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Lewis Hamilton breaks Formula 1 pole record at Italian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton breaks Formula 1 pole record at Italian Grand Prix

Verstappen came in second while Ricciardo made it a double podium for Red Bull by finishing Q3 in third.

Valtteri Bottas topped the times in Friday's practice for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix and was then told he is all set to be retained by Mercedes next season. Around him, however, the sport's young guns were making their claims to be recognised as his heir apparent.

The race has been won from pole position nine times in the last 12 years, and 13 of the last 18. He will arrive in Monza as a three-time previous victor of this Grand Prix, including his first F1 win.

Hamilton was characteristically emotional at the result.

"It's kind of interesting to hear sometimes who calls and who's trying to take my seat or take the seat next door to me", the three-time F1 champion said. "Growing up watching TV and watching Michael stand up there and now you're standing up there".

"We will have to work a little bit on the auto to make the most of it".

Hamilton, who joined Mercedes from McLaren in 2013, is seven points behind Vettel in the current championship and will take the lead if he wins at Monza on Sunday in front of Ferrari's home crowd.

In wet conditions - which saw qualifying suspended for more than two hours after Grosjean crashed in Q1 - Hamilton excelled himself by taking pole by a country mile (1.148 seconds) from second place qualifier Max Verstappen. Dry weather is expected so he has every opportunity to take advantage. "So, clearly we couldn't go the same pace". We are not yet where I think we can be but we should be a bit better tomorrow.

All of which would have been enough to grab the attention but behind him everyone, it seemed, wanted their time on centre stage. But his record pole came under threat in the closing moments as he sat in third place behind both Red Bulls. He will drop further back thanks to a 10-place grid penalty for changing his MGU-H before final practice. Behind them, however, others had also been making the best of the conditions and they have reaped the rewards.

Stroll did a superb job to put his Williams fourth on 1m 37.032s, ahead of the also impressive Ocon on 1m 37.719s. "Ferrari have the better vehicle and we have to do all we can to stay in front this time", said Hamilton.

Watch the Italian GP LIVE ONLY on Sky Sports F1 this weekend.

The Finn pulled out a 1:21.406 while Hamilton - who will oust Ferrari's Formula One leader Sebastian Vettel from the championship lead he has held all season if he wins the last European race of the year - was 0.056 slower.

The Briton acknowledged their achievement.

"Like I said, it's up to me". "So I think it's really cool for young kids to be watching today". For the dedicated fans that stayed, they were in for quite a show.

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