Today’s weather forecast for the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, home of the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, is warm temperatures, partially cloudy skies and just a slight chance of rain late in the day. The predicted temperature is a high of 84 degrees F (29 degrees C), with humidity levels up around 94 percent.

So far it’s been bright and sunny during the practice and qualifying sessions, the latter seeing McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button locking out the front row. Hamilton will be starting on pole, with Button next to him at second on the grid.

A surprise strong performance has come from Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who secured his best grid position since last year’s race in Canada, when he set the third fastest time during qualifying yesterday.

His teammate, current points leader Fernando Alonso, has been in fine form this weekend, proving he’s shaken off any lingering effects of their first corner retirement at the Belgian Grand Prix seven days ago. Sadly, however, after dominating early in qualifying, a mechanical failure saw the Spaniard drop out before posting a third time, relegating him to 10th on the grid today.

The race at Monza is a favorite on the F1 calendar. The 3.6-mile track boasts the fastest top and average speeds of the season, with drivers having to spend as much as 75 percent of the lap at full throttle. This puts a lot of stress on both drivers and the cars, but for fans the speeds in excess of 186 mph always proves thrilling.

The tires will be the same as raced in the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend, namely the hard and medium compounds. These compounds should allow the teams to push hard from start to finish at the fastest, making for a more exciting race.

Going into today’s race, Fernando Alonso leads the Drivers’ Championship with a tally of 164 points. He is followed by Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel in second place with 140 points and fellow Red Bull driver Mark Webber in third with 132 points.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains the clear leader with 272 points, followed by McLaren on 218 points and Lotus in third with 207 points.

We hope you enjoy this 13th round of the 2012 F1 season, the last race in Europe for the year, and remember to tune in tomorrow for our full results coverage.