The Monza circuit will always reward horsepower over high grip, and so McLaren proved with Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button delivering the team’s best dry-weather qualifying performance of the 2014 season.

The pair start fifth and sixth respectively for Sunday’s 53-lap race, closing an all-Mercedes top-six on the starting grid behind the works Mercedes’ and Williams’ competitors.

The MP4-29s have run in or around the top-six all weekend, and look well-placed to perhaps break their podium duck that stretches all the way back to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

“Fifth and sixth is pretty solid for the team. In fact, I didn’t think our qualifying pace would be quite that strong,” Magnussen said after qualifying.

“I’m really happy to have the power of the Mercedes engine.”

“We’ve looked pretty good all weekend, and we gradually tweaked the car set-up and balance through every session,” Button (pictured above) added. “On my final flying lap in Q3 I didn’t get a clean middle sector but we probably qualified better than expected.”

Image via Sutton Images

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Geoff Burke

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