Hamilton aiming to close in on Schumacher record as Ferrari braced for more pain

Lewis Hamilton will look to move one step closer to equalling Michael Schumacher's record on Ferrari's home turf this weekend.

The Briton, 47 points clear of Red Bull's Max Verstappen and heading for a seventh world title, is a five-time winner at Monza, the host of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.

Another victory, his sixth in eight races, would line the Briton up to equal Schumacher's record 91 wins at Mugello, a Ferrari-owned track hosting a grand prix for the first time to celebrate the Italian team's 1,000th race.

And the six-time world champion, who took part in Thursday's media day at Monza, will be boosted by his stunning form which has seen him win five of the opening seven races this term.

Ferrari, meanwhile, are having a wretched time this season so it may be just as well that Sunday's Italian Grand Prix will be run without spectators.

Ferrari, fifth overall and just two points clear of Renault, are heading for their worst season in 40 years and could chart new lows in their traditional home race – this year the first of three in Italy.

The sport's oldest and most successful team, winners with Charles Leclerc from pole last year, drew a blank in Belgium last Sunday after failing to qualify in the top 10.

A repeat, at a similar 'power' circuit, would be a humiliation for a team who have lost engine performance since a confidential and controversial settlement with the governing FIA earlier this year.

The last time Ferrari failed to score at Monza was in 2005, when only the top eight took points but Schumacher still finished 10th.

In 1995 Ferrari suffered a double retirement but Austrian Gerhard Berger at least started third.

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"You have to be realistic, you cannot expect miracles. The package is what it is," said four times world champion Sebastian Vettel after Spa.

"We are not as strong as we would like to be so we need to stay optimistic and see the good things, even if at the moment there are not many."

And while Ferrari may be unpredictable this season, one thing is for certain; Hamilton will be in the mood to triumph.

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