Lewis Hamilton takes commanding pole over Rosberg in Italy

BY foxsports • September 3, 2016

Lewis Hamilton took his seventh pole of the 2016 Formula One season with a 1:21.135 around Monza in Italy on Saturday, 0.478 seconds faster than his teammate.

Hamilton will lead his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg away at the start of Sunday's Italian GP, while Ferrari locked out the second row. Historically, pole position usually leads to the race win at Monza more than any other circuit, despite plenty of overtaking opportunities.

Q1 saw both Saubers and both Renaults knocked out, as well Daniil Kyvat's Toro Rosso and Esteban Ocon's Manor. Ocon's car had stopped on track before he was able to set a time. As for Ocon's teammate Pascal Wehrlein, he was able to make it through into Q2 for the second straight race.

In Q2, Wehrlein qualified 14th, but will get to start 13th as Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change. Grosjean qualified 12th but will start 17th. Meanwhile, Grosjean's teammate Esteban Gutierrez made it through into Q3 - the team's first appearance in the final qualifying session this season. Also eliminated in Q2 were the two McLaren drivers, Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz, and Williams driver Felipe Massa, who announced that he'll be retiring from the sport at the end of the year on Thursday.

By the time Q3 had rolled around, everyone was already expecting a Mercedes front row, as the Silver Arrows had finished 1-2 in the opening sessions despite turning laps on soft tires, while most of the field was on supersofts.

Hamilton, however, locked up his right-front tire in Q2, which he is set to start the race on. The team may opt to talk to the stewards to see if they can change the flat-spotted tire on safety grounds ahead of Sunday's race.

Hamilton set the fastest time in the first set of runs during Q3, while Kimi Raikkonen had the edge over his Ferrari teammate on the provisional second row. The drivers headed back out on track in the closing minutes of Q3, with Sebastian Vettel moving up from fourth to third ahead of his teammate.

Unofficial starting grid (after penalties):