Hamilton takes pole with fastest lap ever

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Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has smashed the Monza track record to take pole position for the Italian Grand Prix with the fastest lap in Formula One history.

The Mercedes driver produced a sensational lap of 1min 18.887sec – at an average speed of 264.362kph – on a sunny afternoon to lead Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas in another front row lockout.

It was the 94th pole of Hamilton’s stellar career, and his seventh at Monza, and shattered the idea that a clampdown on so-called engine ‘party modes’ would affect his team’s performance.

“No party. No problem,” said the team on its official Twitter feed.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz qualified third, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez fourth.

Hamilton’s closest championship rival Max Verstappen, 47 points behind after seven races, qualified for Red Bull in fifth place.

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo was seventh.

Another win for Hamilton on Sunday would be his sixth in eight races and career 90th — one short of former Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s all-time record.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel will line up 13th and 17th respectively for their team’s home race — the first time since 1984 that Ferrari failed to qualify in the top 10 with either car at Monza.

“The best I can do,” said Leclerc over the team radio of his effort.”

Source: thewest.com.au; gpblog.com

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