Italian GP qualifying as it happened

Text coverage of qualifying for the Italian GP, where McLaren lock out the front row and Fernando Alonso starts only 10th.

8 September 2012 Last updated at 15:01

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As it happened

  1. 1435: 

    That's just about it from me. Thanks for your company and contributions as always. More of the same on Sunday, please. I'll be back at 12:00 BST to start building up to the Italian Grand Prix. Hope to see you there. Until then, it's good afternoon from me. Ciao.

  2. 1430: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's report which ties everything up nicely. Keep an eye out on for video highlights later today, plus all the reaction and analysis from the Monza paddock. Then you've a shiny race highlights package, fronted by Jake Humphrey, on BBC One and BBC One HD at 1730 BST followed by Inside F1 with Lee McKenzie at 18:45 on the BBC News channel.

  3. 1425: 

    So McLaren delivered on their potential with a front row lock out, while Felipe Massa produced his best qualifying performance of the year in third. Michael Schumacher shouldn't be discounted in fifth, which will become fourth once Paul di Resta's penalty is applied.

    Sebastian Vettel was a decent sixth and his Red Bull usually performs better in the race. Then you've got Fernando Alonso, who has been quick all weekend, in 10th and sure to figure. What a race we have in prospect.


    Fernando Alonso on Twitter: "After the qualy, we miss the fight for "pole" with a failure! I think tomorrow will be a perfect day to recover some good positions."


    Alan Billington on Twitter: "So close to an all British top 3 in qualifying! When was the last time that happened?"

  6. 1419: 

    Replays show Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo unable to hide his disappointment when Fernando Alonso crossed the line to finish 10th fastest having dominated the rest of the session. Alonso said that he did have a problem with the car on that final lap, but he refused to say what that was.


    Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who qualified third: "I think he (Fernando Alonso) had a problem to be honest; I thought he'd do well here. I don't know what problem he had but it was in Q3. I'm happy with the lap I did. We did the tow, but my best lap came when I was outside the tow at the end. I'm happy to be here, it's always an important race for us here at Monza."


    McLaren's Jenson Button who qualified second: "First of all it's fantastic for the team for us both to be on the front row. The last few races have shown the strength of the team so to qualify at the front at Monza is great - I don't think any other team has managed to do that this season. Being on the front row here doesn't mean it's going to be easy."


    McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who qualified on pole: "It's been a tough weekend. We managed to work on set up. Congratulations to the team. It was a great effort. I managed to get a half decent lap early in Q3 so I'm pretty happy. It's great for team to have Jenson up front, too. I haven't had any distractions this weekend. It's been quite positive. The support from my family and friends have been incredible. I've just been enjoying weekend. It's been great so far."

  10. 1414: 

    The top three have made their way into the top three news conference, so lets hear what they have got to say...

  11. 1411: 

    So here's the grid:

    1) Hamilton 2) Button 3) Massa 4) Di Resta* 5) Schumacher 6) Vettel 7) Rosberg 8) Raikkonen 9) Kobayashi 10) Alonso

    11) Webber 12) Maldonado** 13) Perez 14) Senna 15) Ricciardo 16) D'Ambrosio 17) Vergne

    18) Kovalainen 19) Petrov 20) Glock 21) Pic 22) Karthikeyan 23) De la Rosa 24) Hulkenberg

    *Di Resta will start ninth because of a five-place gearbox penalty. **Maldonado will start 22nd due to a 10-place grid penalty.

  12. 1407: 

    Lewis Hamilton's lap was impressive, but perhaps the performance of the day has to go to Ferrari's Felipe Massa. The Brazilian has been comfortably outperformed by his team-mate Fernando Alonso all season long and is under pressure to hold onto his seat for next year. But Massa put all that to one side to take third on the grid for Sunday's race and outqualify his team-mate for the first time this season.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Alonso was significantly quicker in the previous session and it just shows that if it comes down to one flying lap it can just change the feeling and the confidence that the driver has. McLaren will be extremely satisfied with their work so far."

  14. 1404: 

    Jenson Button pulls out a brilliant lap at the death to take second, one tenth slower than his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton. That gives McLaren their first front row lockout since the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix.

  15. 1403: 


  16. 1403: 

    No, he can't! That's unbelievable. Fernando Alonso has finished 10th fastest, 1.6 seconds off the pace. Something must have happened to him on that final flying lap.

  17. 1402: 

    Felipe Massa goes second with a stunning lap, but Fernando Alonso is struggling for pace. What has happened to the championship leader? He dominated the first two sessions of qualifying. Can he make it up in the final sector?

    David Coulthard, BBC F1 co-commentator

    "Standing ovation in our commentary box for that. Fantastic effort from Paul Di Resta and a very brave effort to go second."

  19. 1400: 

    A tremendous lap from Paul di Resta to go second in the Force India. Stunning stuff from the Scot. It's just a shame he has to take a five-place grid penalty because he changed his gearbox.

  20. 1358: 

    A decent effort from Michael Schumacher who goes fourth quickest, five tenths slower than Lewis Hamilton but three tenths faster than his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

  21. 1357: 

    Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Paul di Resta have headed out to do their first flying lap of the afternoon. Can anyone stop Lewis Hamilton?

  22. 1355: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes quickest of all, four tenths quicker than Felipe Massa. Jenson Button slots into third ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.


    Red Bull driver Mark Webber, who qualified 11th: "No massive surprise, that's roughly where we thought we'd be and where we ended up. We've got work to do. I was pretty happy with my lap."

  24. 1353: 

    Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have headed out of the garage together so they can give each other a tow around the lap and help boost lap time. Alonso does the job perfectly and helps the Brazilian set a 1:24.436 which is the best time of the session. Now it's time for Massa to return the favour.

  25. 1351: 

    Just as the pit lane opens for business, a colleague has pointed out that Red Bull have now seen one of their cars knocked out in Q2 for the third successive race.


    Tom Lee on Twitter: "Feel bad for Paul Di Resta, 3rd in Q2, yet has a 5-place grid penalty. Talk about bad luck!"

  27. 1349: 

    Bruno Senna kicked up a load of dirt which spilt onto the track on his final lap, and it seems the Italian marshals have a clever way of dealing with it. Rather than pulling out the brooms and putting their back into it, one chap is reversing a tractor, with a powerful leaf blower attached to the rear, down the straight to clean it up. Eat that, Senna.

  28. 1347: 

    The contenders for pole:

    1) Fernando Alonso 2) Jenson Button 3) Paul di Resta 4) Lewis Hamilton 5) Felipe Massa 6) Nico Rosberg 7) Michael Schumacher 8) Kamui Kobayashi 9) Sebastian Vettel 10) Kimi Raikkonen

  29. 1345: 

    11) Mark Webber 12) Pastor Maldonado 13) Sergio Perez 14) Bruno Senna 15) Daniel Ricciardo 16) Jerome D'Ambrosio 17) Jean-Eric Vergne

  30. 1344: 


  31. 1342: 

    Sebastian Vettel digs deep and finds an extra couple of tenths to lift him into ninth place but Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber can't quite do enough and will start Sunday's race from 11th.

  32. 1340: 

    Kamui Kobayashi has knocked Sebastian Vettel into the drop zone - along with Red bull team-mate Mark Webber with the seventh fastest time, but the reigning world champion is on a quick lap.

  33. 1338: 

    Sebastian Vettel is on the bubble in 10th place. Sergio Perez need only improve by just over a tenth to knock the reigning world champion into the drop zone.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Just looking at the sectors, it looks like the Ferraris are struggling in the first sector yet they are quicker than the McLarens in the middle of the circuit and likewise in the final sector."

  35. 1337: 

    All quiet out on track as the drivers head back to the pits to regroup and get a fresh set of boots. Mark Webber, who sits third in the drivers' championship, has some work to do if he is to take any further part in this session. He's down in 13th, one tenth slower than Pastor Maldonado in 10th.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "I think Sauber are as surprised with their pace here as I am. I thought they'd be doing a good job here at the front. They're missing the braking stability into the corners and that's the problem. It just shows that you never know what the circuit will throw at you."

  37. 1335: 

    Wowza, Jenson Button goes just 0.013 seconds slower than pace-setter Fernando Alonso. This is so close. Felipe Massa is three tenths further back in third.

    Bruno Senna, Sergio Perez, Mark Webber, Kamui Kobayashi, Jerome D'Amrosio, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne are currently in the drop zone.

  38. 1333: 

    Red Bull are struggling for pace here. Mark Webber has gone seventh quickest, a massive 1.2 seconds off the pace. Sebastian vettel is better in fifth, but still 0.8 seconds off the pace.


    Fernando Linhares on Twitter:‏ "I think the pole will go to Button!"


    Sauber on Twitter: "Great atmosphere in #Monza. Legendary race and a pleasure to see the crowded grandstands."

  41. 1331: 

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso gets the hammer down and sets the early pace, clocking a 1:24.242, six tenths clear of Force India's Paul di Resta.


    Ferrari on Twitter: "Both drivers left the garage on medium tyres."

  43. 1329: 

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson thinks drivers will need to get well into the 1m24s to ensure their place in the top 10 shoot-out. Remember seven drivers will be knocked out in this session and with many midfield teams showing good pace, we could see a big shock or two.

  44. 1327: 

    Here we go, time for Q2...

  45. 1325: 

    Here's who finished in the top 10 in Q1: 1) Alonso 2) Hamilton 3) Button 4) Rosberg 5) Di Resta 6) Massa 7) Vettel 8) Maldonado 9) Senna 10) Raikkonen

  46. 1323: 

    That's the first time Narain Karthikeyan has beaten his HRT team-mate Pedro de la Rosa this season. And on Spaniard De la Rosa's 100th race weekend, too.

  47. 1322: 

    18) Heikki Kovalainen 19) Vitaly Petrov 20) Timo Glock 21) Charles Pic 22) Narain Karthikeyan 23) Pedro de la Rosa 24) Nico Hulkenberg

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Drivers have been complaining about the sleeping policeman [on the inside of the chicanes] saying that they've been eating too much pasta and are too big. But they've left it late to complain and there's not much [race director] Charlie [Whiting] can do now."

  49. 1320: 


  50. 1318: 

    Jerome D'Ambrosio has improved to lift himself out of the drop zone, but he's on the bubble in 17th. That said, Heikki Kovalainen in the Caterham will need to improve by six tenths to jump ahead of the Belgian. A big ask for the Finn.

  51. 1315: 

    Fernando Alonso has parked up his Ferrari after improving on his previous best by another half a second. That should be enough to get him through to Q2. Lewis Hamilton is second ahead of Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Paul di Resta, Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel, Bruno Senna and Kimi Raikkonen.

  52. 1312: 

    Jerome D'Ambrosio is under pressure in the Lotus. The Belgian driver is 18th and in the drop zone, along with the usual suspects and Nico Hulkenberg. D'Ambrosio is sat in the garage at the moment, but will need to improve by at least a tenth to jump above Heikki Kovalainen who is 17th.


    Force India on Twitter: "Very disappointing start to qualy. Looks like a technical issue for @NicoHulkenberg - such a shame. Not sure what happened yet."

  54. 1310: 

    Fernando Alonso dives into the 1m24s to go quickest of all, with Nico Rosberg slotting into second, a tenth further back. Paul di Resta is third ahead of Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez. Timo Glock, Narain Karthikeyan, Pedro de la Rosa, Charles Pic, Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado are currently in the drop zone.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Mercedes run the double DRS system and that gives them the ability to reduce the overall drag more than other teams. I also understand it enables them to close the DRS later on the entry to a corner so they have less imbalance as they turn into it. It should mean a better qualifying for them this weekend."

  56. 1308: 

    Nico Rosberg leads a Mercedes 1-2 at the top of the timesheets, but Fernando Alonso is looking quick on his first timed lap. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have both left their garages.

  57. 1306: 

    Nico Hulkenberg has stopped on the escape road next to the first chicane. It looks like the German is stuck between gears. That all but ends his participation in this session. Could this be a chance for one of the minnow teams to steal through to Q2?

  58. 1304: 

    Paul di Resta sets the early pace with a 1:25.384, around a second slower than he managed this morning, in his Force India. Jerome D'Ambrosio drops into second ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. Most of the frontrunners are out on track and about to start laps, but McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are still sat in their garages.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "I think the tyres are fairly durable on each car, the harder tyre will do a good four-five lap run and still have more in them to put in fast laps. This is the fastest circuit on the calandar and braking on that first corner is going to be key to whoever goes fastest."

  60. 1302: 

    Daniel Ricciardo is out on the track early in the Toro Rosso, followed by Jerome D'Ambrosio, who is standing in for Romain Grosjean this weekend at Lotus, and Paul di Resta.

  61. 1300: 

    Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix is go, go, go!

  62. 1258: 

    Just a couple penalties to remind you about. Force India's Paul di Resta will start five places further back from where he qualifies because he picked up a penalty for changing his gearbox this morning. Pastor Maldonado, who is wearing a helmet that has the words "less trouble, more speed" emblazoned on it, has a 10-place grid penalty for jumping the start in the Belgium Grand Prix and then hitting Marussia's Timo Glock.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "This is a fantastic race track. It looks fairly straightforward but the big challenge is the braking speeds; 220mph is pretty much the norm for most corners here. We could see them top even higher speeds today."


    Kinuthia Allan on Twitter: "The McLaren boys seems to be the team to beat. My prediction: P1 Hamilton P2 Alonso P3 Button P4 Di Resta P5 Raikkonen."

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari:

    "I think McLaren have the top package. We will have to see how it works out for Lewis. It's the type of track he likes. It's all about top speed and braking. I think it will suit him very well."

  66. 1254: 

    Monza is the fastest circuit of the year with an average lap speed of 147mph. The season average is 131mph.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "The sun is shining, it's a lovely warm early autumn day and expectation is high ahead of what promises to be one of the best qualifying sessions of the year. McLaren probably start narrow favourites, but it appears wide open, with Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus all in with a shout, and although Red Bull have looked off the pace so far and had a troubled final practice session, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber cannot be ruled out."

  68. 1252: 

    Just a reminder that James Allen, Jaime Alguersuari and Jennie Gow will be live on BBC Radio 5 live at 13:00 BST to take you through qualifying.


    Andrew Fletcher on Twitter: "Rosberg may very well be the man to be in qualifying but never discount Schumacher. Maybe he's sandbagging in a hope to surprise everyone."

  70. 1248: 

    We've got just over 10 minutes to go until the one-hour session gets under way, so let me briefly run you through the plan for today. We will start with a 20-minute session that'll see the slowest seven drivers sent off to do interviews. Q2 is 15 minutes long and will see another seven knocked out. That leaves 10 to fight it out for pole in a 10-minute shoot-out.


    Stephen Martin on Twitter: "I doubt anything will be able to beat the McLarens straight line speed. My prediction: P1 HAM. P2 BUT. P3 ALO. P4 RAI."

  72. 1244: 

    Nine of the last 12 races at Monza have been won from pole. Though nearly all of this season's races have been thrilling, seven of the 12 races have still been won from pole.

  73. 1242: 

    2012 pole-sitters:

    Australia - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) Race finish 3rd

    Malaysia - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) Race finish 3rd

    China - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) Race finish 1st

    Bahrain - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) Race finish 1st

    Spain - Pastor Maldonado (Williams) Race finish 1st

    Monaco - Mark Webber (Red Bull) Race finish 1st

    Canada - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) Race finish 4th

    Europe - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) Race finish DNF

    Britain - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) Race finish 2nd

    Germany - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) Race finish 1st

    Hungary - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) Race finish 1st

    Belgium - Jenson Button (McLaren) Race finish 1st

  74. 1238: 

    It's that time again when I choose who I think will claim the P1 gridslot and then you tell me why I'm wrong. Lawro's pole position prediction this week, is Nico Rosberg. There's a lot of support for Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in office, but I think the Mercedes looks mighty here and the German seems to be having the better luck in terms of reliability compared to team-mate Michael Schumacher.

    Now it's over to you. Tweet me using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only). Oh and remember to put your name and F1 on those SMS messages otherwise they will never see the light of day.

  75. 1234: 

    Welcome back to those who joined me for practice this morning and a warm welcome to those who are joining for qualifying. We've had seven different pole-sitters in 12 races. Are we set for number eight? Or will Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Pastor Maldonado, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso or Jenson Button add to their tally? It's not long till we find out.

  76. 1230: 

    Just one thousandth of a second separated Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at the top of the timesheets in third and final practice. Less than a second covered the top 14. The battle to get into the top 10, let alone take pole position has never been tighter. This is Formula 1 at its very best. This is qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

  77. 1115: 

    Time for me to stretch my legs before qualifying gets under way. I have a feeling it's going to fast and frantic. Get yourself a fresh brew and some biscuits, have a read of Andrew Benson's report and then join me at 12:30 BST to start building up for the hour we've all been waiting for - qualifying for Italian Grand Prix. See you in a bit.


    Sean Ranson on Twitter: "Monza has always been my favourite track. Pure speed. Think we'll see a lot of the Prancing Horse this weekend. Hamilton looking very quick. Think he feels like he has a point to prove after the last week."

  79. 1110: 

    And here's 1-12:

    1) Hamilton 2) Alonso 3) Di Resta 4) Massa 5) Button 6) Rosberg 7) Perez 8) Raikkonen 9) Hulkenberg 10) Maldonado 11) Webber 12) Vettel

  80. 1108: 

    Here's how they finished 13-24:

    13) Senna 14) Schumacher 15) Kobayashi 16) Ricciardo 17) D'Ambrosio 18) Vergne 19) Kovalainen 20) Petrov 21) Pic 22) Glock 23) Karthikeyan 24) De la Rosa

  81. 1105: 

    So the McLarens, Ferraris and Mercedes look like they are all in contention for pole position, with Force India and Sauber capable of making the top 10 shoot-out. Reigning champions Red Bull look like they're in a spot of bother, though...

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "It's going to be very close. There's just 0.001 seconds between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at the top. If Ferrari can plan the tow correctly, and they've had some practice at it, they will be up there. Red Bull are hanging onto the back of the top 10. It doesn't look too good for them. They needed to show they can be quick on one lap, but looking at their times, I don't think they can."

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari:

    "Everything will be so close in qualifying. I think we will see some surprises in Q3."

  84. 1102: 


  85. 1100: 

    Sebastian Vettel has pulled off the track, telling his team over the radio: "no battery". Bad news for the reigning world champion who isn't having the best of weekends.

  86. 1058: 

    Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel goes 11th fastest, eighth tenths off the pace and just a smidgen ahead of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber.

  87. 1056: 

    Lewis Hamilton displaces Fernando Alonso at the top of the timesheets by 0.001 seconds. Wow... Proof, if it was needed, of how close qualifying is going to be.

  88. 1055: 

    The Force Indias look good here. Paul di Resta clocks a 1:24.8 to go third fastest, just two tenths slower than Fernando Alonso. Nico Hulkenberg can't quite match his team-mate, going seventh fastest, seven tenths off the pace.


    Fahad Khan on Twitter: "The Red Bulls look nowhere in the front. Good news for Alonso maybe regards to Championship points?"

  90. 1052: 

    Fernando Alonso gets a massive tow off the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg down the back straight and through the Parabolica, but he's still 0.1 seconds slower than his fastest time. Jenson Button, meanwhile, improved to the third fastest time, 0.362 seconds off the pace. Kimi Raikkonen pops his Lotus into sixth, 0.6 seconds off the pace.

  91. 1049: 

    It looks like the medium is the tyre of choice for the final 10 minutes of the session. Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg all head out on a fresh set. Expect the times to change shortly...

  92. 1044: 

    So here's how they stand with just over 15 minutes to go:

    1) Alonso 2) Hamilton 3) Rosberg 4) Massa 5) Button 6) Maldonado 7) Vettel 8) Perez 9) Senna 10) Raikkonen 11) Schumacher 12) Di Resta

  93. 1039: 

    McLaren Group chairman Ron Dennis, who used to run the race team, is in Monza this weekend. He slopes off to the back of the garage to have a chat with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo. It's quite unexpected to see the figureheads of two of F1's biggest teams chatting away so casually.

  94. 1036: 

    It looks like the Ferrari stunt is working. Fernando Alonso goes quickest, 0.055 seconds quicker than Lewis Hamilton. It doesn't work so well for Felipe Massa, though, who slots into fourth, 0.440 seconds off the pace.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari:

    "The two Ferrari drivers are running around together, taking it in turns on consecutive laps to give each other a tow. It looks like they might try something in qualifying, which could give them a big advantage."

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "There's a degree of frustration at Ferrari about the way Fernando Alonso was caught up in the first-corner crash at Spa through no fault of his own. They believe he would have been 'easily' second in the race. Alonso was 0.8secs off the pace in qualifying there, whereas here this weekend the Ferrari has looked very fast. Ferrari say that in Spa they set the car up in a way that slightly compromised qualifying but was better for the race. They seem pretty confident, while also pointing out that McLaren are 'very fast'."

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Fernando Alonso is running with more rear wing than Felipe Massa. He has five holes of angle on it and he obviously wants a more stable rear end. The race here is all about straight-line speed - you can get overtaken very easily."

  98. 1033: 

    Fernando Alonso goes second fastest, 0.499 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton's leading pace. His Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa is just 0.080 seconds slower in fourth.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Poor Michael Schumacher really is having a terrible run in terms of reliability this season. On Friday here his DRS overtaking aid broke, without which he might well have been fastest. And now this morning he has a Kers failure. Schumacher has lost lots of points this season as a result of technical failures, but if the team can fix it for this afternoon he looks a contender for pole."

  100. 1031: 

    Just in case you were wondering, text coverage this weekend is live here on the BBC Sport website, with qualifying and the race also live on BBC Radio 5 live from 13:00 BST. TV highlights of qualifying are at 17:30 BST on BBC One. Same time tomorrow for race highlights on BBC One. Plus there's a repeat of the highlights on BBC Two at 00:30 BST.

  101. 1028: 

    On Friday, it Michael Schumacher was without the DRS overtaking aid. Today, he's told by his team that he's without Kers. Nonetheless, his team say they will continue with their programme, sending him out on a soft tyre run before trying to get the system working again before the end of the session.

  102. 1025: 

    As I type that, Lewis Hamilton delivers an absolute blinder, setting purple times in the first two sectors to go a whopping five tenths quicker than team-mate Jenson Button. Meanwhile, BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson reports that mechanics are hard at work on the left-hand side of Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus.

  103. 1023: 

    There was nothing to choose between the two McLaren boys in Friday practice and that remains the case in third practice. Jenson Button's first flier is 0.068 seconds slower than team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the second fastest time of the morning.

  104. 1022: 

    McLaren look like their on the pace straight away, with Lewis Hamilton going even quicker. He clocks 1:25.165 which is the quickest time of the weekend but two seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel who set the pace in this session last year.

  105. 1019: 

    Williams's Pastor Maldonado has a new helmet design, which is emblazoned with the words: "less trouble more speed", according to 5 live's Jennie Gow. Earlier this week he pledged to put an end to his antics which have landed in front of the stewards so many times this season.

  106. 1017: 

    McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh and sporting director Sam Michael look unmoved on the pit wall as Lewis Hamilton goes quickest of all with a 1:25.508, four tenths quicker than the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen. Elsewhere, Michael Schumacher's first lap is a 1:27.731, 2.2 seconds off the pace.

  107. 1013: 

    Nico Hulkenberg is the first man to cross the line and set a timed lap. The German, who finished an impressive fourth last time out in Belgium, clocked a 1:30.583 but that is quickly beaten by the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen who sets a 1:26.215.


    Kevin Reid on Twitter: "The best thing for Hamilton might be to go to a weaker team where he needs to learn how to make a car fast."

  109. 1010: 

    Force India's Paul di Resta will take a five-place grid penalty for Italian Grand Prix after the team changed his gearbox as a precaution.

  110. 1006: 

    All of the field have headed out, completed an installation lap to test their cars' systems and now headed back to the pits. Felipe Massa climbs out of the car to be greeted by Luca Badoer, a long-time test driver for the team who famously stepped into a race seat for the Brazilian when he had his accident in 2009, but failed to set the world alight in the two races he competed in. He finished 17th and 14th.

  111. 1002: 

    Heikki Kovalainen is the first man out of the pits, closely followed by Charles Pic in the Marussia and Paul di Resta's Force India.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Mercedes have actually gone backwards on front wing philosophy. They took off some of the downforce-producing elements from the front wing from Canada onwards to get a balance but they've put them back on for this weekend even though it's a low-downforce circuit. I have to say it looks like a good package and I am expecting good things from them this weekend."

  113. 1000: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Third and final practice for the Italian Grand Prix is go, go, go.

  114. 0957: 

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari is back in the box after missing yesterday's action with a stomach bug. You can listen to what he and James Allen has to say by clicking the link at the top right of this page.

  115. 0955: 

    Ferrari's president Luca di Montezemolo is in town for his team's home race. The 65-year-old is surrounded as he enters the paddock, but manages to make his way into the garage where he meets the team and shakes everyone's hand. Nice touch.

  116. 0950: 

    McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has been speaking about Lewis Hamilton's future and he says that the team only want the 2008 world champion to stay if he wants to stay. "We don't want any driver in our team who's not 100% committed and not absolutely happy to be in the team," he said.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Lewis Hamilton's future continues to dominate discussions in the paddock, with a lot of attention going on who might replace him if he does - as is a definite possibility - move to Mercedes next season, with Michael Schumacher retiring for a second time. Much of the discussion has centred on the two Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta, but there is a wildcard few are considering - Williams reserve driver Valtteri Bottas. The Finn is very highly rated by the team and has impressed in Friday practice sessions but they will find it difficult to put him in one of their cars as it would mean waving goodye to the millions that come with their current race drivers Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna. Selling him to McLaren might suit everyone."


    Jamie Wesley on Twitter: "Surely even the most anti-Schumi fans secretly want him to take pole today..."

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Tyre supplier Pirelli's aim is for two-stop races, but that is already a forlorn hope here this weekend. They tyres are holding very well and already Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery says it's a nailed-on one-stop race. The hard 'prime' tyre could do virtually a full race distance and the medium 'option' is also lasting well. Drivers were struggling to get a time out of the 'medium' on the first lap on Friday but Hembery says there's no doubt which tyre will be used in qualifying - the medium is between 0.3-0.5secs quicker."

  120. 0944: 

    These live texts are always more fun when you get involved, if only so you're not stuck with me rambling on alone all afternoon. So get in touch with your F1-related chat. Have you got any burning questions? Where does Monza stand in your pantheon of tracks? Can you see Schumacher taking pole? If not, who is your tip? Get involved using the #bbcf1 hashtag on Twitter or text us via 81111 with F1 and your name.


    Adam Brewer on Twitter: "Alonso for pole, Button to win this weekend."

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "On outright fastest laps, the field was astonishingly close on Friday. The two McLarens were 0.038secs apart, Fernando Alonso was 0.02secs behind Jenson Button in third, Felipe Massa just 0.083secs off his Ferrari team-mate and so it went on down to Nico Hulkenberg's Force India in eighth. On long runs, too, you couldn't split them, with the McLaren drivers, Massa, Red Bull's Mark Webber and Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen were all at pretty much the same pace. The anomalies were the Mercedes, with Nico Rosberg 0.4secs quicker than that group and Michael Schumacher not far off him. The assumption is that gap must be explained by fuel load, but nevertheless the Mercedes look like they will be right up there, too. They even have decent tyre degradation for once."

  123. 0940: 

    But before that, let me run you through Friday's action - which saw Michael Schumacher top the first session timesheets in his Mercedes. A faulty DRS prevented him from doing the double in FP2 - as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button completed a McLaren 1-2.

    However, Schumacher's lap time without the overtaking aid was impressive and with the team confident they could fix it overnight, the German legend should be right in the mix for pole position number 69 later today - along with McLaren, Ferrari and Schumacher's team-mate Nico Rosberg.


    McLaren's Jenson Button on Twitter: "Morning from a very hot sunny Monza, the crowds are in and we're ready for action!! ;)"

  125. 0936: 

    Today is Saturday which means it's time to go qualifying - but before that, we've got the small matter of third and final practice where the teams can tinker with their machines for the final time before they go into lockdown for the rest of the weekend. The action starts at 10:00 BST with BBC Radio 5 live's James Allen providing commentary. Click the link at the top right of this page to listen to his dulcet tones. Qualifying follows at 13:00.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson at Monza:

    "Monza is always a wonderful place to be, no matter what the circumstances. The place oozes atmosphere, and it's a true old-school racetrack. But this weekend it's extra special. The weather is sublime and the prospects for a great race are extraordinarily high. After an intensely competitive two Friday practice sessions, it's anyone's guess who will be on pole. It's a case of sit back and watch some of the closest action of the year unfold."

  127. 0933: 

    Welcome to La Pista Magica, otherwise known as Monza - home of the Italian Grand Prix.

    "When I think of Monza, I immediately see everything through a red veil," said Schumacher. "It is the beating, racing heart of Italy, everything there lives and breathes Ferrari, and I must inevitably think of the good times I spent there."

    Good times indeed. The German won the race five times - while driving a Ferrari - between 1996 and 2006, making him the most successful driver on the iconic circuit.

  128. 0930: 

    It's remarkable to think that six years ago, in an emotional post-race press conference at Monza, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher announced his retirement from Formula 1.

    Fast forward to today and the veteran German, 43, is back at that very venue hoping to taste victory for the 92nd time - and first since he returned with Mercedes in 2010.

    Things have been far from easy during his comeback, but despite rumours of him hanging up his helmet for a second time at the end of the season - the German looked supreme on Monza's long straights on Friday.

    Can he secure his first pole position - it didn't count in Monaco this year because of a five-place penalty - since the 2006 French Grand Prix? This is probably his best shot yet.

Formula 1 World Championship 2014

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 384
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 317
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 238
4 Finland V Bottas Williams 186
5 Germany S Vettel Red Bull 167
6 Spain F Alonso Ferrari 161
7 Brazil F Massa Williams 134
8 Great Britain J Button McLaren 126
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 96
10 Mexico S Perez Force India 59
11 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren 55
12 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 55
13 France J Vergne Toro Rosso 22
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 8
15 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 8
16 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 2
18 Germany A Sutil Sauber 0
20 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber 0
22 Japan K Kobayashi Caterham 0
23 W Stevens Caterham 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham