Ferrari can challenge Mercedes with improvements — Sebastian Vettel

Hamilton dominates first practice at Monza

Monza requires horsepower, and the Mercedes has more than Ferrari, Renault and Honda. Fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen finished the race in fifth, with Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo splitting the two teammates.

"We have a very strong car and will have a very strong end of the season".

Hamilton now sits atop the F1 championship standings. He tangled with Felipe Massa (Williams) on lap 3 and got a flat front tire. We have gone from strength to strength.

Rounding out the top ten was Red Bull's other driver, Max Verstappen. Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll were attacking him at the start, but the Brit denied all their efforts. Drivers spend 79 percent of a lap at full throttle, interrupted only by the two corners such as the Lesmos, Variante Ascari and Parabolica. "I respect it, appreciate it and I am happy".

"Monza is probably the best track for overtaking on the calendar".

The Englishman said that he respected the passion of the Ferrari-mad crowd.

Hamilton now leads the 2017 Drivers' Championship with 238 points. "That's why I went up and down on engine".

Hamilton dominates first practice at Monza
First and second, Hamilton and Stroll beats records on the qualifications of the Grand Prix of Italy

"I think that the job the guys did analysing the deficit that we had in Spa was very awesome".

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was also left surprised by Ferrari's lack of pace, but insists he won't judge his team's rivals based on its performance on Sunday.

"We gave everything for the people out there". But we looked after ourselves, and we'll see what we can do tomorrow. The spirit is there, we just need to keep it up.

It was his third Italian Grand Prix win in four years and 59th career victory - only Michael Schumacher, whose pole record he beat, can boast more - and few have been more straightforward.

The win, which came a decade after Hamilton's maiden pole, surpasses Schumacher's record of 68 pole positions and puts Vettel under severe pressure for Sunday's race. The fight will continue.

Hamilton has won three of the last four grands prix - a run which started at July's British Grand Prix - to move to the summit of the championship for the first time since this stage one year ago.

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