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Lewis Hamilton equals Ayrton Senna with fifth Italian Grand Prix pole

2016-09-04 11:04:59

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying on his way to pole position at the Italian Grand Prix - equalling Ayrton Senna's pole record at Monza.

The world champion topped all three sessions and beat team-mate Nico Rosberg by nearly half a second.

Sebastian Vettel headed Kimi Raikkonen on an all-Ferrari second row, but was 0.837secs adrift of Hamilton.

However, the action was overshadowed by the announcement Jenson Button will not drive in F1 next season.

The 2009 world champion has signed a two-year contract with McLaren, but will take on an ambassadorial role in 2017 - although he could be back behind the wheel in 2018.

Behind the Ferraris, Williams' Valtteri Bottas pipped the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen to take fifth.

Lewis HamiltonHamilton joins two true F1 greats with five pole positions at Monza - Juan Manuel Fangio and Ayrton Senna. Source: Forix

Mercedes annihilation

Mercedes were always going to be favourites going into this weekend but their superiority was perhaps even greater than expected.

No-one could get near them all weekend and Ferrari were left breathless despite the introduction of their final engine performance upgrade for the season.

That left a private battle for pole, and Hamilton was far too good for Rosberg.

Lewis HamiltonGoodbye: Mercedes surprised everyone with their even more dominant pace

His eventual margin of 0.478secs is a lifetime in F1 terms on a track which effectively has only six corners.

It was his fifth pole position at Monza, matching F1 legends Ayrton Senna and Juan Manuel Fangio.

It is hard to see how Rosberg can do anything about beating him here on Sunday, unless he can overtake him off the start.

Hamilton said he was "incredibly proud and honoured" to have matched Senna and Fangio.

He added: "Today, this weekend, I had a very strong feeling and obviously came with my A-game and particularly that last lap felt incredible."

Rosberg said he "just wasn't quick enough", in response to be asked about the size of the gap to Hamilton.

He added: "The problem was Lewis had his best qualifying for some time."

Hamilton begins the race nine points clear of his team-mate in the championship.

Ferrari 'failure'

Ferrari's performance underlined what has been a painfully disappointing season - as president Sergio Marchionne recognised before qualifying when he said they had "failed".

Lewis HamiltonVettel said Mercedes were "in a world of their own"

But the Italian team were still comfortably clear of the rest of the field, with Bottas more than 0.3secs adrift in fifth place and pipping Ricciardo by the tiniest possible margin - just 0.001secs.

Verstappen was only 0.022secs behind his team-mate as Red Bull suffered because of the lack of power of the Renault engine compared to the Mercedes and Ferrari.

But they were less hamstrung than McLaren with their Honda, the least powerful engine this season - Fernando Alonso could manage only 13th place, with Jenson Button 15th.

Lewis HamiltonTats off to them: Italian fans flock to Monza every year to watch Ferrari race

Lewis HamiltonDuring practice on Friday it was announced Monza had agreed a deal to continue staging the Italian Grand Prix for a further three years

Lewis HamiltonEsteban Ocon broke down at the beginning of qualifying

Lewis HamiltonWilliams' Felipe Massa meets fans after announcing his retirement at the end of this season


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