The triple world champion, who can equal the 65 career pole
positions of boyhood idol Ayrton Senna in Saturday's qualifying,
topped the timesheets with a best lap of one minute 13.425
seconds on ultrasoft tires.
Vettel, a four times world champion with Red Bull who leads
Hamilton by six points after five races, was second and a mere
0.196 slower than the Briton with a time of 1:13.621.
Both men were inside Australian Red Bull driver Daniel
Ricciardo's 2016 pole position time of 1:13.622 with Hamilton's
the fastest yet around the metal-fenced harbourside street
Hamilton did 40 laps, Vettel 34.
The Ferrari driver is hoping to end his team's long drought in
the most glamorous -- and slowest - race on the calendar with a
first Ferrari win in the Mediterranean principality since
Michael Schumacher in 2001.
Under cloudy skies, after Wednesday's bright sunshine, Britain's
Jenson Button returned to the cockpit as a McLaren stand-in for
Fernando Alonso, who is competing at the Indianapolis 500.
The 2009 champion was 14th fastest, 1.529 off the pace, and
completed 35 trouble-free laps in a solid performance for a
driver who has not been in a Formula One car since last
Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third quickest, a positive
development for the former champions, ahead of Hamilton's
Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas and Ricciardo in fifth.
Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson both
failed to set a time, with the latter suffering a gearbox
Practice in Monaco is always on a Thursday due to Friday, the
usual day for first running on track at other races, being a
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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