Vettel wins pole for Italian GP, Hamilton qualifies 12th
Monza, Italy (Sports Network) - Sebastian Vettel won the pole position while his teammate, Mark Webber, qualified second to give Red Bull the front starting row for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
Vettel, the three-time defending Formula One world champion, made a lap around the 3.6-mile, 11-turn Monza circuit in 1 minute, 23.755 seconds for his fourth pole of the season and the 40th of his career.
In 2008, Vettel claimed his maiden F1 race and pole win in the Italian GP. He became the youngest race and pole winner in the history of the sport, doing so at the age of 21. Vettel also started on the pole and won this race in 2011.
"The car has been fantastic so far this weekend," Vettel said. "It was better than what we had expected. We had a really strong pace (in Friday's practice), and we were able to take that into qualifying. I had two good runs at the end."
Red Bull has struggled at Monza in the past. Since its F1 debut in 2005, the team has scored only one podium finish in 16 starts here -- Vettel's victory two years ago.
"I think it is a bit of a surprise to have both cars on the front row at a place where, historically, we've had bad years," Vettel said. "Hopefully, we'll have a good race from where we start tomorrow."
Webber earned his best starting position in the Italian GP with a lap in 1:23.968.
"It's a nice step towards a very good result tomorrow," Webber said. "I'm happy to be up there in qualifying."
Lewis Hamilton, who was attempting to win his fifth consecutive pole, failed to advance into the final qualifying segment. The McLaren driver will start 12th, his worst position since May 2012 in the Spanish Grand Prix. Hamilton started on the pole and won last year's Italian GP when he drove for McLaren.
Hamilton claimed that Adrian Sutil from Force India impeded him during his run in Q2. Race stewards investigated the incident between the two drivers after Saturday's qualifying session had concluded. They determined Sutil got in Hamilton's way in the final corner.
Sutil finished 14th but was penalized with a three-place grid penalty. He will start 17th.
Despite his run-in with Sutil, Hamilton acknowledged that he had a poor performance in qualifying.
"I just drove like an idiot," Hamilton said. "That's the worst I driven for a long, long time. I'm sorry to the team."
Ten of the previous 13 Italian GPs have been won from the pole position, including the last three.
Nico Hulkenberg from Sauber was a surprise third-place finisher in Saturday's qualifying. It's the best starting spot for Hulkenberg since he won the pole for the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix.
"It's a really nice surprise," Hulkenberg said. "I didn't expect this, especially after a very difficult Friday."
Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso will start fourth and fifth, respectively. This is the home race for Ferrari. It's headquarters are located in Maranello, Italy, which is roughly 125 miles southeast of Monza.
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg qualified sixth, while Daniel Ricciardo from Toro Rosso took the seventh spot. Sergio Perez from McLaren was eighth, followed by his teammate, Jenson Button. Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne completed the top-10.
Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean also did not make it into Q3. Raikkonen qualified 11th and Grosjean 13th.