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Italian Grand Prix 2011 Qualifying – The “Underdog”
Monza, Italy. Home of the “tifosi” (“fans” in Italian), and the Ferrari. But it was the young German Sebastian Vettel who clinched pole position – his 10th this season – during the qualifying session of the Monza Grand Prix.

Red Bull were actually considered the underdogs at the Italian Grand Prix because of the long straights that were unsuitable for the RB7. Obviously, the crowd favourites were none other than Ferrari, in the hope of repeating Ferrari’s double podium last year where Fernando Alonso was awarded the winner’s trophy, much to the delight of the Italian spectators.

Q1 was rather exciting as it saw a minor crash by Pastor Maldonado and unfortunately, the 2 Italian drivers on the grid unable to advance to Q2. Jarno Trulli had to settle for 19th after numerous laps, and Vitantonio Liuzzi, for the 1st time, was out-qualified by his teammate – Daniel Ricciardo in this case – and will be starting right at the back of the grid for tomorrow’s race. Pastor Maldonado drove his car back to the pits after his collision with the barriers and the Williams team was able to repair his front wing in time for him to complete a flying lap which enabled him to qualify in Q2.

After a flurry of rushed flying laps by Barrichello, Buemi, Kobayashi, Alguersuari and Senna in particular, but the session eventually ended up with Alguersuari being relegated to P18, thus deeming him unable to advance to Q2.

The 2nd qualifying session was disappointing for one young British driver – Paul di Resta. The Scotsman, who was in P11, was out on a flying lap when he crossed the finish line barely a second after the chequered flag had been waved. Had he come in a second sooner, his timing for the last lap might have saved him from the relegation zone and allowed him to proceed to Q3.

The atmosphere was tense in Q3 as every Ferrari fan in the grandstand (there are quite a lot of them!) crossed their fingers, fervently hoping that either Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa would clinch pole position. The 2 Ferraris were the first cars out on track for the Q3 session, and they both set very impressive timings, much to the delight of the “tifosi”. However, the momentary euphoria was diminished as slowly, their 1-2 positions were seized by Jenson Button, followed by Lewis Hamilton and finally, Sebastian Vettel. The rest of qualifying stayed in that order until Mark Webber took P5, pushing Massa down to P6. Vitaly Petrov settled for P7, followed by Schumacher in 8th, Rosberg in 9th and Bruno Senna in 10th, who narrowly missed relegation in the first 2 qualifying sessions (though proving to be a very promising driver after his Renault debut during the Belgian Grand Prix).

But what took us all by surprise was the fact that Sebastian Vettel, after his last flying lap in Q3, managed to claim pole position with 0.45 seconds to spare! Perhaps it was because Lewis Hamilton had a little bit of a blunder during his flying lap which cost him a bit of time, but even the Briton admitted that even if he had driven a perfect lap, it would have be unlikely that he would have been able to close the gap between himself and Vettel, who (in everyone’s words) was “untouchable” during qualifying.

A satisfying weekend for Red Bull, who managed to maintain their record of 13 straight poles since the start of the season, considering that Monza is one of their weakest tracks; McLaren seems content with their result – both drivers are among the top 3 in today’s qualifying; a slight downfall for Ferrari and their “tifosi”, with Alonso and Massa only in 4th and 6th places respectively. But I’m quite sure that Ferrari will put up a strong fight tomorrow, and will not let a podium finish out of their sights. Monza – one of the classic circuits, so be prepared for a classic race tomorrow in Italy!

Female, 26
Location: , Singapore Singapore
Birthday: 3 April
about: I'm a little girl with big dreams - hoping to become an F1 journalist one day! Let me think of something else more interesting. Then I'll let you know ;)
Interests: Formula One. Forza Ferrari! My heart and soul will always be rooting for this Italian team. Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen (although he's not racing in F1 anymore) are my all-time favourite drivers. It's not about the glamour; it's about pure talent, skill and having the right attitude. That's what makes Formula One the ultimate motor sport to watch.
Occupation: Student. (Hopefully) Future F1 journalist!
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