Lewis Hamilton predicted an “easy win” for Max Verstappen in the Italian Grand Prix and said his own race will be about damage limitation.

The seven-time World Champion’s victory hopes at Monza were severely dented by a poor launch in sprint qualifying which left him starting fourth in Sunday’s main event.

Verstappen will be on pole position after finishing the 18-lap sprint second to Valtteri Bottas, who starts right at the back as a penalty for taking new Mercedes engine parts.

The scenario Mercedes had been hoping for in sprint qualifying was to have Hamilton cross the line first ahead of Bottas, the reverse order from their front-row grid positions.

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