Lewis Hamilton claimed his 94th career pole position with a blistering final flying lap that set a new lap record lap at Monza to edge second-placed team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.069s and third placed Carlos Sainz of McLaren by eight tenths of a second.
Fourth place in the session went to Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez as Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen slipped to P5 ahead of the second McLaren of Lando Norris.
It was another difficult day for Ferrari, however, as on home soil neither of its cars made Q3, with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel ending up P13 and P17.
In Q1 the Mercedes drivers led the way, with Hamilton taking top spot with a lap of 1:19.514. Bottas slotted into second place, two tenths behind the champion.
Verstappen, meanwhile comfortably made his way though to Q2 with a time of 1:20.193. That was only good enough for fifth place, however, as third place was taken by Racing Point’s Sergio Pérez and fourth by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.
However, it was a much more nervous end to the session for Alex Albon in the other Red Bull. The Thai driver had his second flyer of the session deleted from exceeding track limits and he dropped to 15th on the timesheet ahead of the final runs. Albon was forced to go again and he would need to make it count.
That was easier said than done, however, as on the out lap a number of cars became embroiled in a tussle for position. In the end it meant that most were forced to abandon their lap and Albon fortunately scraped through in P15 ahead of eliminated drivers Romain Grosjean, Sebastian Vettel, Antonio Giovinazzi, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.
Hamilton again led the way after the first runs of Q2. The champion set a run-one benchmark of 1:19.092 to sit almost four tenths of a second clear of Bottas. Pérez was again third ahead of Sainz and Verstappen found himself in P5, 0.057s behind the McLaren. Albon, meanwhile, was in P10 with a time of 1:20.064.
Once again the final runs saw drivers battling for space and a clear tow at the end of the session. This time, though, the only complication was caused by Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo going wide at the second chicane and that also ruined team-mate Ocon’s lap as the Frenchman was seeking a tow from his team-mate. There were few improvements elsewhere, however, and as drivers fell back on their opening times Albon went through to Q3 in tenth place as Verstappen progressed comfortably in P5 behind Perez and Sainz who snuck into P3 thanks to his final flyer.
Eliminated at this stage were AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat in P11, Ocon, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.
Track limits were again Albon’s nemesis in the opening run of Q3. The Thai driver was seventh at the end of his lap, with the McLarens of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris separating him from Verstappen, who was fourth behind Pérez.
Albon’s lap was swiftly deleted, however, as he once again put all four wheels past the white lines at Parabolica. He dropped to 10th.
Verstappen, meanwhile, was again engaged in a battle with Perez and Sainz for hundredths of a second. And as Hamilton stormed to pole position ahead of Bottas with a time of 1:18.887, Sainz took P3 with lap of 1:19.695, good enough to put him three hundredths of a second ahead of Pérez and a tenth ahead of Verstappen who had to settle for fifth place.
The Dutchman will therefore start at the front of row three ahead of the seconds McLaren of Lando Norris, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and the second Racing Point of Lance Stroll. Albon will start ninth, on row five alongside tenth-placed Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri.
2020 FIA Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.887 6 264.362
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:18.956 0.069 6 264.131
3 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1:19.695 0.808 6 261.682
4 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 1:19.720 0.833 6 261.600
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 1:19.795 0.908 6 261.354
6 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1:19.820 0.933 6 261.272
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:19.864 0.977 6 261.128
8 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1:20.049 1.162 6 260.525
9 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1:20.090 1.203 6 260.392
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1:20.177 1.290 6 260.109
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1:20.169 1.217 6 260.135
12 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:20.234 1.282 6 259.924
13 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:20.273 1.321 6 259.798
14 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:20.926 1.974 6 257.702
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1:21.573 2.621 5 255.658
16 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1:21.139 1.625 8 257.025
17 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:21.151 1.637 5 256.987
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1:21.206 1.692 9 256.813
19 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1:21.587 2.073 7 255.614
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 1:21.717 2.203 8 255.207