Hamilton's Monza hopes look nailed on
Lewis Hamilton leads the field and Ferrari's, ahead of Europe's last race of the 2009 season.
The McLaren driver will start the Italian Grand Prix from pole position while Giancarlo Fisichella makes his Ferrari debut starting from 14th on the grid.
Throughout the practice sessions leading up to Saturday's Italian Grand Prix qualification, the defending world champion Lewis Hamilton and team mate Heikki Kovalainen have been notching up the best practice times, with the 15/8 pole position favourite nailing it right at the death of qualification.
Over the first two sessions qualification sessions, the McLarens hadn't appeared on track until very late in each and immediately I thought something is either wrong and they're saving the car, or very right and the boys in the silver garage are confident.
It turned out very right, but close all the same and now it's up to Lewis to take the reins and complete the win.
The statistics are certainly in the champion's favour as the driver starting first on the grid has won seven of the last ten races and Hamilton can now be backed at 10/11 favourite with William Hill.
Adrian Sutil of Force India nearly stole a second consecutive P1 in the dying seconds of Q3, after Hamilton had put down an initial quick time, but the last car over the line in the final session was the flying McLaren - tying up the P1 spot on the grid ahead of Sunday's race with a time of 1m24:066 seconds.
Raikkonen finds himself directly behind the gearbox of Sutil's Force India, but with the KERS system onboard - Kimi should have the boost required to get around the Force India car.
Back Kimi Raikkonen at odds of 9/2 in the Outright Winner market.
After picking up no points at Spa, Jensen Button of the Brawn team may have to be nursed through to a title win this season having almost done enough in the early dominant stages of the season.
With sixth place on the grid for Sunday's Monza race, Button's in a good position to steal a few more points... and step ever closer to the ultimate prize in Motorsport.
Being the home of the Italians, it's hard not to expect Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen (9/2) and new man Giancarlo Fisichella (66/1) to be hovering around podium this time tomorrow, although Fisichella looks happy just to be sat in the cockpit of the Ferrari at Monza, the red cars can't be far off the pace tomorrow.
Fisichella, who is rumoured to be going on to test for Ferrari, is closing his career on a high in what must be the "dream finish" to his long stint in the racing cockpit.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, 50/1 in the outight betting, got the chance to return to the Formula 1 grid this weekend with Force India and has gained a better spot than his predecessor, with P7 after getting in an F1 car for the first time since 2007.
Elsewhere in the paddock, Piquet JNR has vowed never 'to be bullied again' into making a forced decision such as the one he allegedly made ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix last year.
The sacked Brazilian claims to have been forced into crashing on purpose during the race, although the Renault team fiercely denies such accusations.
This final European weekend at Monza will see either Kimi Raikkonen, or Lewis Hamilton standing on top of the podium tomorrow afternoon. Hamilton's too short to back (even though i believe he will take the win) so Kimi at 9/2 for the victory looks the only possible betting option.