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Lewis Hamilton has ramped up the pressure on title rival Nico Rosberg by claiming a seventh consecutive pole position - his 11th of the season - for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, while Kimi Raikkonen thrilled the Ferrari fans to secure his first front row since 2013.

Having led each practice session in the run up to qualifying, championship leader Hamilton was the clear favourite to keep up his extraordinary run of Saturday form around the high-speed venue and duly delivered when it mattered.

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Setting the benchmark on both soft tyre runs in Q3, Hamilton stopped the clock at 1min 23.397secs, giving him a comfortable two tenth advantage over the competition to land him a seventh pole in a row, putting him just one shy of matching Ayrton Senna's record of eight.

Indeed, Hamilton's joy will be complemented by the fact Rosberg faces an uphill battle going into the race after he only qualifying fourth. The German came into qualifying on the back foot having been forced to revert back to his Spa-specification Mercedes engine after his much vaunted upgraded power unit developed an issue in FP3.

Seemingly unable to dial in the car, Rosberg would find himself behind both Ferraris on the grid in fourth - his lowest start since China 2014 -, allowing Raikkonen to thrill the local fans by securing his first front row start since the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix.

Team-mate Vettel heads up row two in third place to add to Rosberg's woes, marking the first time Ferrari has had two cars in the top three since the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.

Behind Rosberg, Williams lock out the third row, with Felipe Massa just getting the better of Valtteri Bottas, while Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean start seventh and eighth in the best of the Force India and Lotus cars.

Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg starts ninth, despite a technical issue halting him at the top of the pit lane following his first run, while Marcus Ericsson scored his first top ten start since China with a strong run into Q3.

The only Mercedes-powered driver to miss the top ten cut, Pastor Maldonado will start 11th for Lotus, ahead of Felipe Nasr - out-qualified by Ericsson for the fourth race in succession -, while Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat completed token runs at the end of Q2 ahead of their impending penalties. Fellow Renault-powered driver Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, would not make it out in Q2, ending the session without a time.

Another team braced for penalties after qualifying, McLaren-Honda didn't progress beyond Q1 for the second race in succession, though Jenson Button did have the fillip of getting the better of Fernando Alonso in a pre-penalty 16th and 17th.

Still, they still fared marginally better than Max Verstappen, who didn't get out in time to complete a fast lap. Even so, the Dutchman's brief foray onto the circuit in the final seconds was made memorable nonetheless when, in Toro Rosso's haste to get him out, his unfixed engine cover came loose and broke away in dramatic fashion coming Curva Grange, leaving sheets of debris on the circuit and exposing the inner-workings of the Renault power unit.