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Published: 14:10 | 3/9/16

Hamilton storms to Monza pole

Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for the Italian Grand Prix after producing a masterful display in qualifying at Monza.

The British driver led the way in all three practice sessions and was head and shoulders above team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg by almost half a second.

Ferrari made up the second row with former world champion Sebastian Vettel grabbing third spot ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, but the former was not much short of a full second slower than Hamilton.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas placed fifth with the Red Bull pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen not far behind in sixth and seventh.

This was Hamilton's fifth pole position at Monza, equalling the feat of all-time greats Ayrton Senna and Juan Manuel Fangio.

The three-time world champion begins the race on Sunday nine points ahead of Rosberg and he will be confident of extending his lead after outclassing Rosberg throughout the three sessions.

"I feel very proud and honoured to be up amongst Fangio and Senna, incredible drivers and I never thought in a million years my name would be mentioned in the same breath as them," Hamilton said.

"I came with my A game today particularly that last lap felt incredible. It’s a great track with great fans.

"Race by race I continue to say that this team is fantastic, and it’s a pleasure to drive for them."

Rosberg meanwhile admitted he was second best to his team-mate, saying the problem was that "Lewis had his best qualifying for a long time".

Vettel was pleased with his day's work but had to admit that the Ferraris are a long way off Mercedes' blistering pace.

"First of all I wasn’t too happy with my first run, and then I went just on the limit in the last corner and was a little late on the throttle on my second lap," he said.

"But the lap itself I brought it back in sector two and three and did well.

"I’m very happy for us to lock out the second row, although I’m not entirely happy as those guys ahead look like they’re in a world of their own."

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