Alonso: Fault cost me 'easy pole'
Broken rear anti roll-bar scuppered Alonso's attempts to beat the McLarens
Last Updated: 09/09/12 5:53pm
A frustrated Fernando Alonso has claimed that the mechanical problem which struck his Ferrari in Q3 stopped him securing "the easiest pole position of the season" ahead of the McLarens at Monza.
The World Championship leader was more than holding his own against the pre-qualifying favourites McLaren prior to the crucial final knockout stage, setting the fastest time in both Q1 and Q2 to set up what appeared a strong shot at pole on Ferrari's home soil.
But, after failing to set a representative time on his first Q3 run in what initially appeared a curious attempt to give team-mate Felipe Massa a tow, Alonso struggled to a 1:25.678 on his second run which left him marooned in 10th place - while the McLarens locked out the front row.
Although some initial mystery surrounded the Spaniard's sudden drop-off in performance, Ferrari confirmed to Sky Sports F1 immediately after the session that the rear anti roll-bar on Alonso's F2012 had broken at the start of Q3.
Team chief Stefano Domenicali told Ted Kravitz: "It seems [a] problem with the rear of the car. It seems to be a mechanical failure - we need to wait the car [for the car] coming back.
"It happened on the first lap of Q3. We knew that the car was not good because Fernando understood the situation straight away. So it's very unfortunate, but that's the way it is.
"Of course [we are] very disappointed because we could have done a great qualifying with Fernando, at least with Felipe [Massa] we did a good job and he's there just behind the McLarens."
Indeed, speaking to Natalie Pinkham after returning to parc ferme, Alonso was convinced that the problem had denied him a third pole position in the last five races.
"Something broke in the car in Q3," the World Championship leader explained. "We had no time to fix it so we went out to see if we could beat some of the cars but unfortunately we were not able to.
"It's a shame because it was the easiest pole position for us. We did a [one minute] 24.1 in Q2 with an easy lap and looking at it they [McLaren] did 24.0 in Q3.
"In Q2 the car felt perfect and on the out lap in Q3 it felt good. And then when I push for the first time in Q3 I felt something wrong so I said on the radio 'in this lap because I need to check the car'.
"They check the car and they find more or less the problem from the data but they said 'there is no time, there is only four minutes left in Q3. So we just go out and see what we can do'.
"It was easy for us to do that and we lost one big opportunity, but nothing we can do now. We try to be strong tomorrow, the car will be fixed, so we will see what we can do from 10th."