Fernando Alonso was left to lament what could have been after a broken anti roll-bar cost him what he reckons would have been his "easiest pole position."
In front of the cheering tifosi, the Spaniard was the man to beat in qualifying, setting the pace in Q1 and again in Q2. However, it wasn't to be.
At the start of the final segment, the pole position shoot-out, the double World Champion gave track position to his team-mate Felipe Massa at Ascari.
But instead of staying on his team-mate's rear wing, Alonso dropped back before heading into the pits some six seconds off the pace.
He re-emerged later for another run but could only manage a 1:25.678, which put him down in a shocking 10th place, 1.668s behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton.
"Something broke in the car in Q3," Alonso explained to Sky Sports F1. "We had no time to fix it so we went out to see if we could beat some of the cars but unfortunately we were not able.
"It's a shame because it was the easiest pole position for us. We did a [one minute] 24.1 in Q2 with an easy lap and looking at it they [McLaren] did 24.0 in Q3.
"It was easy for us to do that and we lost one big opportunity, but nothing we can do now. We try to be strong tomorrow, the car will be fixed, so we will see what we can do from 10th."
Meanwhile team boss Stefano Domenicali called the situation "unfortunate" as their F2012 was showing great pace as evident by Felipe Massa's P3.
"It seems [a] problem with the rear of the car. It seems to be a mechanical failure - we need to wait the car [for the car] coming back. It happened on the first lap of Q3," the Italian said.
"We knew that the car was not good because Fernando understood the situation straight away. So it's very unfortunate, but that's the way it is.
"Of course [we are] very disappointed because we could have done a great qualifying with Fernando, at least with Felipe [Massa] we did a good job and he's there just behind the McLarens."