A heavy downpour caused a treacherous track out at Monza today. Still, it was one of the most sensational qualifying sessions I’ve seen in a long time. The 21 year-old Sebastian Vettel won pole position for the first time in his career for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix, making him the youngest Formula 1 driver to win pole, ever. His winning time was 1 minute 37.555 seconds.
When his race engineers told Vettel that he’d secured pole position, he started cheering ‘grazie, grazie,’ to thank his Italian team. Later, at the press conference, he said “I never would have dreamt that I could be on the pole. This is our home race and even though we are not as big as Ferrari, I think people will now know about us.” He was speaking of his relatively small race team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, which is 50% owned by Red Bull.
Due to the rain, most of the usual suspects went out early or finished poorly. McLaren’s championship leader Lewis Hamilton qualified 15th, one place behind Ferrari’s world champion Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa will start Sunday’s race in sixth place.
Behind Vettel will be Heikki Kovalainen in his McLaren, followed by Red Bull’s Mark Webber and the second Toro Rosso, Sebastien Bourdais. Still, ahead of Sunday’s race – the 14th of 18 season-races – Hamilton still leads the standings with 76 points and Massa has 74. It’s coming down to the wire.
Here’s the complete grid for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix:
Sebastian Vettel (GER/Toro Rosso)
Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/McLaren)
Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull)
Sebastien Bourdais (FRA/Toro Rosso)
Nico Rosberg (GER/Williams)
Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari)
Jarno Trulli (ITA/Toyota)
Fernando Alonso (ESP/Renault)
Timo Glock (GER/Toyota)
Nick Heidfeld (GER/BMW)
Robert Kubica (POL/BMW)
Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA/Force India)
David Coulthard (GBR/Red Bull)
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari)
Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren)
Rubens Barrichello (BRA/Honda)
Nelson Piquet Jr (BRA/Renault)
Kazuki Nakajima (JPN/Williams)
Jenson Button (GBR/Honda)
Adrian Sutil (GER/Force India)