7 Sep 2014

Hamilton beats Rosberg to Italian pole

10:09 am on 7 September 2014

Lewis Hamilton set himself up as favourite for the Italian Formula One Grand Prix after beating championship-leading team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg to pole position on an all-Mercedes front row.

Lewis Hamilton watches qualifying at Monza, 2014.

Lewis Hamilton watches qualifying at Monza, 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Mercedes-powered cars filled the top six slots after qualifying, with Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa together on the second row and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button fifth and sixth.

The pole, on a sunny afternoon at the historic Monza circuit near Milan, was 2008 world champion Hamilton's fifth of the season and 36th of his career.

Lewis Hamilton, Monza, 2014.

Lewis Hamilton, Monza, 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hamilton is 29 points adrift of Rosberg in the championship after they collided in Belgium two weeks ago.

That incident has been the talk of Formula One, with Rosberg taking the blame for a coming together that led to Hamilton's retirement at Spa.

Mercedes bosses have told both drivers that such a collision, which robbed the team of a likely one-two finish, must not happen again but neither driver said much had changed really.

Dominant Mercedes have taken pole in all but one of the 13 races so far this year, and Saturday marked the team's seventh front row sweep of 2014.

Champions Red Bull also had a tough afternoon as they had expected, with quadruple champion and last year's winner Sebastian Vettel only eighth on the grid while Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo qualified ninth.

Ricciardo has won the previous two races, and three of the last six, and is an outside contender for the title.