There was no stopping Sebastian Vettel in qualifying for the Italian GP as he claimed his third pole position at Monza.
Mark Webber made it a Red Bull front row, the first since Australia, while Nico Hulkenberg was the surprise of the session as he qualified in third place in his Sauber. Felipe Massa was fourth for Ferrari, narrowly beating Fernando Alonso while Nico Rosberg qualified P6.
The sun was shining on the royal park in Monza with an ambient temperature of 30C and the track at 42C as qualifying got underway.
Following his morning practice woes, Nico Rosberg came out early for an eight-lap run to get some mileage on the car. He would try one fast lap, one slow lap, as was the case with most of the field. Esteban Gutierrez set the first P1 time and Rosberg reduced it to 1:25.276. It was edged down steadily, both Toro Rossos looked strong and Jean-Eric Vergne put his at the top of the timesheets with a 1:25.261.
Ferraris have often towed each other around Monza to improve their lap time and today was no different with Alonso next up in P1 at 1:24.939. Vergne rretook P1 with a 1:24.630 before Lewis Hamilton made his traditional appearance with a 1:24.589. Sebastian Vettel had yet to come out and when he did he continued his Free Practice dominance with a 1:24.319.
Cars were all trying to get through on the Hard tyre, but in the final minutes Felipe Massa was switched to the Medium to ensure his continuance. Running into the final four minutes of the session the new teams (unlike Spa) were firmly in the danger positions with the cusp at: 15.Bottas, 16.diResta, 17.Sutil, 18.Gutierrez.
Gutierrez snatched P15, Di Resta moved up to P14, when Sutil managed to claim P13 and that pushed Gutierrez back into P17 and Bottas at P18.
Bottas couldn't improve but Gutierrez could and he leapfrogged Maldonado to take P16, making it a double Williams dropzone. While DiResta was edging back in front of Sutil, Maldonado surged to a very safe P12 making it one Sauber and one Williams to exit.
So out went: 17.Gutierrez, 18.Bottas, 19.van der Garde, 20.Pic, 21.Bianchi, 22.Chilton.
Toro Rosso looked strong in the opening session and Daniel Ricciardo bolted on Mediums and set the opening P1 time with a 1:24.746. Nico Hulkenberg slotted into P2 with two purple (fastest) sectors in S2 and S3.
Ferraris set up the towing machine again and Felipe Massa led Fernando Alonso across the line - so Massa was P1 for about a second with a 1:24.705 which was eclipsed by Alonso's much quicker 1:24.227.
As they were crossing the line they had to avoid the dust kicked up at Parabolica as Lewis Hamilton's late braking was too late and he took a speedy trip through the gravel. He returned to the pits to get the car checked out.
With both Vettel and Webber leaving it late to leave the garage, with four minutes left on the clock the danger positions were: 7.Vergne, 8.Button, 9.Sutil, 10.DiResta, 11.Perez, 12.Grosjean, 13.Maldonado, 14.Hamilton, 15. Webber (no time), 16.Vettel (no time).
Lewis Hamilton could only manage P9 on his second run, and though he had time for another timed lap he came up against Adrian Sutil dawdling in Parabolica which put an end to that. Sutil will need to see the stewards.
Very soon Hamilton's time had been demoted to P10 and then P11 with no chance of recovery. In the final seconds of the session Webber grabbed P2, Daniel Ricciardo P3, Nico Hulkenberg P5 and Sebastian Vettel reset P1 with a 1:23.977.
Both Mclarens had dropped outside the top 10 but Perez jumped back to P8 with Jenson Button improving to P7 and then Massa at P7. This pushed both Lotus cars outside of the top 10.
So out went: 11.Raikkonen, 12.Hamilton, 13.Grosjean, 14.Sutil, 15.Maldonado, 16.DiResta
Sutil is likely to attract a penalty while Hamilton blamed himself for "driving like an idiot" for not having made it though. Although he did admit that Sutil had impeded him.
Qualifying 3 Nico Rosberg set an early slow provisional pole at 1:28.232 which was put in context by Mark Webber's 1:23.990 - a string benchmark. While he was setting it the two Ferraris started the towing process. Alonso claimed that Massa was too close to him on the first run to give him a proper tow.
Neither could get in front of Mark Webber, but Sebastian Vettel edged out Webber with a 1:23.856. So after the first runs it was: Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Massa, Rosberg.
The others didn't set a time although Button went out on track and returned some sector times.
Everyone came out for the final dash to the line, including the two Ferraris in towing mode. Daniel Ricciardo grabbed P4. This time round Alonso claimed that Massa was too far in front of him and too fast, and thus as Felipe crossed the line he got P3 ahead of Alonso in P4. Jean-Eric Vergne took Lewis Hamilton's earlier route on the gravel around the outside of Parabolica.
Mark Webber hadn't been able to improve his P2 time but while all eyes turned to see what Vettel was doing Nico Hulkenberg scorched across the line for P3 in his Sauber. An amazing result.
Vettel improved to a 1:23.755, his 40th pole and Red Bull's 50th. While Red Bull were celebrating with Sauber, Fernando Alonso (amidst claims that he had called his team "stupid") decided he wasn't available for press enquiries.
Lewis Hamilton couldn't manage his 6th pole in a row, but last year Sergio Perez claimed P2 on the grid form a P12 gridslot - and there is a chance of some late race rain tomorrow.
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:23.755
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:23.968s +0.213
3. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.065s +0.310
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:24.132s +0.377
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:24.142s +0.387
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.192s +0.437
7. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:24.209s +0.454
8. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.502s +0.747
9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.515s +0.760
10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.050s +4.295
11. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1:24.610s +0.633
12. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.803s +0.826
13. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:4.848s +0.871
14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercede 1:24.932s +0.955
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:25.011s +1.034
16. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:25.077s +1.100
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.226s +0.907
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:25.291s +0.972
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:26.406s +2.087
20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:26.563s +2.244
21. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.085s +2.766
22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:27.480s +3.161