Hamilton can lead his rivals a merry dance in Italy

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Lewis Hamilton

It rained and it poured on Saturday in Monza but that only delayed the inevitable as Lewis Hamilton claimed pole for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

The Briton’s latest qualifying win took him clear of Michael Schumacher and onto 69 career poles and could provide him the platform to finally move ahead in the Drivers’ Championship.

Hamilton is currently seven points behind Sebastian Vettel and a win will draw him level with the German at the very least.

A relatively massive 1.148 seconds ahead of second place is impressive and his domination on Saturday suggests the 32-year-old should ease to a fourth win at Monza, with him just 1/4 to take the chequered flag.

Vettel (25/4) could only qualify eighth but the grid penalties imposed on the Red Bull duo of Max Vertsappen and Daniel Ricciardo means he will start sixth and with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen (22/1) alongside him in fifth, they will be hunting the Silver Arrows from the off.

Following their recent resurgence, losing their home race will hurt Ferrari but despite being second best last weekend in Belgium, the Scuderia were at times quicker than Mercedes and that extra pace is sure to be incorporated into their game-plan.

Perhaps Hamilton’s secret weapon could be team-mate Valtteri Bottas who will start fourth and could be asked to play a blocking role if either he or the Briton get off to a slow start.

The Finn is a talent though and could himself spring a surprise at 21/4 but his colleague will not be afraid if it becomes a one on one.

Williams’ Lance Stroll and Force India’s Esteban Ocon are the wildcards but appear to lack the experience to win and in truth, it would be a huge shock if Hamilton does not claim a sixth win of the season.

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