- Lewis Hamilton snatched pole for the Italy GP
- Beat team rival Rosberg into second
- Build up dominated by tensions between the two
- Rosberg makes public apology after Belgium GP
Lewis Hamilton secured his first pole position in four months after beating fierce rival Nico Rosberg in final qualifying for Sunday's Italy Grand Prix in Monza.
Hamilton's best lap of 1 minute 24.109 seconds was enough to defeat his Mercedes teammate, who currently leads the driver's championship.
But the past week has been dominated by the fall out from the Belgium GP two weeks ago, which saw the two drivers collide followed by bitter recriminations and finally a public apology from Rosberg.
Hamilton led the pace of qualifying from the start, with Rosberg in hot pursuit. Despite some back and forth between the two, Hamilton clinched pole with an imperious Q3 qualifying time that placed him 4/5s of a second ahead of his nearest rival.
Finland's Valtteri Bottas kept up his fine season for Williams by finishing third with Brazilian Felipe Massa completing the second row.
The tension was obvious after qualifying. Hamilton and Rosberg didn't shake hands or celebrate. Indeed, they barely recognized each others' presence.
"I'm very proud of my guys on my side of the garage," Hamilton said after the final qualifying session.
"They have been through the difficult times with me. They've done a remarkable job bouncing back, so we've done this as a team and it's great to have another 1-2 for the team."
Rosberg, who had seen his Mercedes team back Hamilton after the two collided at Belgium, was downbeat after the session.
"In the race anything can happen and we need to work towards the race and get a good strategy and have a good race," he said.
"For the team again, even at a track like Monza, even coming here and being so dominant .... There's still the race tomorrow, but it's still really awesome for the team."
After what was widely considered a dull championship last year, the rivalry between Hamilton and Rosberg has set F1 alight in 2014.
Matters came to a head in Belgium when the two collided. The clash led to to Hamilton's retirement but Rosberg went on to stretch his championship lead over his teammate by 29 points.
The incident saw Rosberg receive harsh criticism from Hamilton, his own team and even the fans. In a rare outpouring of displeasure, Rosberg was booed by the crowd when on the podium after the race.
Initially Rosberg felt he had done nothing wrong but last week he issued a public apology over his actions.
"I analyzed the whole situation in a lot of detail and reached the conclusion that I had to take responsibility for what happened because it was my error of judgment," he wrote in British newspaper the Daily Mail.
"It didn't matter what part of right and wrong was involved, the fact is that it happened and I did not do a good enough job to avoid a collision between our two cars."