Monza (Italy), Sep 3 (IANS) British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, a three-time Formula One world champion, secured pole position for the 2017 Italian Grand Prix in a rain-plagued qualifying session at Monza.
It was a record 69th pole for Hamilton, who just last week in Belgium tied the mark held by Germany’s Michael Schumacher.
Hamilton covered the circuit in one minute and 35.554 seconds on Saturday, to beat out Red Bull’s Dutch Max Verstappen, although the latter will not start on the front row due to a grid penalty, Efe news reported.
Australian Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo came in third but also was penalized for making illegal engine component changes.
Instead, Canada’s Lance Stroll of Williams Martini Racing, who finished fourth in the third and final round of qualifying, will start the race alongside Hamilton on the front row.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon finished fifth in Q3 and will start third alongside Finnish Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton (213 points) can tie or leapfrog 2017 drivers’ standings leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari with a victory in Sunday’s race.
Vettel, who has 220 points, will start on the third row on Sunday.