Alonso marks Ferrari debut at Italian GP by holding off Button to qualify on pole position

By Paul Logothetis, AP
Saturday, September 11, 2010

Alonso marks Ferrari Italian GP debut with pole

MONZA, Italy — Fernando Alonso marked his Ferrari debut at the Italian Grand Prix by taking pole position for the Formula One race.

The two-time world champion from Spain set the pace with a lap of 1 minute, 21.962 seconds Saturday for his 19th career pole. It is the Italian team’s first pole since the 2008 Brazilian GP — a span of 30 races.

Defending world champion Jenson Button of McLaren finished just over one-tenth of a second slower and will start on the front row Sunday for the first time in 23 races.

Felipe Massa of Ferrari and Mark Webber of Red Bull fill out the second row. F1 leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren starts fifth.

Sebastian Vettel was sixth for Red Bull, which had taken pole in 12 of the first 13 races this season.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

MONZA, Italy (AP) — Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the Italian Grand Prix’s last practice session before qualifying on Saturday.

The McLaren driver timed a quickest lap of 1 minute, 22.498 seconds at the Monza circuit to edge Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull by 0.047 seconds.

Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were next fastest. Both were within 0.150 of Hamilton’s time.

Jenson Button gave McLaren a fifth-place finish ahead of Nico Rosberg of Mercedes, while Mark Webber of Red Bull exited early for the second straight session after suffering a power loss.

Webber, who trails Hamilton by three points in the standings, had a best lap of 1:23.082.

Red Bull has taken the pole in 12 of 13 races this season.

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