Lewis Hamilton claims record pole position in rain-delayed thriller
Italian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Lewis Hamilton claims record pole position in rain-delayed thriller

Lewis Hamilton set a new record for Formula One pole positions after taking the 69th of his career during a soaking wet final qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix.

The two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished the session second and third, but will be demoted down the grid once penalties for engine changes earlier in the weekend are applied. That will promote Lance Stroll to the front row after the 18-year-old rookie hooked up a remarkable lap to set the fourth fastest time behind the Red Bulls. Esteban Ocon will start third for Force India ahead of Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel fifth and sixth on the grid after struggling in the wet conditions.

Hamilton's lap proved to be a rewarding climax following an extensive rain delay in the first part of qualifying, which resulted in the hour long session taking three hours and 40 minutes to complete. A break in the rain saw Q1 and Q2 took place in drying conditions, but another deluge ahead of Q3 resulted in full-wet conditions as the pole-position shootout got underway.

For much of the session the Red Bull drivers looked as though they would set the fastest times, but in the final moments Hamilton put on a fresh set of full-wets to set a remarkable lap, 1.148s clear of Verstappen's best effort. Ricciardo was another 0.139s off his teammate but both drivers will slip down the order -- Verstappen 20 places and Ricciardo 25 -- once their grid penalties for engine changes earlier in the weekend are applied.

That will promote Stroll to the front row alongside Hamilton after he set a time 1.478s off the Mercedes driver. The 18-year-old put together a brilliant lap in the conditions to beat Ocon's Force India by 0.687s. Bottas made a mistake on his final lap in Q3 and will start fourth as a result, directly ahead of the two Ferraris which both looked uncomfortable in the full-wet conditions. Felipe Massa took ninth -- 1.2s off Williams teammate Stroll -- ahead of McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne.

Drying conditions during Q2 saw the fastest times set on intermediate tyres right at the end of the session, providing Vandoorne with the opportunity to break into the top ten. Sergio Perez fell victim to the changing conditions, missing out on a place in Q3 by just 0.002s to teammate Ocon. Nico Hulkenberg was 12th fastest ahead of Fernando Alonso in 13th, although both face grid penalties (Hulkenberg 10 places and Alonso 35) and will slip behind Daniil Kvyat in 14th. Carlos Sainz was 15th but also faces a penalty of ten places on Sunday's grid.

The first session of qualifying got underway in heavy rain and within four minutes it was suspended after Romain Grosjean aquaplaned on the pit straight at over 290km/h and clipped the barrier. The Frenchman had complained about the conditions moments earlier and after coming to a halt with a damaged front wing and right rear wheel, opened his radio channel to say "I told you it was too dangerous!"

The rain intensified as the Haas was cleared away, causing a delay of over two and half hours before a break in the weather around 16:30 local time. When Q1 got back underway at 16:40, all drivers initially went out on the wets before switching to the intermediates as conditions improved. 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.

However, once all the penalties have been applied, the bottom six places on the grid are expected to be as follows, with all other drivers moving up ahead:

15th: Verstappen
16th: Hulkenberg
17th: Ricciardo
18th:Palmer
19th: Sainz
20th: Alonso

Related news

Bottas beats Hamilton to victory in Abu Dhabi

Bottas beats Hamilton to victory in Abu Dhabi

Valtteri Bottas withstood race-long pressure from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to end the season with a victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole

Valtteri Bottas secured pole position ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton at the final race of the season as the Mercedes drivers locked out the front row of the grid in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton stays on top to lead Mercedes one-two in Abu Dhabi final practice

Lewis Hamilton stays on top to lead Mercedes one-two in Abu Dhabi final practice

Lewis Hamilton topped the final practice session ahead of qualifying for Formula One's season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP2

Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP2

Lewis Hamilton swapped places with Sebastian Vettel at the top of the order as Mercedes and Ferrari remained close during Friday evening practice at Yas Marina.

Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in first Abu Dhabi practice

Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in first Abu Dhabi practice

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel set the pace in opening practice for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday with Lewis Hamilton second fastest for Formula One champions Mercedes.

Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second

Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second

Thierry Neuville won the final round of the 2017 World Rally Championship as his closest challenger, Jari-Matti Latvala, crashed out of second place on Rally Australia's Power Stage.

Sebastian Vettel beats Valtteri Bottas to win in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel beats Valtteri Bottas to win in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel claimed his fifth win of the season after beating Valtteri Bottas to victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Marquez takes fourth MotoGP title in five years

Marquez takes fourth MotoGP title in five years

Honda's Marc Marquez won his fourth MotoGP world championship in five years on Sunday after his only rival Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of the season-ending race in Valencia.

Bottas takes pole after Hamilton crashes out

Bottas takes pole after Hamilton crashes out

Valtteri Bottas beat Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to pole position with a last-gasp effort in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, after newly-crowned Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton crashed out in the first session.

RELATED NEWS

Bottas beats Hamilton to victory in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Bottas beats Hamilton to victory in Abu Dhabi

Valtteri Bottas withstood race-long pressure from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to end the season with a victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying

Valtteri Bottas pips Lewis Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole

Valtteri Bottas secured pole position ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton at the final race of the season as the Mercedes drivers locked out the front row of the grid in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton stays on top to lead Mercedes one-two in Abu Dhabi final practice
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP3

Lewis Hamilton stays on top to lead Mercedes one-two in Abu Dhabi final practice

Lewis Hamilton topped the final practice session ahead of qualifying for Formula One's season finale in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP2
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP2

Lewis Hamilton puts Mercedes on top in FP2

Lewis Hamilton swapped places with Sebastian Vettel at the top of the order as Mercedes and Ferrari remained close during Friday evening practice at Yas Marina.

Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in first Abu Dhabi practice
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP1

Sebastian Vettel leads Hamilton in first Abu Dhabi practice

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel set the pace in opening practice for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday with Lewis Hamilton second fastest for Formula One champions Mercedes.

Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second
WRC Rally Australia

Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second

Thierry Neuville won the final round of the 2017 World Rally Championship as his closest challenger, Jari-Matti Latvala, crashed out of second place on Rally Australia's Power Stage.

Sebastian Vettel beats Valtteri Bottas to win in Brazil
Brazil Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel beats Valtteri Bottas to win in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel claimed his fifth win of the season after beating Valtteri Bottas to victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Marquez takes fourth MotoGP title in five years
Valencia Grand Prix

Marquez takes fourth MotoGP title in five years

Honda's Marc Marquez won his fourth MotoGP world championship in five years on Sunday after his only rival Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of the season-ending race in Valencia.

Bottas takes pole after Hamilton crashes out
Brazil Grand Prix - Qualifying

Bottas takes pole after Hamilton crashes out

Valtteri Bottas beat Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to pole position with a last-gasp effort in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, after newly-crowned Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton crashed out in the first session.