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Hamilton leads McLaren romp in Italian GP qualifying

Monza, Italy (Sports Network) - Lewis Hamilton claimed the pole for the Italian Grand Prix, while his teammate and British compatriot, Jenson Button, qualified second to give McLaren the front row for Sunday's race in Monza.

Hamilton turned a lap around the 3.6-mile, 11-turn Monza road course in 1 minute, 24.010 seconds for his fourth pole of the season and the 23rd of his Formula One career. He also won the pole here in 2009 but finished 12th in that race.

"It's been a tough weekend, but we've managed to work on the setup," Hamilton said. "The (team) has done a fantastic job. I managed to a get a half-decent lap at the end of Q3, so I'm pretty happy. It's great for the team to have Jenson and me up front."

Hamilton is coming off a disappointing 23rd-place finish in last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix. He was involved in a multi-car crash triggered by Lotus' Romain Grosjean on the opening lap. Hamilton has yet to win the Italian GP.

Button, who started on the pole and led all 44 laps to win the Belgian GP, posted a lap in 1:24.133. It's the third time this season that both McLaren drivers start on the front row.

"For us to be on the front row, it's fantastic for the team," Button said. "The last few races have really shown our strength. Qualifying on the front row for the both of us is great, and I don't know if any other team has been able to do it this year."

Felipe Massa from Ferrari qualified third for the team's home race. It was Massa's best qualifying finish since June 2011 in the Canadian Grand Prix.

"I'm happy with the lap I did," Massa said. "I'm happy to be here. It's always an important race for us (Ferrari) here at Monza."

Massa's teammate, Fernando Alonso, will start 10th after experiencing an issue with his rear sway bar during the final qualifying segment. Alonso had the quickest laps in the first two segments before he fell off the pace in Q3. He enters this race with a 24-point lead in the world championship standings.

"I think I could have got pole today, but instead, I find myself 10th," Alonso said. It's a real shame, because the car was very strong. But these things happen."

Paul di Resta from Force India qualified fourth but received a five-spot grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change prior to qualifying. Di Resta will therefore start ninth.

Michael Schumacher from Mercedes placed fifth, while Sebastian Vettel, who started on the pole and won last year's Italian GP, was sixth in qualifying. Vettel's Red Bull teammate, Mark Webber, failed to advance into Q3 and will start 11th.

Sunday's 53-lap Italian GP is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. (ET).

09/08 12:50:52 ET


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