F1: Lewis Hamilton claims pole at Italian GP but Ferrari keeps pace

    Lewis Hamilton (center) celebrates next to Sebastian Vettel (L)  Kimi Raikkonen after claiming pole position during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy.

    Story highlights

    • Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes claims pole at Italian Grand Prix
    • Ferrari drivers hot on Briton's heels with strong qualifying performance

    (CNN)Lewis Hamilton made it seven pole positions on the spin and a dominant 11 out of a possible 12 this season by topping qualification for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza Saturday.

    The Mercedes driver clocked the fastest lap with a time of one minute and 23.383 seconds to finish three tenths clear of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen who will begin Sunday's race at the front of a Formula 1 grid for the first time since 2013.
    Raikkonen took advantage of the misfortune that befell Hamilton's teammate and primary title rival, Nico Rosberg, who was forced to change engines before the session began. The German could only finish fourth as a result, his worst qualifying performance of the year.
    Sebastian Vettel, also of Italian manufacturer Ferrari, pipped Rosberg into third position to the delight of the home crowd.

    Ferrari keeps pace

    Rosberg trailed Hamilton by 28 points in the race for Driver's Championship coming into the weekend. But the Briton appeared more focused on continuing Mercedes' dominance of recent years than on his ever spiky duel with Rosberg when speaking to the press Saturday.