Championship leader Lewis Hamilton is eager to come up with a strategy to defeat the two Ferraris. He plans to study late into Saturday night to find a way to beat them in Sunday’s Grand Prix.
The defending champion qualified third behind pole-sitter Kimi Raikkonen and title rival Sebastian Vettel. The Briton acknowledged Ferrari’s marginally superior speed, he said: “The start will hopefully create an opportunity for us.
“I’ve got to study hard tonight to figure out a way how I can get in front of at least one of the Ferraris on the first lap.
“It’s great that Valtteri (Mercedes team-mate Bottas) is right behind me so we can really apply the pressure on the red cars.”
The 4-time world champion broke Juan-Pablo Montoya’s record at Monza, set in 2004. However, it was not enough to earn a front row spot as his run of four Italian poles ended.
“They did a solid job,” he said. “We gave it everything we could – it’s obviously incredibly close between us, but they’ve had the upper-hand this weekend. Everyone in the team is working as hard as they can to make the difference.
“It’s incredibly close, which is great for the sport and it’s great to see so many fans here.
“We’ve improved the car overnight and I’m really happy with where we were today. I’m proud of my guys for pushing this hard.
“We’ve squeezed absolutely everything out of the car, I kind of knew that the Ferraris might just be able to pull out some extra bit of time.
“We’ve got to fight hard tomorrow. The long run pace of the Ferraris looked quicker than ours, so it’s not going to be easy — that’s for sure.”
Team-mate Bottas will be starting fourth, completing an all-Mercedes 2nd row. The Finn said: “It has been difficult. We tried some set-up changes for final practice and it was better in the corners, but on the breaking, I lost performance. It was easy to lock up.
“But this is only qualifying and the weekend is not over. We will give it everything tomorrow in the race. The first lap is going to be interesting – we might get a bit of tow-effect into Turn One.