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F1 Italian GP: Hamilton on top as Mercedes crank it up

Lewis Hamilton has maintained his place at the top as Mercedes turn up the power to leave its rivals trailing once again at Monza.
CLICK HERE for full Italian Grand Prix FP3 times.

Lewis Hamilton has maintained his place at the top as Mercedes turn up the power to leave its rivals trailing once again at Monza ahead of qualifying.

The Mercedes pair both ran qualifying simulations midway through FP3 on the super-soft tyres, with Nico Rosberg setting the benchmark of a 1m 22.401s before Hamilton trumped it by four-tenths to set a 1m 22.008s.

Earlier in the session Rosberg came close to a clash with Max Verstappen who could come under more scrutiny after his latest incidents from Spa.

The Dutch youngster was accused of blocking the German over the radio when Verstappen, on a slow lap, appeared to get in the way of Rosberg, on a hot lap, through the Ascari chicane.

Hamilton's top time saw him pull out a 1.3-second gap on Sebastian Vettel in third with Ferrari continuing to protect its upgraded power units ahead of qualifying and the race.

In truth, both Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen did not run complete qualifying simulations – which has exaggerated the time deficit to Mercedes – but Ferrari kept clear of the chasing pack in third and fourth respectively.

ITALIAN GP: 6 Things to WATCH out for in Monza

Williams came to the fore at Monza by moving up as the third-fastest team in FP3 with Valtteri Bottas fifth and Felipe Massa sixth, ahead of both Red Bulls as Daniel Ricciardo claimed seventh ahead of Verstappen in eighth.

The competitive midfield battle once again intensified with Sergio Perez taking ninth less than a tenth of a second ahead of Esteban Gutierrez in the Haas completing the top ten narrowly in front of the second Force India of Nico Hulkenberg.

Romain Grosjean was denied the chance to demonstrate his pace in FP3 after spinning off at the Ascari chicane 13 minutes into the session. The French driver beached his Haas on the left-hand side of the chicane leaving him stranded on the outside of the track for the rest of the final practice session.

McLaren's Jenson Button and Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz nipped ahead of Grosjean with Jolyon Palmer in the Renault impressing in 15th despite a small off in the closing stages.

Similarly, Marcus Ericsson found useful late gains for Sauber to rise to 16th ahead of Fernando Alonso, Felipe Nasr and Kevin Magnussen with Daniil Kvyat and the Manor pair completing the runners.

CLICK HERE for full Italian Grand Prix FP3 times.

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