Lewis Hamilton beat McLaren team-mate Jenson Button to pole at the Italian Grand Prix as Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso bid failed.
Alonso, the world championship leader, had been quick all weekend but could manage only 10th because of a mechanical failure on his car.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was third ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta, who has a five-place gearbox change penalty.
Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher was fifth from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took seventh, ahead of Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen, Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi and Alonso. Di Resta will be demoted to ninth, between the Sauber and the Ferrari.
It was a third pole in a row for McLaren, after Hamilton started from the front in Hungary and Button did so in Belgium a week ago.
But the story was Alonso, who was 1.4 seconds slower in the top 10 shoot-out than he had been in setting the fastest time in the second part of qualifying. He was also fastest in the first part.
Ferrari had tried a strategy of getting their drivers to ‘tow’ each other around the track, but the tactic did not work.
Massa set his best time without the use of a tow, and Alonso was unable to use it because of his problem, which Ferrari said was “probably” a rear anti-roll bar failure. It is a serious blow to the Spaniard, who heads into this race with a 24-point championship lead, a margin that was dramatically reduced by Vettel in Belgium following Alonso’s retirement in a first-corner pile-up.