Lewis Hamilton claimed pole at Monza - but he had to dig deep to beat Adrian Sutil as Force India produced another sensational performance.
McLaren's Hamilton edged out Sutil at the last gasp, and the German also faces the prospect of fending the KERS equipped Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) and Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) into turn one.
The Brawns will share row three, with Rubens Barrichello beating his team-mate and title rival Jenson Button by 0.015s. However, while the cars ahead are likely to be stopping twice, team boss Ross Brawn has confirmed his cars will stop just once.
Tonio Liuzzi backed up Force India team-mate Sutil with an excellent seventh place - also a career best - on his return to F1 after an absence of nearly two years.
Red Bull drivers and championship contenders Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber only managed ninth and 10th, behind Renault's Fernando Alonso.
Times1 Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:24.0662 Sutil (Force India-Mercedes) 1:24.2613 Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:24.5234 Kovalainen (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:24.8455 Barrichelllo (Brawn-Mercedes) 1:25.0156 Button (Brawn-Mercedes) 1:25.0307 Liuzzi (Force India-Mercedes) 1:25.0438 Alonso (Renault) 1:25.0729 Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) 1:25.18010 Webber (Red Bull-Renault) 1:25.31411 Trulli (Toyota) 1:23.61112 Grosjean (Renault) 1:23.72813 Kubica (BMW-Sauber) 1:23.86614 Fisichella (Ferrari) 1:23.90115 Heidfeld (BMW-Sauber) 1:24.27516 Glock (Toyota) 1:24.03617 Nakajima (Williams-Toyota) 1:24.07418 Rosberg (Williams-Toyota) 1:24.12119 Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:24.22020 Alguersuari (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:24.951
All timing unofficial