lights have barely gone green when Trulli roars out on to the track to get the session underway. He is soon joined by Kovalainen, Ricciardo, Liuzzi, Glock and d'Ambrosio.

Trulli posts the first time of the afternoon however, he appeared to be having problems with a Sauber which was on an out lap. Elsewhere, as Alonso heads down the pitlane, Kovalainen gets to experience the revised speed bumps at the second chicane (Roggia).

Following the first wave, Alguersuari is quickest, ahead of Perez, di Resta, Trulli and Sutil. However, Button goes quickest in S2 finally crossing the line at 24.872, almost 2s quicker than the previous best.

As di Resta improves to second (25.303), Alonso begins his first flying lap.

Vettel posts 25.027 to go second however, moments later he's leapfrogged by Alonso who posts a 25.000.

Hamilton makes it a McLaren 1-2 with 24.476 however, a 24.002 sees Vettel take the top spot. Button's 24.190 sees the 2009 champ go second.

The yellow flags are waved when Maldonado spins and clouts the barriers exiting the Parabolica, ripping off the nose on the Williams in the process. With the Venezuelan yet to post a time there are still 10:15 on the clock.

Alonso improves to third as Massa goes fifth with a 25.142. Rosberg is sixth but Mercedes teammate Schumacher is down in sixteenth.

Maldonado reveals that he lost the car the moment he opened his rear wing as Schumacher improves to sixth, the Mercedes duo really fast in S1.

On his first flying lap Webber goes seventh, the Australian crossing the line at 25.077. Rosberg goes quickest in S1, finally crossing the line at 24.550 but remaining sixth.

In the danger zone, the usual suspects - Lotus, Virgin and HRT - are joined by Maldonado. The Williams driver is back on track, seeking to make the cut and get through to Q2.

Hamilton has taken the top spot with a 23.976, the McLaren driver determined not to let Red Bull have it all their own way.

Kovalainen fails to improve and remains nineteenth, no repeat of his Spa surprise this weekend. Senna is also in the danger zone as Maldonado goes thirteenth with a 25.423.

Senna is struggling, the Renault driver only managing fifteenth as Buemi and Kobayashi seek to improve, the Japanese driver currently in the danger zone.

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