It was a slightly safety-first bet (which amounted to 1.5 on Hamilton or Alonso) but given it came off I'm perfectly happy. Not surprised Hamilton got pole, but I was shocked to see Alonso finish where he did.
In the first qualifying session the typical backmarker teams were out, as was Hulkenberg. Force India had been looking pretty good around Monza but an unknown fault meant he stopped on track, and will start last.
The second qualifying session saw the Red Bulls struggle. Vettel squeaked into Q3, and Webber did not. Perez also failed to make the top 10, whereas his team mate made it through. D'Ambrosio finished low down the order as well. Both Williams and Toro Rossos were also eliminated. Maldonado will start very near the back, having qualified 12th and then having a pair of 5 place grid penalties for jumping the start and ramming Glock in Spa.
The third qualifying was thrilling and surprising. The Ferraris, as per P3, worked together so they benefited from the slipstream effect. However, after Massa had benefited their effort with Alonso seemed to go askew and the Spaniard, who had been fastest in earlier sessions, was a shockingly low 10th. At the front McLaren were fantastic, with Hamilton leading Button. Massa also had a great qualifying, showing the Ferrari has real pace, and got third, with Di Resta putting in a very impressive lap for fourth (he'll be demoted five places due to a gearbox-related penalty). Schumacher put his Silver Arrow in fifth, ahead of Vettel and Rosberg, with Raikkonen eighth. Kobayashi only managed ninth, but that was probably the limit of his car.
So, McLaren are on the march, and Ferrari absolutely cocked up Alonso's qualifying. Whether it was his mistake it's hard to say but he should've been top three at least. Whilst Monza is a proper circuit, and overtaking is therefore possible, nine out of the last 10 races there have been won from pole, and starting 10th is not great.
It's also worth considering the relatively high number of issues cars have had in practice and qualifying. Alonso has suffered brake failure in practice and a mechanical failure in qualifying, in P3 Vettel's battery ran out of juice, Hulkenberg's Force India went on strike before he could even clock a qualifying time and both Mercedes have suffered RFA/DRS failures in practice. It's also worth bearing in mind that the last time a Renault-engined car had an alternator issue (Valencia) it cost one Red Bull and one Lotus many points.
So, that's another area where McLaren have a clear advantage, as well as being either fastest or very nearly fastest. It is quite hard to see either of the team's drivers failing to get a podium.
I agonised over what to bet on here. The problem is I think the third podium spot, assuming McLaren get two of them, could go to a large number of people, the winner odds were not that appealing (I was actually tempted by the 23 on Massa to win) and everything else I considered had really short odds.
In the end I backed Sauber to have both cars finish in the points at 3.25 with Ladbrokes, no hedging.
The race could be an absolute cracker tomorrow.