MONZA, Italy, CMC – Reigning World champion Lewis Hamilton will start from second row of the grid for today’s Italian Grand Prix after Kimi Raikkonen produced the fastest lap in Formula One history to snatch pole in final qualifying here yesterday.
Hamilton had been fastest in the early runs but Sebastian Vettel then went quicker before his Ferrari teammate Raikkonen unveiled his bit of magic.
The Brit, who leads the drivers standings, conceded the margins between his Mercedes and the Ferraris were quite close and said he was expecting an equally tight contest on Sunday.
“Congratulations to Ferrari, they did a solid job today. We have it everything we could,” said Hamilton.
“It’s obviously incredibly close between us but they’ve had the upper hand all weekend. We gave it everything we could today and we’ll give more tomorrow.”
He added: “Everyone in the team is working as hard as they can to make the difference. It’s incredibly close, as I said, as you can see, which is great for the sport.
“It’s great to see so many fans here, regardless if they’re all Ferrari fans, it’s still great.”
Hamilton has 231 points, 17 clear of his main rival Vettel who won the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.
The 33-year-old Hamilton has won four times inside the last six years at Monza, including last year when he led a Mercedes one-two with Valtteri Bottas, who is alongside him on the grid for Sunday’s race.