Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will start the 2013 Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid, after superb performances in Saturday's qualifying session. The defending world champion was the first driver all weekend to go under the 1:24.000 mark after posting 1:23.977 in Q2. The German promptly bettered that in Q3, clocking 1:23.755 to claim his fourth pole of the season.
Webber posted 1:23.968 in Q3 to claim a front row start - his first since the British Grand Prix. All the attention, though, was on Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Monza is Ferrari's spiritual home and the tifosi would have been praying for a top three start, at the very least.
Tragically, the scarlet cars were well off the pace. Alonso, in fact, was out-qualified by team mate Felipe Massa. The Brazilian posted 1:24.065 to Alonso's 1:24.142 and will start fourth on the grid. This was after Alonso appeared to have found enough within the F138 to match Vettel for sheer pace, after moving to within 0.283s of his rival in the final practice session.
Hamilton fared worse but, in his defence, only after being impeded on his fast lap by Force India's Adrian Sutil. The German managed to get in Hamilton's way twice in the space of two corners - first at Curva Parabolica and then again at Variante del Rettifilo. The Force India driver has been handed a three-place grid penalty, meaning he will start 17th. Hamilton will start 12th, after managing only 1:24.803 in Q2.
In the midst of all this drama, Nico Hulkenberg's heroic run to third on the grid ought not to be forgotten. The Sauber-Ferrari man produced a stunning 1:24.065 to hold off the Ferraris. Behind those three came the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg on 1:24.192 and Toro Rosso-Ferrari's Daniel Ricciardo with 1:24.209. The Australian's performances since the mid-season break have been quite good, underlining why the defending constructors world champion selected the 24-year-old to replace his compatriot, Webber, at the team next year.
McLaren-Mercedes started the weekend surprisingly well. Sergio Perez ran as high as fifth in the final practice session, with his 1:24.864 only 0.504s off Vettel's best at the time. However, after the front runners revealed their maximum pace, the Woking outfit fell away. Perez managed only 1:24.502 for eighth and Jenson Button will start ninth after clocking 1:24.515.
Ricciardo's team mate, Jean-Eric Vergne, rounds out the top ten.
For the full qualifying timesheet, click here.
Where to Watch Italian Grand Prix from Monza Live
Live coverage of the 2013 Formula 1 ItalianGrand Prix starts at 11.30am BST on Sky Sports F1 and 12.10pm BST on BBC Two and BBC Red Button 1.
Radio commentary is on BBC Radio 5 Live and starts at 12pm BST.
Real time internet updates are available from the Live Timing section of the sport's official website.
We've been fortunate enough to enjoy bright Italian sunshine on Friday and Saturday but that could all fall apart on race day. Weather forecasts for Sunday afternoon say there will be some rainfall throughout the day, meaning the teams may have to think on their feet to make the most of changing weather conditions.
The race starts at 2pm local time and, by then, if forecasts are accurate, there should have been a not inconsiderable amount of rain. In fact, thundershowers are expected early on Sunday morning. As a result, air temperatures that hovered around the 30C mark for most of the weekend so far will drop between 26C and 27C and humidity levels are set to rise significantly.
Most importantly, forecasts say rain fall could increase in the evening, meaning drivers may have to switch between dry weather and intermediate tyres in the race and that could open up some very interesting combinations.