Alonso, Button smiling on Monza front row

Sat, 11 September 2010, 04:01

Sep.11 (GMM) Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were smiling at sunny Monza on Saturday afternoon, after locking out the front of the grid for the Italian grand prix.

It was Alonso’s first ever pole in a red car, and Ferrari’s first qualifying triumph in 30 races.

The result is also Button’s first front row of the season, as Lewis Hamilton in the sister McLaren was left ruing a setup “mistake”.

He was running without McLaren’s famous F-duct, while Button stayed with the concept despite having to use an unconventionally big rear wing for the ultra high speed circuit.

Ultimately, the reigning world champion was just a tenth off Alonso’s pole, stranding Hamilton six tenths behind in fifth.

“It was the wrong choice,” the 2008 world champion admitted to BBC television. Button agreed: “Our side made the right decision.”

Championship leader Hamilton’s biggest title rival Mark Webber was also smiling, despite qualifying just fourth.

He qualified two places ahead of Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel, after two practice breakdowns, including an airbox fire on Saturday morning that stopped his engine.

“We might have to run a slightly more conservative setting on that engine,” admitted team boss Christian Horner. “It’s nothing for us to be too concerned about.”

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