by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Italian F1 Grand Prix 2012: Qualifying Report - Vodafone McLaren Mercedes locks out the front row at Monza

• 152nd pole for McLaren
• 73rd pole for McLaren, Mercedes-Benz and Mobil 1
• 27th pole for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
• 23rd pole for Lewis
• 5th pole of the season for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
• 3rd successive pole for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
• 3rd front-row lock-out of the season for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

- MP4-27A-04
- FP3: 1st, 1m24.578s, 18 laps
- Qualifying:
- Q1: 2nd, 1m24.211s (on Primes)
- Q2: 4th, 1m24.394s (on Options)
- Q3: 1st overall, 1m24.010s (on Options)

“This is a fabulous day for the whole team – they’ve done a fantastic job to get our car into this position, so I want to say a huge thanks to them. The whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team deserves this result.

“It’s going to be a fast, tough race tomorrow. Jenson and the Ferraris are very quick, but we’ve got a good car and a good set-up, and we’re in the best possible position to score maximum points tomorrow.

“This is a beautiful track; it’s so fast that you really need to respect it. Monza has such great history too, and, at some stage, I’d love to become part of that history. For the moment, though, I’m just looking for a strong, consistent race tomorrow, because I need to score some good points.

“Finally, I just want to pass on my best wishes and congratulations to my friend Alex Zanardi. Alex is not only one of the most courageous men I know, but he’s also one of the nicest, and his gold medal successes at the Paralympics over the past few days have been incredibly inspiring.”

- MP4-27A-02
- FP3: 6th, 1m25.036s (+0.458s), 22 laps
- Qualifying:
- Q1: 3rd, 1m24.672s (on Primes)
- Q2: 2nd, 1m24.255s (on Options)
- Q3: 2nd overall, 1m24.133s (on Options)

“It’s been a really good day for us. Congratulations to Lewis and the whole team – they’ve done a fabulous job to get us in this position and we’ve got to build on that tomorrow. Happily, we’re in the best position possible: the past few races have really shown the strength of our car.

“We didn’t consider trying to tow each other around as some of the others did – it’s a difficult thing to get right and if you get it wrong you end up being compromised elsewhere around the lap.

“I don’t think tomorrow’s race will be all about the start – you want to get a good run into Turn One, admittedly, but if you try to plan something too ambitious, it often doesn’t work. There haven’t been any first-corner incidents at the front of the grid for the last couple of years here, so Lewis and I will just be focusing on getting our two cars out of the first corner in front of all the others.”

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“I’m extremely proud of the entire Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, all of whose members have worked incredibly hard to develop our car so well over the year. Today’s front-row lock-out is an appropriate reward for all their efforts.

“In fact, I’m told that we now hold the record for the highest number of front-row lock-outs in Formula 1 history, which is quite an achievement. So I want to say a big ‘well done’ not only to the men and women who have worked so hard to make our car quick here today, but also to the men and women who have worked equally hard, going back through 46 long years, ever since McLaren first entered a world championship grand prix in 1966.

“But tomorrow is what counts, and I’m glad to say that we got quite a lot of race prep work done yesterday, so we’re hoping to be in pretty good shape for the race.

“Returning to today, though, both Lewis and Jenson drove immaculately, capitalising on our car’s impressive pace in sectors one and two, and optimising its capabilities also in sector three, where it was slightly less competitive relative to our opposition. Doing that may have looked easy for them, but it wasn’. In fact they both had to keep their nerve towards the end of their fastest laps. Well done, boys.

“Tomorrow’s race will be fast and hard, too. Bring it on!”

~ Official photos and report courtesy of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ~

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