Hamilton hit the ground running after F1's summer break putting on a driving masterclass at Spa.
Hamilton can set an absolute pole position record at Monza.
"What would hurt if Lewis Hamilton wins this weekend is that he will lead the championship".
That may be true, with Vettel only finishing outside the podium places three times, and each occasion having mitigating circumstances, but neither he nor Hamilton, despite winning nine races between them this year, have actually won back-to-back races.
Esteban Ocon and Felipe Massa took their respective Mercedes-powered cars to ninth and tenth. "It's the fastest circuit on the calendar in terms of outright speed.", said Alonso.
It is the 13th race out of 20, so there is still plenty of track before the curtain comes down on the 2017 Formula One world championship.
Bottas' best lap of one minute and 21.406 seconds enabled him to finish just five hundredths of a second clear of Hamilton.
Gas prices jump overnight in some Canadian markets, led by BC, Quebec
It appears New Brunswickers are in store for a major jump in gas prices - perhaps by nine cents a litre by midnight tonight. The cheapest local listing remains Costco at 4411 Walker Rd., selling regular gas at 113.9 cents as of 10:30 a.m.
Silverstone maybe the sport's spiritual home, Monaco its shimmering seaside jewel, with Spa the track for the F1 purist, but Monza offers a full-blown adrenaline rush unlike anything else.
Hamilton finished the morning practice nearly half a second clear of his team mate, and over a second faster than the Ferraris. Since then, it has seen Red Bull - four straight drivers' and constructors' titles with Vettel behind the wheel from 2010-13 - and then Mercedes dominate.
Vettel also has been a three-time victor, last claiming the championship in 2013.
Niki Lauda, Mercedes' non-executive chairman, revealed at last week's Belgian Grand Prix - a race which Hamilton won to get his championship charge back on track - that the team had been in discussions with Vettel.
So will Mercedes continue their dominance, or will Ferrari snap a 7-year Monza winless streak?
"If Hamilton beats all his records it's okay and good for him, but it will not change for me". "He's on top form, the car's working well, but he's being pushed".
Mercedes had been a full second ahead of Ferrari in FP1 but that gap came down dramatically for the afternoon's qualifying simulations.
"Initially in FP1 we went slightly in the wrong direction with the setup, but we managed to change it around for FP2 and the auto felt a lot better". We are not yet where I think we can be, but I think we should be a bit better tomorrow. We try hard everywhere, but probably the emotions would be bigger here. So after a strong performance in Hungary and with rain in the air over the Ardennes, we are backing Kimi Raikkonen to celebrate his new Ferrari contract with a fifth career victory at Spa. Now that we are bringing the ultrasoft tyre there for Formula One, we would expect those demand s to increase further with the latest generation of cars: two stops would appear to be a likely strategy but we will know more after the first free practice sessions. Then there's Japan and that's Mercedes - it's got fast, sweeping corners rather like Silverstone.