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Lewis Hamilton will lead the first Mercedes front-row lockout at Monza since 2016 when he starts from pole for tonight’s Formula One Italian Grand Prix. Join The Roar for a live blog and race updates from 11:10pm (AEST).
Onto the eighth race in ten weeks, and even the heavily revised Formula One world championship calendar in 2020 couldn’t stop the famous Monza circuit hosting the Italian Grand Prix.
Now 5.7 kliometres in its layout, the temple of speed that is Monza is still one of the fastest tracks on the calendar, and the 53-lap race is generally one of the quickest all year.
Power here is everything, which is why the all-dominant Mercedes have won five out of six Italian Grands Prix since 2014, with their superior power unit and all-round package no match for their rivals. That looks set to continue this weekend.
The ban on using multiple engine modes this weekend was thought likely to hamper the world champions, but if anything it now seems destined to benefit them more come race day, with less stress to be put on the engine without changing power maps.
Lewis Hamilton commands a 47-point lead in the championship over Max Verstappen, but regardless of the gap the Dutchman’s Red Bull Racing outfit still believe their man to be a contender for the title. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas is 50 points behind in third.
But having shown a new level of consistency and a reluctance to make any mistakes this year so far, the outlook is bleak for anyone to stop Hamilton from leaving Monza with a sixth Italian Grand Prix victory.
The Briton will start from the pole, with teammate Bottas joining him on the front row. The only opportunity the Finn will likely have to win this race is to get the better start and lead into the first chicane.
Behind the Mercedes pair is an intriguing battle for third, as the luckless Carlos Sainz qualified at the head of the second row ahead of Sergio Perez. However, Max Verstappen from fifth has demonstrated better race pace, so will the Dutchman make light work of the cars ahead or be in a four-car race over the final podium place?
What a difference a year has made for Ferrari. The Italian team won in front of their adoring tifosi in 2019 thanks to an emphatic drive from Charles Leclerc from pole, but they’ll struggling to even score points at their home grand prix from 13th and 17th on the grid.
It is one of the most special races in Formula One, so be sure to tune in from 11:10pm (AEST) on The Roar for live blog coverage of the Italian Grand Prix.
Lights out: 11:10pm (AEST)
Venue: Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel
2019 winner: Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
3. Carlos Sainz (McLaren), 4. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing), 6. Lando Norris (McLaren)
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), 8. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
9. Alexander Albon (Red Bull Racing), 10. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
11. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri), 12. Esteban Ocon (Renault)
13. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 14. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
15. Kevin Magnussen (Haas), 16. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
17. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), 18. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
19. George Russell (Williams), 20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)