After hours of delays due to the inclement weather at Monza, Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying and will start on pole at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
The result saw him edge past Michael Schumacher in the record books but perhaps more significantly, his 69th pole could provide him with the platform to move ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers’ Championship.
Hamilton’s (1/4 favourite) huge advantage in the rain on Saturday, which amounted to 1.148 seconds, means he is the clear favourite and will fancy himself to claim a fourth career win in Italy, especially with the weather set to improve.
Just seven points separate Vettel from Hamilton and a victory for Mercedes in Ferrari’s home race could do them wonders heading into the real business end of the campaign.
Vettel (25/4) only qualified eighth but will actually start sixth due to the grid penalties set to be imposed on the Red Bull duo of Max Vertsappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Those two coming from the back of the field is sure to provide excitement but their punishments have taken some of the unpredictability away from the race.
All eyes will be on Vettel as he chases down his rival but he will be optimistic, having himself taken the chequered flag in Italy three times and will be buoyed by the pace he showed in defeat last weekend in Belgium.
A Hamilton win will see him at least draw level with Vettel in the standings and perhaps send a few shockwaves through the Scuderia camp.
He will first have to get past Williams’ Lance Stroll who qualified fourth, but will start second, while the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas (21/4) will certainly pose a threat from the second row of the grid, having been fastest in Friday practice.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon has been the wildcard so far this weekend but a lack of experience could cost him but arguably the biggest impact could come from Vettel’s team-mate.
Ferrari have recently rejected the notion of employing team orders but Kimi Raikkonen‘s (22/1) position alongside his colleague could be used by the home favourites.
Watch out for him moving aside for Vettel, even if he starts faster, while he could also be used to guide the German through the pack or in the worst case scenario, launched off the front to try and close down Hamilton’s bid for a sixth win of the season.
For all new customers, ComeOn are currently offering a £10 free bet – make sure you sign up!