The Iceman is back! Kimi Raikkonen takes Monaco Grand Prix pole

Kimi Raikkonen claimed his first Formula 1 pole position since 2008 in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix for Scuderia Ferrari.

This has been a long time coming for The Iceman. Formula 1 has gone through so many sport regulations such as groove tyres, KERS, DRS and now hybrid power units. Raikkonen has been in this game for a while so it’s refreshing to see Kimi back on top.

Raikkonen’s Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel had set the pace in practice (in FP2 and FP3), but Raikkonen moved ahead in Q2 and stayed there, eventually claiming the top spot by just 0.043 seconds as Vettel just fell short in Q3.

Valtteri Bottas was third in the best of the Mercedes, just 0.002 seconds behind Vettel, while team-mate Hamilton was forced to watch from the sidelines.

Lewis Hamilton struggled for speed throughout Q1 and Q2, and almost crashed twice after losing the rear end of his Mercedes at Massenet and Casino Square.

The triple world champion was down in P14 in Q2, as Ferrari set the pace, but looked on a lap good enough to make Q3 before Stoffel Vandoorne crashed his McLaren-Honda at the Swimming Pool.

That forced Hamilton to abandon his lap and means he will have a challenging Monte Carlo race in the midfield.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth in Hamilton’s absence, a big advantage over team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

A late improvement from Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz in Q3 lifted him to a season’s best sixth, ahead of Sergio Perez’s Force India and Romain Grosjean’s Haas.

Jenson Button qualified ninth on his return to Formula 1 in place of Fernando Alonso, but Button’s McLaren-Honda will drop to the back of the grid thanks to a 15-place penalty for engine component changes ahead of final practice.

Button’s team-mate Vandoorne rounded out the top ten, though he failed to participate in Q3 after that Q2 crash.

He will drop three places on account of a penalty for clashing with Felipe Massa at the previous race in Spain.

Vandoorne’s shunt also prevented the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat from improving at the end of Q2, so one of the stars of Thursday practice wound up only P11 in qualifying.

Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault was P12, ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas (which wasn’t affected by the yellow flags), Hamilton and the Williams of Massa, who also hadn’t set a representative time before having to abort his final flying lap thanks to the Vandoorne incident.

A last gasp effort from Grosjean knocked Esteban Ocon out in Q1.

Grosjean spun at Mirabeau in the early stages of that session, but ultimately did enough to progress.

Force India repaired Ocon’s car following a final practice crash in time to complete the final ten minutes of Q1, and Ocon looked safely through to Q2 until Grosjean’s late show.

Ocon missed the cut by 0.202 seconds but was well clear of the second Renault of Jolyon Palmer, who complained of too much understeer as he struggled to P17.

Lance Stroll’s Williams was almost two tenths slower in P18, the Canadian having to cut short his run thanks to a hydraulic leak.

He ended up ahead of only Sauber pairing Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, who clouted the barrier at the Nouvelle chicane on his final Q1 lap and had to pull off into the escape road with a broken left-rear wheel.

So a fantastic result for Scuderia Ferrari. An all red front row with the sport’s most popular driver in pole position. Overtaking in Monaco Grand Prix is very difficult and Kimi Raikkonen has a good chance of scoring that long overdue victory.

Qualifying results, Monaco Grand Prix:

1    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m12.178s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m12.221s
3    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1m12.223s
4    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m12.496s
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m12.998s
6    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m13.162s
7    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m13.329s
8    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m13.349s
9    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m13.516s
10    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1m13.628s
11    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    1m13.959s
12    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    No time*
13    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m14.106s
14    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m20.529s
15    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1m14.101s
16    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m14.696s
17    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1m14.893s
18    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1m15.159s
19    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m15.276s
20    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m13.613s*

*Grid penalties for the McLaren drivers. Stoffel for crashing into Massa at Spanish Grand Prix. Button with a change to power unit.

7 thoughts on “The Iceman is back! Kimi Raikkonen takes Monaco Grand Prix pole

  1. Monaco Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Sunday will see Kimi Raikkonen start from pole position for the first time since 2008 after the Ferrari driver dominated qualifying for the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2017. Raikkonen was 0.043s quicker than team mate Sebastian Vettel, whose championship rival Lewis Hamilton could manage only 13th.

    Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will join Bottas on the second row of the grid, with team mate Daniel Ricciardo and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz filling the third.

    Hamilton’s showing aside, the other big shocks were the McLarens of Stoffel Vandoorne and Jenson Button in ninth and 10th. Both have grid penalties, however: Vandoorne three places for his collision with Felipe Massa in Spain and Button 15 for an MGU-H and turbocharger replacement overnight.

    Q1 brought the opening round of surprises. The first was when Verstappen inched out Vettel, with 1m 13.078s to 1m 13.090s, with Raikkonen third from Ricciardo and Bottas.

    The second was that Hamilton struggled with overheating rear tyres and was only 10th, six-tenths off the pace.

    The third that Vandoorne was sixth, ahead of the close-knit Sainz, Sergio Perez for Force India and Kevin Magnussen for Haas, as Button was a respectable 11th, on Hamilton’s tail. Clearly, Mercedes had a lot of work to do and no time left in which to get it done.

    At the back, Romain Grosjean’s late improvement for Haas bounced Esteban Ocon’s Force India out of Q2, leaving him 16th on 1m 14.101s. The Frenchman had been lucky to survive a spin at Mirabeau, when Sainz was equally fortunate to avoid him. Jolyon Palmer’s understeering Renault was 17th on 1m 14.696s, ahead of Lance Stroll’s Williams on 1m 16.8963s, Pascal Wehrlein’s Sauber on 1m 15.159s and Marcus Ericsson’s sister car on 1m 15.276s. The Swede’s chances of improving were stymied when he stopped with a punctured left-rear tyre at the chicane.

    Hamilton nearly went off at Massenet on his out lap in Q2, and was down in 13th complaining of no grip when he got caught at the weigh bridge as he came in for adjustments. Up front, Raikkonen headed Vettel, Verstappen, Bottas and Ricciardo as the Briton fumed, adjustment time slipping away.

    He went into his final lap with a minute to spare, and set competitive first and second sector times, before arriving at the Swimming Pool to find Vandoorne’s seventh fastest McLaren parked in the wall, the Belgian having repeated Ocon’s FP3 error of breaking his front suspension against the inside barrier. The triple world champion was thus 14th fastest – and out.

    As Grosjean went to sixth, and Sainz, Perez and Button completed the top 10, Daniil Kvyat was left a disappointed 11th on 1m 13.516s for Toro Rosso, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault on 1m 13.628s, Kevin Magnussen’s Haas on 1m 13.959s (he, too, lost out in the Vandoorne yellow flags), Hamilton and Massa whose Williams was stranded on 1m 20.529s.

    In Q3 Raikkonen stayed fastest after the first runs with 1m 12.296s, from Ricciardo, Vettel and Bottas, as Verstappen in fifth place pitted complaining that he was losing front grip.

    Raikkonen improved quickly to 1m 12.178s on the second runs, but though he moved to second, Vettel’s 1m 12.221 wasn’t enough to dislodge his partner. Bottas really got his Mercedes wound up at last, but his 1m 12.223s just fell short.

    Behind them, Verstappen jumped to fourth with 1m 12.496s, with Ricciardo struggling on 1m 12.998s.

    Sainz was an excellent sixth with 1m 13.162s, ahead of the ever-present Perez on 1m 13.329s, while Grosjean made up for his weekend woes with eighth on 1m 13.349s. Button’s brilliant return netted him ninth on 1m 13.613s, as if he had never been away.

  2. This was a difficult qualifying session for the 2016 race winner Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes has blamed the set-up which resulted in Hamilton’s “disastrous” qualifying result. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda says Lewis Hamilton’s shock exit in the second segment of Monaco Grand Prix qualifying was down to set-up problems.

    Hamilton comfortably progressed through Q1 but struggled majorly in Q2, eventually ending up 14th.

    In the meantime, teammate Valtteri Bottas made it to the Q3 shoot-out and subsequently took third, just 0.045s short of pole.

    “We couldn’t get it [the set-up] right on Lewis’s car, therefore he had a disastrous qualifying,” Lauda told Sky Sports after the session.

    “Bottas’s car was better, very close to the second place. With him we’re happy, with Lewis, not at all.

    “We have to analyse it, check carefully what the difference is between the two cars and why the whole set-up worked on one car and not on the other.”

    Hamilton was unable to ensure a top-10 place with his first Q2 run, as he narrowly saved a big moment at Massenet and pitted while in the drop zone, complaining of a lack of grip.

    He couldn’t improve his fortunes with his first push lap on his second run either, and while he looked likely to move up the order with his very final effort, a crash for McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne up ahead at Swimming Pool forced Hamilton to back off and assured his exit.

    Asked how his qualifying would’ve gone if Vandoorne hadn’t shunted, Hamilton told Sky Sports: “I think I would have struggled. That lap may have just got me into the top 10, and then I probably would have struggled to be in the top five with the pace that I had, with whatever issue I was having in the car.

    “But it’s great to see Valtteri was able to extract the performance of the car, it shows we’re not terrible here. We’ll just have to figure out why I couldn’t be up there with him.”

    Hamilton admitted he was at a loss over his lack of pace, saying: “I don’t know, I’ve not spoken to the guys so I can’t really pinpoint it at the moment. But it’s an odd feeling, that’s for sure.”

    Responding to the suggestion that the problems from Thursday – when Mercedes languished down the order in FP2, struggling to switch on the tyres – were not solved, Hamilton said: “Clearly not. That’s why I’m 14th. Little bit unfortunate with the yellow flag, but it is what it is.”

  3. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel admitted he was “too greedy” during final Q3 lap which cost him the chance to beat his team-mate. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel says he was “too greedy” during the final flying lap that failed to beat Kimi Raikkonen to pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix.

    The German driver had set the quickest time in the first sector of his last flyer, but lost all his advantage in the remainder of the lap and finished 0.043s behind the Finn.

    Vettel, who had outqualified Raikkonen in all five previous races this year, conceded he had pushed too hard during his lap.

    “I think the car was fine, really nice to drive but I probably pushed a bit too hard in Q3, went wide in Turn 5,” said Vettel.

    “The second attempt went a bit deep so the second sector I was probably a bit too greedy. I wanted a bit too much and lost a little bit.”

    Vettel, currently leading the championship from Lewis Hamilton, is set to start at least 10 positions ahead of the Briton, who was knocked out in Q2.

    The Ferrari driver said he was not interested in Hamilton’s place on the grid.

    “I don’t really care about that,” he said. “We were both fighting for the best spot for tomorrow.”

    Despite overtaking at Monaco being virtually impossible, Vettel said that he is not expecting any issues with Raikkonen at the start of the race.

    “We’ve done enough races so we know what to do at the first corner,” he added. “We are here to race. The start here is important, the first corner is important, every race is important.

    “The start is the beginning of the race, not the end. We know that pole is important at Monaco so we know what happens,” added Vettel, who was given a reprimand for crossing the yellow line when exiting the pits.

    Raikkonen, who secured his first pole position since the 2008 French Grand Prix, refused to get carried away despite his starting position.

    “Obviously it is best place to start for tomorrow but doesn’t guarantee anything for tomorrow,” Raikkonen said. “Nevertheless I will happily take it.

    “All weekend [has been] quite okay. I have been struggling in certain places and working and trying to figure it out. Qualifying was better. Not inch perfect, but it was never going to be perfect, but good enough. I was very happy with the car.”

  4. Daniel Ricciardo has voiced his annoyance at only qualifying fifth for the Monaco Grand Prix, which he blames on a “stupid error” by his Red Bull team.

    Ricciardo ended up a full 0.820 seconds slower than pole-sitter Kimi Raikkonen in Q3 around the streets of Monte Carlo after encountering traffic during his final run.

    The Australian had previously predicted a three-way pole fight between Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull on the strength of his times in Thursday practice, when he ended up a close second to points leader Sebastian Vettel.

    But Ricciardo criticised Red Bull for putting him out in traffic for his final run, when we had clear track behind him – something he described as an “obvious and basic mistake” by his team.

    “In Q3 we committed just to doing one lap,” he explained. “In Q1 and Q2 it seemed like the rear tyres were going off doing that extra lap, and some others looked like they were starting to do it.

    “To go with strategy, we knew we needed to go hard on the outlaps, to get a clear lap out of the pits to warm the tyres up. In the last run I came out with traffic.

    “It seemed like I had such a clear track behind, I don’t know why we didn’t wait to put me out in clear air – unless the timer was going down and we weren’t going to make it, which I don’t think was the case – it just seemed like we made a stupid, silly error.

    “Maybe I’m missing something, but it seemed an obvious and basic mistake.”

    Asked if he could still challenge from fifth place on the grid, Ricciardo replied: “The race is today, to be honest. Qualifying is pretty much everything around here.

    “We’re better than fifth, from practice I didn’t even go a second quicker, we underachieved so much. And this is the last place you want to do that. Frustrating today, not happy at all.”

    Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen took fourth place on the grid, 0.318s off the pace of Raikkonen.

    Source: Motorsport.com

  5. Making his one-off race appearance, Jenson Button put on a great display to qualify in the top ten for McLaren. But due to changes with the Honda power unit, the 2009 world champion will receive grid penalties for the race. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Jenson Button says getting a grid penalty for his one-off Formula 1 comeback at the Monaco Grand Prix “hurts” after he made it into Q3 in qualifying.

    The 2009 world champion, who is filling in at McLaren while Fernando Alonso races at the Indianapolis 500 this weekend, was ninth fastest on Saturday, but he already knew he had a 15-place grid penalty after Honda changed the turbocharger and MGU-H on his engine.

    As engine-related grid penalties apply to the car, and not the driver, Button suffered because Alonso has already had to use so many new elements of his power unit this year.

    “It doesn’t matter how many races you’ve done or not, it still hurts,” said Button. “They told me yesterday – I was so excited about qualifying because Thursday went really well.

    “We both got penalties, Stoffel [Vandoorne, who carries over a penalty from the Spanish GP] will start 12th because he gains my position and I’ll start last.

    “We would have both started in the points, so it’s a shame. But hey, it’s never easy, is it?”

    Button said he enjoyed the qualifying hour, which he declared will be his final one in Formula 1.

    “To be P9, I’m very happy and I’ve enjoyed the weekend a lot,” he added. “It’s my last qualifying session, and probably one of my most enjoyable.

    “I haven’t missed F1, I’ve had such a good six months, then I got back in the car and absolutely loved it.

    “I was told to have fun and enjoy it and I definitely have – not just driving the car, but the whole F1 atmosphere.”

    Button wasn’t really a factor in Q3, where he only had the tyres to complete one run, and he said he couldn’t push to the full limit of the car.

    “I really don’t know where the limit of the car is, and you can’t find the limit around Monaco, you need to feel where the limit is on an open circuit,” he said.

    “I’ve definitely been driving within myself, which is a shame, but you have to around here because [otherwise] you’re in the wall.

    “It’s very difficult for me, but I enjoyed it immensely.”

  6. Jenson Button is likely to start Sunday’s Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2017 from the back of the grid after McLaren were forced to make unscheduled power unit changes to the British driver’s car.

    Button – in Fernando Alonso’s MCL32 for this weekend only as the Spaniard competes in the Indianapolis 500 – has received a 15-place grid penalty thanks to a new turbocharger and a new MGU-H element, both the car’s fifth of the season (exceeding the permitted four).

    “It’s awful for Jenson and awful for McLaren,” said racing director Eric Boullier, “and not expected at all. But it’s Monaco, so we’ll try anything we can.”

    Button’s misfortune means both McLarens now go into qualifying facing grid drops. Team mate Stoffel Vandoorne has already been penalised three places for causing a collision with William’s Felipe Massa in the last round in Spain.

    With both drivers set to start Sunday’s Grand Prix at or near the back of the grid, McLaren are expected to focus the rest of their Saturday running on optimising race set-up.

    Source: Formula1.com

  7. Lewis Hamilton admits he was so devastated not to progress out of Q2 in Monaco Grand Prix qualifying that he was unable to get out of his car initially.

    The Mercedes driver struggled to get his tyres working throughout qualifying, eventually losing out when Stoffel Vandoorne crashed and brought out yellow flags in the closing minutes of Q2, forcing him to abort his final lap.

    Hamilton was left stranded in 14th place, although he has gained a spot from grid penalties for Jenson Button and will therefore start Sunday’s race from 13th on the grid.

    “I was devastated after the session, to the point where I couldn’t get out of the car,” he said.

    “So much energy and work goes into these weeks, collectively as a team and individually, the way you prep yourself, and when you see the other cars able to get it to work, you can’t for the life of you think why we weren’t able to.

    “It just feels like it’s a mystery, because none of us currently understand it.”

    Hamilton admitted Mercedes was still struggling to understand the behaviour of the tyres, saying: “It’s a very, very strange thing, because I did the same thing as I do always when I leave the garage.

    “But it’s actually a case of going in and out [of the temperature range] throughout the lap, mostly under.

    “And it’s not even just the fronts or rears, it could be one tyre, and another tyre, but in general all tyres were not in the window.

    “I think it’s difficult to say whether it’s setting up the car, I don’t know how it is for everyone else. But for us, obviously we don’t understand it currently, how one car can have them working, and the other not.”

    Asked if it was a question of the team working on the car, or Hamilton himself addressing driving issues, the Briton made it clear that he felt he was doing nothing wrong.

    “I think we have to work on it together,” he said. “I mean I don’t drive the car badly, and I’m not slow here. I’ll work together collectively with the team to understand.

    “I asked them just now in the meetings, things that I could do differently, let me know. They’ll cross-examine both cars to understand if there’s anything different.

    “In the session I was like, ‘Is my out lap quick enough?’, for example. And it was virtually the same. Other things then perhaps come into it.”

    Hamilton said he hopes that teammate Valtteri Bottas – who will start third behind the two Ferraris – will be able to take points off the Prancing Horse.

    “When you don’t get through to Q3, pretty much your weekend’s done, and it’s really about trying to recover as much as you can,” said Hamilton.

    “I hope that Valtteri can win the race tomorrow, somehow he can get ahead of the Ferraris, that will be great for the team, because we want to beat them in the constructors’.

    “It’s disappointing for me, because obviously it’s not so easy for me to back him up, and score those points for the team, and I feel that for the team.

    “Everyone’s working back at the factory so hard, and they rely on me to get it together, and somehow I was able to. But we stand together, we lose as a team.”

    He added: “Tomorrow I’ll try everything I can to get up as high as possible, it’s very hard to overtake, and we will have to take some risks. But as always, they will be weighed up.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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