Hamilton pulls clear in final Italian GP practice

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Lewis Hamilton closed out practice for the Italian Grand Prix as the fastest driver after outpacing Mercedes teammate and Formula 1 championship rival Nico Rosberg on Saturday morning at Monza.

Hamilton entered the Italian Grand Prix weekend bidding to emulate Juan Manuel Fangio and claim a third consecutive win at Monza.

After lagging behind Rosberg in FP1, Hamilton set the pace in second practice on Friday afternoon before once again finishing clear in the final session on Saturday ahead of qualifying.

A fastest lap of 1:22.008 on the super-soft tire saw Hamilton finish three-tenths of a second clear of Rosberg, the pair combining for Mercedes’ third one-two of the weekend so far.

Ferrari once again finished clear of constructors’ championship rival Red Bull as Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen but their updated power unit to good use, finishing third and fourth respectively.

Williams was also able to overhaul Red Bull, with Valtteri Bottas closing out the session in P5 ahead of Felipe Massa. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were P7 and P8 in the RB12s.

Verstappen did little to win over any new friends on a tenuous weekend at Monza after appearing to block Rosberg on a hot lap mid-way through the session.

Sergio Perez was ninth-fastest for Force India ahead of Esteban Gutierrez, who gave Haas another top-10 finish.

Romain Grosjean’s session came to an early end after spinning through the first part of the Ascari chicane, beaching his Haas VF-16 car in the process. The Frenchman was unable to get back on-track, forcing him to abandon his runner and trudge back to the pits on foot.

Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 8am ET on Saturday.