Italian GP 2007 qualifying: McLaren lockout

Fernando Alonso took revenge for the pain of his 2006 Italian Grand Prix. He dominated qualifying for the race and seized pole position.

Team mate Lewis Hamilton will join him on the front row of the grid as the McLaren pair delivered a stringing blow to Ferrari at the Scuderia’s home track.

Felipe Massa fell to third and Kimi Raikkonen will start fifth behind Nick Heidfeld following his high speed crash in practice.

Part one

There were a few surprise named knocked out at the end of the first part of qualifying.

One of them was David Coulthard, who spun his Red Bull to a halt at the first turn.

Another was Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher, who was one of a number of drivers whose finals runs were compromised by Coulthard’s spin.

The Spykers will start from the back of the grid. Sakon Yamamoto ran wide at the first turn on his first lap out of the pits, then did a more comprehensive job later on, swiping off the front nose of the car.

Kimi Raikkonen did a string of early laps and seemed to show no ill effects of his earlier crash.

Anthony Davidson was one of few drivers to escape the clutches of the bottom six, bumping Vitantonio Liuzzi into the drop zone in the dying minutes of the session.

Drivers eliminated in part one

17. Takuma Sato
18. Ralf Schumacher
19. Vitantonio Liuzzi
20. David Coulthard
21. Adrian Sutil
22. Sakon Yamamoto

Part two

The Monza circuit continues to rubber in and most drivers posted lap times several tenths of a second quicker than their earlier efforts. Ahead of all of them was Fernando Alonso, four tenths quicker than team mate Lewis Hamilton.

The Honda drivers had mixed fortunes – Rubens Barrichello was accused of blocking Giancarlo Fisichella, but Jenson Button made it into the final eight for the first time since the Monaco Grand Prix.

Barrichello’s delay cost Fisichella dear – he languished in 15th, with team mate Heikki Kovalainen once again making it through to the final ten.

Drivers eliminated in part two

11. Mark Webber
12. Rubens Barrichello
13. Alexander Wurz
14. Anthony Davidson
15. Giancarlo Fisichella
16. Sebastian Vettel

Part three

The McLarens, Ferraris and BMWs made it through to the final part of qualifying as usual, and this time they were joined by Kovalainen’s Renault, Button’s Honda, Nico Rosberg’s Williams and Jarno Trulli’s Toyota.

The team bosses may be trying to get rid of the ‘fuel burn’ phase, but it’s still with us, and the drivers did the usual string of pointless extra laps before getting their quick ones underway.

Hamilton led the field around but his first time was soon eclipsed by a far quicker effort from Alonso.

In fact Alonso’s time was so quick that Hamilton couldn’t better it even with his second effort. The Spanish driver was able to cut his final effort short and cruise home, saving precious extra drops of fuel.

The Ferraris never looked like challenging for the front row and fell victim to the BMWs. Massa held onto third but Nick Heidfeld will start alongside him, with Raikkonen bumped back to fifth.

Top ten drivers in part three

1. Fernando Alonso
2. Lewis Hamilton
3. Felipe Massa
4. Nick Heidfeld
5. Kimi Raikkonen
6. Robert Kubica
7. Heikki Kovalainen
8. Nico Rosberg
9. Jarno Trulli
10. Jenson Button

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3 comments on Italian GP 2007 qualifying: McLaren lockout

  1. Wesley said on 8th September 2007, 19:25

    Well,It looks as if Raikkonen’s shunt in practice is going to blow some of our previous predictions of podium. Alonso was on fire!Short of driver error or mechanical problems I don’t see how the order could change from qualy.Except Kimi likely to overtake Heidfeld.

  2. Number 38 said on 8th September 2007, 19:35

    He who leads FROM turn two wins.
    Can Hammy out drag the bullfighter at the start or ‘take them both out’ at the chicane? A Massa win, Heidfeld 2nd and Kimi 3rd would be a perfect race. Both Ferrari and their drivers need the points to get back in the competition, Heidfled denying McLaren additional points is just a bonus. A Mclaren 1 – 2 would pretty much assure the season is over.

  3. Ben Goldberg said on 8th September 2007, 20:27

    If McLaren have about the same fuel as the Ferrari’s, I’ll be impressed. Fernando could have gone several tenths quicker than his pole time if he had to. But here’s what I’m thinking. It was pretty obvious before Q3 that Ferrari didn’t have the pace to challenge for pole, so what I think Ferrari may have done is fill the Ferrari’s up with a lot more fuel than McLaren to try to get by them after the pit stops. They should have better race pace than the McLaren’s, so don’t be so sure that McLaren are just going to walk away with this race.

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