Lewis Hamilton has said that the reason he was unable to take the fight Fernando Alonso in the battle for pole for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix was because he wasn't 100 per cent happy with the balance of his car.

In the end while he only missed out on P1 by less than a tenth of a second, the margin between the two McLaren-Mercedes men would probably have been bigger, had Alonso, who had set the pace in Q1 and Q2, not aborted his final run, when Hamilton was unable to better his 1m 21.997s lap.

Despite missing out on pole though, Lewis was still pleased, especially as Ferrari were unable to challenge them, which was in stark contrast to how things went in Turkey two weeks ago.

"It was quite a good battle Fernando and I had going on there," reflected Lewis, who of course leads the race for the 2007 drivers' title.

"It was a good run. The first timed lap wasn't great but I think in that last one I edged a little bit more out of the car.

"I wasn't one hundred per cent happy with the balance of the car, but nevertheless, we're one-two. It's great for the team. It just shows how hard we've all been working especially the guys back at the factory.

"They've done a fantastic job to prepare the aero package that we have here and also Mercedes have done a great job with the engines. We've all put our heads together and this is the fifth time we've had the front row locked out so I hope we can maintain that tomorrow."

Asked if the balance issues in qualifying might affect him during the grand prix, Hamilton added that it shouldn't be a concern.

"I think for the long runs it will be fine. I am not too bothered by that," he continued. "I think it will be good through the race.

"I just think that one qualifying lap wasn't as I wanted it to be - and you know, we are both on the front row, which is the most important thing."

As for if he will be able to pass Alonso on Sunday and take the victory, Lewis noted that it won't be easy: "I think here there are not that many corners, so there is not a lot of room for error and as you know Fernando and all of the top drivers rarely make mistakes, so it will be extremely difficult.

"Also as we are running with such low down-force, to then lose your down-force completely behind someone, it is going to be tough.

"I don't know, its one of those tracks where it is possible [to pass people], but we shall have to wait and see tomorrow and see how we go into the first corner," he summed-up.

 

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