Despite producing the third-fastest lap in the final phase of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday, Mark Webber has admitted that he does not fancy racing in similar conditions.

Just about every session at Monza has featured a wet track, with Friday morning practice being abandoned short of its 90-minute duration as the track flooded. Saturday's equivalent session also featured torrential rain, while qualifying resulted in an unfamiliar-looking grid after some of the sport's leading lights were caught out by the conditions.

An increasingly wet surface left Kimi Raikkonen and points leader Lewis Hamilton languishing at the bottom of the second phase timesheets, while Felipe Massa produced a lap against the odds to make the cut - although he went on to qualify only sixth as Webber, Heikki Kovalainen and surprise pole-winner Sebastian Vettel stole the show.

With further rain forecast for raceday, however, there are concerns about track conditions, and the suggestion that the grand prix, like its GP2 support, could start behind the safety car.

"I don't think any of the guys want to race in those conditions," GPDA board member, and unofficial safety spokesman, Webber commented, "If you had a 53-lap time trial on your own, it's a bit easier but, if anyone has any aquaplaning on the straight... To race in that stuff is tricky.

"There are some safety concerns at this place obviously, because of the high speed, and it's so hard to know where the [other] guy is. You just can't see anything, so we can't really 'race' when the visibility is that bad because, if you can't see where you're going, then it's extremely difficult."

Although the Australian joked that, given his recent starts, getting underway behind the safety car might be an advantage, his rivals admitted that it was hard to plan for such an eventuality.

"It depends on the water level, but I think it should be okay to start as long as there isn't a lot of standing water," Kovalainen ventured, "Now, there was a little bit of standing water, but not the whole track. If that's the case tomorrow, I think it's okay to start on the grid."

First time polesitter Vettel admitted that a safety car start would make his life easier by lining the rest of the field up in single-file behind his Toro Rosso, but agreed with Kovalainen that a lot would depend on the amount of surface water.

"I think race control will make the right decision," he insisted, "Obviously, during qualifying, sometimes there was quite a lot of water. We were struggling, all of us, with aquaplaning, and some cars spun off or some drivers made a mistake. It's very tricky.

"It would make my life easier going into the first corner, but you never know what happens. In the end, we are preparing for a normal race start. We cannot calculate a start behind the safety car."

The German, the youngest driver to start from pole in F1 history, starred in one of the wettest races of recent times, in Japan last season, and admitted that he was happy to have the advantage of having a no-one in front of him at the start.

"Obviously, the guy who is first, after the first lap or the first chicane or going into turn one, has the best view in the case of a wet race," he explained, having again apologised to Webber for the error that took them both out of the Fuji race.

"I have done some other wet races and, in formula racing, it's pretty limited when it comes to your view. I would say the first two guys can maybe play around a bit but, from P5 onwards... I don't even want to imagine how it will be. If you are around P15, you actually can't see anything, so you are trying to look left and right.

"As Mark said, when you do a 53-lap time trial, it's okay, you challenge yourself and the car. But, obviously, it's a race and that means someone has to follow another car and there will be a big group that will be a mess in terms of view, so that doesn't make it safe.

"I think race control has done a very good job in the past, for instance last year in Fuji, and will do a good job tomorrow, I have no doubt about it. First of all, we have to see how the conditions are going to be. There is some rain forecast, but you don't know when and you don't know how much, what intensity...."

Kovalainen was another to star at Fuji, coming through the chaos to take second place for Renault, and recalled another wet race that worked to his advantage as he considered the possibilities for Sunday at Monza.

"Istanbul in 2006, we started in wet conditions and I retired the day before," he said, casting his mind back to GP2, "I can't remember exactly where I started, but I think not very close to the front. It wasn't actually going that well in the rain but then a dry line started to appear, so I thought 'let's put slicks on and see what happens'. I think [Giorgio] Pantano was the first one to actually put slicks on, [but] I put them on a lap later and, then three laps after that, the others realised. By then, I had a 20-second gap. That was pretty good - if we can do that tomorrow, it would be cool.

"It is very unstable weather [forecast for Sunday], the same as today. At some point, it looked like it was going to be a bit drier, then the shower arrives and then it is a really wet track, so we don't really know. But I feel that we are in a strong position for any kind of conditions."


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