Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap in Formula One history to seal a dominant pole position for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton flew around Monza’s 3.54 miles of asphalt in 164.267mph on his way to a new track record at the so-called Temple of Speed.
Valtteri Bottas joins his team-mate in yet another Mercedes front-row lockout, – the Finn just seven hundredths behind Hamilton – with McLaren driver Carlos Sainz a surprise third.
On a torrid afternoon for Ferrari, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel finished 13th and 17th. It marks the first time in 36 years that both scarlet cars will start Ferrari’s home race outside the top 10.
Max Verstappen finished a disappointing fifth, one spot behind Racing Point’s Sergio Perez.
While Ferrari are in the midst of their worst crisis in a generation, Hamilton continues his crushing stranglehold of the sport.
Hamilton eclipsed Kimi Raikkonen’s one-lap record of 163.785mph, set by the former world champion on his way to pole two years ago.
This was Hamilton’s 94th career pole, his seventh in Monza, and he will start as the favourite to win for a 90th time on Sunday, moving him to within just one victory of Michael Schumacher’s record.
“It really demanded a clean lap, so I am really happy with the laps I did,” said Hamilton. “Valtteri was close, I made some changes ahead of qualifying, and I was a bit nervous but I got the job done.
“In the years I have driven here, I would say there is a lot of grip around, and the speed we are going through the Lesmos is insane.”
Ferrari chief executive Louis Camilleri has given his blessing for beleaguered team principal Mattia Binotto to continue in his role.
But the 50-year-old will face further questions over his future here on Saturday evening after another miserable display from his under-performing team.
Vettel was the first to fall, knocked out of Q1 after he came unstuck in traffic as he squabbled for position through the Parabolica in order to maximise the tow along the pit straight.
“What a mess”, he said after he failed to improve on his time. Leclerc made it through to Q2, but failed to trouble the top 10, eliminated in 13th.
“The best I can do, the best I can do”, said Leclerc. In 70 editions of Ferrari’s home race, when both cars have go to the line, the Italian team have never had both drivers finish outside the top 10. That streak would appear to be in grave danger.
Lando Norris finished sixth for McLaren, with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo seventh.
Earlier, George Russell made his feelings know to his Williams team after he was held up in traffic.
“Guys, come on,” said Russell who qualified last but one of the 20 runners. “We need to be the ones capitalising on these f***-ups, not the ones in the f***-ups.”