Sebastian Vettel admitted he was surprised by his advantage in qualifying at Monza, the Red Bull driver conceding he never expected to grab pole by such a margin.
The championship leader, whose Red Bull team has never been too strong at Monza, secured his 10th pole position of the year to keep the squad's perfect record of top spots this season. Vettel finished nearly half a second ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, second today, and admitted he never expected to be so far ahead.
"We thought it would be much closer than that," admitted Vettel. "I had a bit of an improvement in the first run for my second lap. We weren't sure whether the tires worked best in the first or second lap, but I did a bit of a mistake but we stayed out and focused on the last run only.
"I know we had a bit more time in the car, I had one or two cars down the road, which always helps at Monza but surely we would not think of going for pole by that big margin today on a track that did not suit us. This year the car is very good here, the balance is perfect even though for most of the people we don't carry much wing around, so it is very slippery. We are quick in all three sectors, so I am happy today. We think we have quite a racy approach so very pleased."
The German said he was not concerned about trying to keep a perfect pole position record all year, but rather about securing points on Sunday.
"I don't know. We had a similar question going into this weekend or last race, I don't know. I don't care as well, I think we have to go step by step. This weekend we know it is not easy for us, but so far it has been excellent, the main task is coming tomorrow.
"So far, we haven't scored a single point but we have put ourselves in the strongest position. After tomorrow's race we focus on the next one, then we focus on the next one. If we have 100 percent going into last race then we still have the chance to keep that up, but that is not our target, our target is to maximize the points tomorrow."
Vettel is confident he will be able to stay ahead of his McLaren rivals in the race, despite the strong pace shown by the team over long runs.
"I think we have a fair chance. Yesterday I was happy with the car, today is more about qualifying preparations and long runs. I felt very competitive, very good, the balance was right."