MONZA, Italy — Lewis Hamilton has congratulated Kimi Raikkonen on his pole position at the Italian Grand Prix, saying he simply could not match the pace of the Ferrari driver at Monza.

Raikkonen took a surprise pole position ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel on Saturday, with Lewis Hamilton settling for third place in the Mercedes. He was only 0.175s off Raikkonen’s fastest lap — and 0.014s off Vettel — but said his Mercedes simply did not have the performance to challenge.

“At the end of the day Kimi did the job,” he said. “I don’t think I could have gone any quicker. I’m sure you can always look at the data and see there’s a little bit more but of course I’m pushing the car as hard as I can and I’m really happy with the performance, really, this weekend. We just need that little bit more.”

Hamilton said Ferrari had looked like the quicker team throughout free practice and hopes changes made to his car’s setup from Friday will make it more competitive in the race.

“We knew they had the pace this weekend. It was going to take something quite special with the lap to catch them but it’s generally been that kind of distance between them all weekend. Of course, we were hopeful that we might be able to give them a run for their money.

“It was just amazing how intense it was – and that’s how racing should be. So, I really enjoyed it thoroughly, to be honest.”