Alonso marks Ferrari Monza debut in P1 style
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has marked his Ferrari debut at Monza's Italian Grand Prix by claiming a 19th career pole position.
The Spaniard netted the Italian team's first pole position of the 2010 Formula One season with a stunning lap of one minute 21.962 seconds, only a tenth of a second quicker than defending driver's champion Jensen Button.
"Pole position was a nice surprise." said the speedy Spaniard.
"When I stopped in parc ferme they radioed and told me I was keeping the first position, but there were still some cars completing their laps. Jenson had gone pink in the first sector and I thought, as had happened before, someone would go faster. It is a nice surprise and a fantastic feeling to get this first pole position for Ferrari."
"The first run was just to put a normal lap on the table and then try to risk more in the second run. But, as sometimes as happens in Monza, when you do a normal lap it is better than when you try to push because it is easy to make a mistake."
Fernando Alonso's Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa also put down a cracking flying lap and captured P3 on the grid, with the Red Bull team having to rely on drivers' championship 13/8 favourite Mark Webber to set their pace, the Bulls lowest Grand Prix starting position of the season thus far. In fact, Sunday's Italian Grand Prix will be the first of the season where a Red Bull has NOT featured on the front row.
So might the wheels have finally come off the Red Bull team?
At odds of 6/10 for the constructors championship, our compilers clearly don't think so as the Bulls remain the odds-on favourites to claim the F1 constructors championship this season ahead of second-favourites McLaren at 6/4 and Ferrari 12/1.
McLaren's championship leading driver Lewis Hamilton could manage only fifth position on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix , with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel sixth, perhaps a blessing in disguise with little pressure on the German's shoulders.
P7's Nico Rosbeg out-qualified teammate Michael Schumacher who could only net himself P12, with the top-10 finished off with P8 Nico Hulkenberg, P9 for Robert Kubica and the stig-beating Rubens Barrichello slowest of the final ten.
Elsewhere in the Italian Grand Prix qualification, Renault's Vitaly Petrov was relegated five places after qualifying 15th for impeding Timo Glock's Virgin as he rejoined the circuit from the pit lane.
"I can only apologise to him if I held him up. I didn't see him coming up behind me and didn't see any blue flags as I came out of the pits," explained Petrov.
Though, Timo Glock himself was then slapped with a penalty relegating him to the back of the grid following the Virgin pit crew braking a seal on the car's gearbox to replace the differential - a process which breaches the FIA's rules.
For the race, I think this one is Ferrari's to lose.
Alonso's on fact, and even though he's the 4/5 favourite to win the race, this would look a more stable bet than - for example - when Vettel is in pole and odds-on.
Italian F1 Grand Prix betting: Fernando Alonso 4/5; Jensen Button 5/2; Lewis Hamilton 6/1; Felipe Massa 9/1; Mark Webber 14/1; Seb Vettel 16/1; 100/1 bar.
Don't forget as Sunday's Italian Grand Prix begins, so does our live betting where you can get involved in all the latest prices throughout the race so don't forget to join us here at Hills towers when the action starts on BBC 1.