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F1 2013 Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Preview

F1 heads to one of the most famous circuits where the top speeds reach over 350km/h.

Local Time: 2 PM (Italy)

Top Three Qualifying Finish: Nico Rosberg @2.65 See the Latest Odds

TV: Sky F1 (UK), NBC (USA)

The Italian Grand Prix is without doubt one of the jewels on the Formula 1 calendar. Alongside Monaco and Silverstone, Monza sits as one of the most prestigious races to win, one every driver wants on their CV.

Monza brings about two thoughts immediately, speed and the Tifosi. After a stirring FP1 where Fernando Alonso got his Ferrari to the top of the time sheets, the Italian crowd were well and truly up and about.

F1 2013 Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Preview

But that promise, which has been much-needed for Ferrari, was soon wiped out a few hours later when Sebastian Vettel well and truly made his intentions for the rest of the weekend clear.

A time that was almost half a second clear of teammate Mark Webber in P2, was incredibly surprising considering Red Bulls apparent relatively uncompetitive performances at the circuit last year. Well off the pace and suffering their first no points finish since their era of dominance began, it was well expected that Red Bull would suffer a similarly bad weekend this time around.

It's a small price to pay for a car that is competitive everywhere else, by limiting the straight line speed that is so crucial at Monza.

But what the performance in FP2 showed was that Red Bull would well and truly be contending for pole position and the win. Perhaps the headline time we saw during FP2 was slightly distorted through unknown fuel levels, but nevertheless it was a warning that Monza wasn't going to be as tough for Red Bull as people thought.

Just behind Lotus have showed their hand. The improvement in their qualifying pace was made in Germany, but have stalled since. Their showing in FP2 was also one of promise, just a few hundredths off Mark Webber in P2. With the temperatures expected to be hovering around the higher end of the 20s and tyre degradation sure to play a part, Lotus are definitely one to watch for the race especially.

Mercedes have started their weekend in a similar vein to most recent GP weekends. They weren’t spectacular during Friday practice, but their pace is certainly expected to pick-up as the weekend nears qualifying.

It would be a supremely confident prediction to go against Mercedes for qualifying. Their car is seemingly suited to the track, their top speed being their main strength. It’s hard to see how Mercedes don’t qualify the top given that most things, in terms of track characteristics, are all in their favour.

The Red Bulls seems on top form, but Webber is notorious for squandering his chances when the car is up there. Vettel will perform, but perhaps Red Bull have shown a bit of false pace in FP2.

Lotus will also be close, but that final step to true contention doesn’t appear to have been made right now. Mercedes remain favourites for pole in the eyes of many, and both Rosberg and Hamilton will head into qualifying expecting to start from the front row.

With odds of 13/8, Rosberg is an incredibly good bet for a top three qualifying finish, for it would be an utter disappointment if he wasn’t to qualify there.

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