Championship leader Lewis Hamilton achieved his seventh consecutive pole position this season at the classic Monza circuit.
The Mercedes driver edged out both Ferraris and his team-mate to score his 49th career pole. Hamilton was able to benefit from Mercedes latest ‘development’ F1 engine to good effect to take P1 by 0.234 seconds from Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton wasn’t able to improve on his one minute, 23.397 seconds on his second qualifying run, but both efforts were good enough for pole.
Raikkonen edged out his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel by just 0.054 seconds on his final run to be best of the Scuderia’s two drivers in front of its passionate home crowd.
Running Ferrari’s newly upgraded power unit, they were less than a tenth quicker than Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Rosberg.
Rosberg noticed a “strange oscillation” with his new Mercedes power unit in final free practice, so the team reverted to the less powerful spec used in the previous race at Spa-Francorchamps.
The lack of horsepower revealed a telling truth as he trailed team-mate Hamilton by 0.306 seconds.
Williams team-mates Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas locked out row three of the grid, nearly half a second clear of the Force India of Sergio Perez.
Spa podium finisher Romain Grosjean split the Force Indias by placing his Lotus eighth fastest, 0.428 seconds further back from Perez.
Nico Hulkenberg suffered a loss of power after his first run in Q3, so didn’t run again.
The Force India driver’s time of one minute, 25.317 seconds was only good enough for ninth on the grid, well clear of the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson, who was the final car in the top ten shootout.
Pastor Maldonado missed out on making Q3 by just a tiny margin of 0.015 seconds, as just over two tenths of a second covered sixth to P11 places in Q2.
Felipe Nasr ended up 0.441 seconds adrift of Sauber team-mate Ericsson and also missed the cut, winding up P12.
The Renault-powered cars were far too slow to have a realistic chance of making Q3.
The Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz pipped Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull to P13 by 0.178 seconds, but they will be hit with grid penalties for various engine component changes at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull required an engine change after a problem in final free practice, and he only took to the track with less than three minutes remaining of the first part of qualifying.
He was a tenth faster than team-mate Kvyat with that single run in Q1, but didn’t venture out on track again, so ended up P15 overall after Q2.
Ricciardo’s late show in Q1 meant neither McLaren-Honda escaped the first part of qualifying, though Jenson Button leapfrogged team-mate Fernando Alonso by 0.096 seconds right at the end.
Will Stevens again defeated Roberto Merhi in the private battle of the Manor/Marussias, just under two tenths clear.
Both were trailed by the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen, who was delayed by an engine change and joined the session too late to set a time.
His only significant contribution to the session was to see his STR10 shed its engine cover at Curve Grande as the first part of qualifying concluded.
Qualifying positions, Monza:
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m23.631s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m23.685s
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.703s
5 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m23.940s
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m24.127s
7 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m24.626s
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1m25.054s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m25.317s
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.214s
11 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1m24.525s
12 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.898s
13 Will Stevens Marussia-Ferrari 1m27.731s
14 Roberto Merhi Marussia-Ferrari 1m27.912s
15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Renault 1m25.633s*
16 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 1m25.796s*
17 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1m26.058s*
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1m26.154s*
19 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault No time*
20 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m25.63s3*