Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso blitzed the opposition on Saturday in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Following on from his form in practice, Fernando once again set the marker in qualifying, ahead of the 13th round in the 2007 FIA Formula 1 World Championship and the Spaniard was quickest in all three sessions, eventually edging out his McLaren-Mercedes team-mate and current championship leader, Lewis Hamilton, by 0.037s.

Alonso though would probably have been further ahead had he not eased off on his final run, when Lewis was unable to beat the time he had set earlier on.

Indeed in Q2 Fernando had managed a 1m 21.356s lap, a good half a second quicker than his best in Q3.

Felipe Massa meanwhile headed the chasing pack, albeit more than half a second adrift in his F2007.

Ferrari have been unable to match McLaren-Mercedes for most of the weekend and like in testing last week, don't seem to have the same pace - much to the disappointment of the tifosi, who will be hoping the Scuderia can win on home soil.

Kimi Raikkonen was in P4, until the dying moments of Q3, when he was piped by BMW Sauber driver, Nick Heidfeld - although less than a hundredth separates the two.

Kimi went into qualifying at a disadvantage after having had a big off in practice, something that forced him into the spare car.

He never looked likely to challenge the McLarens or his team-mate and now will have to try and minimise the damage on Sunday.

Outside of the top five, Robert Kubica was sixth in the #2 BMW Sauber F1.07, comfortably ahead of Heikki Kovalainen, who was more than half a second back for Renault.

Williams' Nico Rosberg and Toyota's Jarno Trulli came in eighth and ninth respectively, while Jenson Button rounded out the top ten, his best qualifying performance of the season.

Mark Webber was unlucky not to progress to the top-ten shoot-out, just three hundredths of a second off making it into Q3, while Rubens Barrichello, Alex Wurz, Anthony Davidson, Giancarlo Fisichella and Sebastian Vettel were in 12th to 16th respectively, after another typically close battle in the midfield.

Indeed they were all split by less than three tenths of a second.

Fisichella was especially displeased, as his final best effort was wreaked after Barrichello went off the track, something the Italian reckoned cost him two to three tenths.

As for Q1, David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher were the two most notable names to go out in the first knockout phase.

DC spun out near the end of Q1 when he lost the back-end of his Red Bull RB3 due to a gearbox problem, while Ralf was unable to set a good enough time to get him through to Q2.

It is the fifth time this season Ralf has failed to progress through to the top 16. He will now start from 18th, while DC will start from 20th.

The other four drivers who would fail to progress were less of a surprise, namely Super Aguri's Takuma Sato, who will start 17th, Toro Rosso's Vitantonio Liuzzi, who will start 19th, as well as Spyker duo, Adrian Sutil and Sakon Yamamoto, who as normal brought up the rear, the latter having missed much of Q1 after losing his front nose early on.

 

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