Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pole position at the Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s margin of 0.069 seconds was his sixth pole in eight races and puts him in the best place to score his 90th Grand Prix victory on Sunday.
It was the fastest qualifying lap in Formula 1 history, at 164.286mph, and Hamilton’s 94th pole position.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was third, from Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Neither Ferrari made it into the top 10, with Charles Leclerc in 13th and Sebastian Vettel eliminated in the first session, in 17th place, after getting caught in a mix-up as drivers jostled for the perfect position seeking a slipstream.
Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris was sixth, ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, Red Bull’s Alex Albon and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly.
“It was not the easiest,” Hamilton said. “You saw how close it was and it really demanded a clean lap.
“Valtteri was very close and pushing. I made some big changes going into qualifying and I was little nervous but it worked out just fine.”
Mercedes decided not to pursue the tow for either driver, feeling that it was not an advantage against the competing benefits of running alone on the out lap to prepare the tyres properly and having maximum downforce in the corners.
This was in stark contrast to every other team, who all pursued the optimum track position for a slipstream, which was considered by many to be worth up to 0.7secs a lap if executed properly.
The final two parts of qualifying were relatively trouble-free but the end of the first session was chaotic as drivers jostled for position, some blocking rivals as they fought on track as if it was a race.
Renault’s Esteban Ocon has been called to the stewards to explain his actions against Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen but no further action was taken on the grounds that actions were unavoidable and not dangerous.
A bad day for Ferrari
Ferrari expected to have a bad weekend on their home track, where last year Charles Leclerc won from pole, and they were in the same uncompetitive position as in Belgium last weekend.
Leclerc qualified in exactly the same place as he did at Spa, ironically benefiting from losing his first lap time in the first session after abusing track limits at Parabolica
That meant Leclerc had to go again in the middle of the session, and he did a time good enough to get him through.
But Vettel completed his first lap and did not go again until the final minutes of the session.
He ended up caught up in the melee behind Ocon and could not improve, dropping down into the relegation zone.
Red Bull were surprisingly uncompetitive, Verstappen taking his worst grid position since the Hungarian Grand Prix three races ago, and McLaren were the beneficiaries, through an outstanding lap from Sainz.
Perez delivered on the potential of the Racing Point, dubbed the ‘pink Mercedes’ as it is a copy of the world champions’ 2019 car, for the first time since Hungary.