Hamilton says he will extend Mercedes deal this year

"Even (founder) Enzo Ferrari was always talking about the Italian Grand Prix as "The Grand Prix", said team principal Maurizio Arrivabene after Friday practice. "I am going to have some pasta tonight to celebrate". "These guys definitely made me work for it today, which I am grateful for", added Hamilton, referring to the Red Bull pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo who were second and third fastest.

Bottas has performed well in his first season with the Silver Arrows and sits 41 points adrift of current leader Sebastian Vettel and 34 short of Hamilton in the standings. "I have no idea what the problem was", said Vettel, who will start from sixth.

"I was surprised by how quick the others went", Vettel told BBC Sport. Clearly we couldn't go the same pace, at this stage we don't know why.

"He had some very good moments, like in Sochi, and he had more hard races like in Spa", Wolff added.

"We can improve the auto", he said.

The McLaren driver's engine is set to be upgraded to Honda at Monza and as a result of already having used his permitted number of engine parts, an automatic penalty is now set be enforced.

Sergio Perez looked to have joined Force India team-mate Ocon in making Q3 after a late improvement in Q2, but his lap was 0.002s slower than Ocon's and failed to get the job done after a last-gasp effort from Vandoorne. It promises to be a wet race tomorrow and Hamilton certainly has had a great start.

"It was nice that it stayed dry because all the forecasts said that the rain could affect the running - and we could have limited running before qualifying, and the race, in the dry, but we got our full plan done".

Verstappen, Vettel, Bottas and then Hamilton took top spot as the times tumbled. Despite the mixed conditions, the usual suspects dropped out in Q1, with Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer and the two Saubers all getting knocked out along with Grosjean.

Hamilton led Bottas by almost half a second in the morning.

"Monza is never a critical race for us", said Vettel.

Instead, Hamilton was forced to lean on all his skills and wiles to keep Vettel at bay, and acknowledged afterward: "There was no room for error".

Carlos Sainz was 15th but also faces a penalty of ten places on Sunday's grid.

The Italian GP 2017 qualifying kicked off with rain on the track, it was Grosjean who complained first of the conditions on the track before hitting the barriers at the end of the straight. Hamilton, however, remains unconcerned by Wolff's comments or Vettel's new Ferrari deal as he believes a potential extension is just a formality, something he expects to happen either in the second-half of the season or by the end of the year.

  • Julie Sanders