Masterclass from Lewis Hamilton as he clinches 94th career pole for Italian Grand Prix as Ferrari struggle at home

 Lewis Hamilton produced the fastest lap in history to take pole position for the Italian Grand Prix – as Ferrari endured another humbling on their own Monza track.

It was the Briton’s 94th pole and makes him favourite to extend his 47-point championship lead in Sunday’s race at the Cathedral of Speed.
He buzzed around the 11 corners of the 3.54-mile track at an average speed of 164.267mph, beating the previous best of 163.785mph set by Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari two years ago.

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas was second best by seven-hundredths of a second which shows that the change to the qualifying mode settings introduced here have done nothing significant to temper the pace of the all-conquering Mercedes. Carlos Sainz of McLaren will start third – a fabulous turnaround after the team’s setbacks of recent years.

Sergio Perez, of Racing Points, was fourth fastest and Verstappen fifth. McLaren’s Briton Lando Norris was sixth quickest.

But what woe at Ferrari. Coming on the back of an appalling performance in Belgium last week, Sebastian Vettel got caught in traffic at the end of Q1 and qualified a lowly 17th.

‘What a mess,’ said the German. ‘Why did the Alfas have to overtake everybody.’ Actually, the pertinent questions and answers really lay closer to Ferrari’s door.

Charles Leclerc at least made it into Q2 but there was hardly much respite from the agony as he soon tumbled out, in 13th place. Thank heavens there are no fans here.

‘The best I can do, the best I can do,’ bemoaned Leclerc, resigned to his fate. Two-tenths of a second off 10th place fairly represented the Scuderia’s true speed.

It was the first time since 1984 that neither Ferrari has started their home race in the top 10. Oh dear.

Britain’s George Russell, of Williams, was also held up in the traffic as several congested drivers competed for the tow. He qualified second last and turned the air blue. ‘F*** me boys, what are we playing at? We need to be the ones capitalising on these f*** ups, not being the ones f****** up.’

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