Lewis Hamilton became the all-time record holder for Formula 1 pole positions after topping a crazy qualifying Italian Grand Prix qualifying session at Monza that took over three hours to complete.

Heavy rain overnight and throughout the morning left the track wet for the start of qualifying, but unlike in FP3, race control deemed conditions to be fine for running, starting the session at 2pm as planned.

Romain Grosjean was an early victim of the downpour in FP1, crashing out just moments after complaining he could not see where he was going, leaving the Frenchman fuming that the session ever started.

Race control duly red flagged the session and delayed its resumption until conditions improved, with track eventually being deemed dry enough to get back underway after two-and-a-half hours on hold.

A number of drivers flip-flopped between full wet and intermediate tyres throughout the session, with the latter eventually emerging as the compound to be on at the end of Q2 as Lewis Hamilton headed up a one-two finish for Mercedes.

The frenetic qualifying session took another twist when more rain fell ahead of Q3, leaving a number of drivers tip-toeing around on intermediates and requiring a switch back to full wets, costing the likes of Hamilton, Bottas and Vettel time.

With the change complete, the championship contenders began to turn in some laps, with the track growing quicker gradually as a drying line emerged and the rainfall remained steady.

The final session became a battle for track position, with Hamilton timing his final run perfectly to turn in a best lap of 1:34.660 to finish 1.1 seconds clear of the field, securing the all-time pole record in style.

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo put up the most stringent challenge to Hamilton, taking P2 and P3, but both will drop back due to grid penalties for engine changes.

As a result, Williams' Lance Stroll will start alongside Hamilton on the front row, having finished fourth overall with a stunning effort in Q3.

Fellow full-season rookie Esteban Ocon will line up third after taking P5 overall for Force India, with Valtteri Bottas ending the session sixth-fastest in the second Mercedes, 2.2 seconds off his teammate.

Ferrari had a miserable session on home soil, finishing seventh and eighth with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel respectively, while Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top 10.

Sergio Perez dropped out in Q2 after being edged out by Ocon by just 0.002 seconds, leaving him 11th overall ahead of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren's Fernando Alonso, the latter struggling to match Vandoorne for pace. Toro Rosso drivers Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr. were unable to rekindle the team's memories of 2008's wet qualifying at Monza, both falling out in Q2 in P14 and P15 respectively.

Kevin Magnussen fell seven-tenths of a second shy of a Q2 berth despite a late lap on the intermediate tyre, leaving him 16th overall. Jolyon Palmer wound up 17th after making an error on his final Q1 lap, finishing ahead of Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein, with Haas' Grosjean being classified P20 after his crash.

 

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