Raikkonen scores pole position at Monza

Kimi Raikkonen achieved his first Formula 1 pole position of 2018 in a thrilling qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver was second fastest behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton on the first runs in the Q3 top ten shootout, but while both drivers improved Raikkonen outpaced the Mercedes star.

Sebastian Vettel briefly took top spot in after crossing the line ahead of Raikkonen, before The Iceman completed his lap to post a time 0.161 seconds faster.

Raikkonen’s superb pace in the final sector – aided by a tow from his Ferrari team-mate – was key to his pole, completing it a tenth-and-a-half faster than Vettel.

Hamilton did improve on his second run, but it wasn’t by enough and he ended up third, 0.014 seconds slower than Vettel.

Valtteri Bottas, in the other Mercedes, has struggled to match his team-mate’s pace all weekend and was fourth, 0.136 seconds slower than Hamilton.

Max Verstappen was fifth for Red Bull Racing, 1.5 seconds off the pace, and ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Haas and the Renault of Carlos Sainz Jr.

Esteban Ocon took eight for Force India, just half-a-tenth slower than Sainz.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly was ninth after a perfect run in Q2 got him into the top ten shootout, but didn’t have the pace to threaten the top eight.

Williams reached Q3 for the first time in 2018 after Lance Stroll’s strong performance in Q2. He ended up P10 and almost three-tenths behind Gasly.

Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in Q2 after heading into the first chicane side by side with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso on his final lap.

Alonso ended up P13 having failed to set a serious time on his second run as a result, saying “Magnussen wanted to race into Turn 1” and laughing over the radio.

After Q2, Haas team principal Gunter Steiner and McLaren boss Zak Brown had what appeared to be a heated discussion, presumably about this incident, in the pitlane.

The race stewards will investigate the incident after qualifying.

Magnussen’s lap was also ruined, but his first-run time almost got him into the top ten, as he ended up just 0.002 seconds slower than Gasly and just ahead of the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg did not set a time in Q2 because he is set to start on the back row thanks to a combination of a 10-place grid penalty for causing a start crash at Spa.

But Hulkenberg did do a lap, meaning he was classified ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who is also set to start on the last row thanks to power unit penalties and did not run in Q2.

Force India’s Sergio Perez was the quickest of those eliminated in Q1 during a flurry of late improvements, with both of the Williams drivers, Hulkenberg and Gasly jumping him late on.

Perez only completed one run during the session and ended up just one-thousandth of a second slower than Grosjean in the battle to make the cut in Q1.

Sauber’s Charles Leclerc failed to improve on his final flier and was relegated to 16th late on, asking “why are we so slow?” over the radio on his in-lap after lapping just 0.002 seconds off P15.

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley was P18, with the team telling him he lost a tenth-and-half in the first corner on his final lap.

This would have been enough to elevate him comfortably into the Q2 positions given he was just 0.133 seconds off tenth position.

Marcus Ericsson, who escaped a massive accident at the first chicane during FP2 on Friday was P19 ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

So congratulations to Kimi Raikkonen in scoring pole position at Ferrari’s home race. This was The Iceman first P1 since last year’s Monaco race. Championship challengers Sebastian Vettel is second with Lewis Hamilton third. Bring on the race.

Italian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m19.119s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m19.280s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m19.294s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m19.656s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m20.615s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m20.936s
7 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m21.041s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m21.099s
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m21.350s
10 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1m21.627s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m21.669s
12 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m21.732s
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m22.568s
14 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m21.888s
15 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m21.889s
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m21.934s
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m22.085s
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.048s
19 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault –
20 Nico Hulkenberg Renault –

5 thoughts to “Raikkonen scores pole position at Monza”

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

    The fastest lap in Formula 1 history. That’s what it took to snatch pole position for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix and it was Kimi Raikkonen, rather than his more decorated Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel who achieved the feat…

    Ferrari were the overwhelming favourites for pole position – and indeed their first front-row lockout at Monza since 1994 – after showing stunning pace at the Temple of Speed throughout the weekend’s practice sessions. And they delivered on their promise, to the delight of their loyal fanbase, the Tifosi.

    Raikkonen left it until the death, finally converting the brilliant turn of speed he has shown this year, to take his first pole since last year’s Monaco Grand Prix and only his second in the last decade. It was also the fastest lap in F1 history and a Monza track record. His team mate Vettel was left frustrated, having seemingly given Raikkonen a tow on that final run.

    He’ll still start second, though, ahead of main title rival Lewis Hamilton. His team mate Valtteri Bottas made it an all-Mercedes second row, with Max Verstappen slotting into fifth for Red Bull. Haas driver Romain Grosjean was best of the rest in sixth, edging out Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Force India’s Esteban Ocon. Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll produced impressive. drivers to complete the top 10 for Toro Rosso and Wiliams respectively.

    The early morning rain was just a distant memory as glorious conditions greeted the field for the opening segment of qualifying. Vettel picked up where he left off in final practice, setting an impressive benchmark early in the session and then improving on that second time around before retreating to the pits – his work done for Q1.

    His Ferrari team mate Raikkonen rode shotgun in second. What of Mercedes? Well Hamilton was the closest challenger, but he was half a second off the pace after his first run. He sliced that deficit in half next time around and that was comfortably enough to see him through.

    Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was a surprise fourth, 0.738s off the pace. His time matters little, though, as he’ll be starting from the back after a series of engine component changes triggered a hefty grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

    As the clocked ticked down, Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson sat on the bubble, with Stroll in the drop zone by just 0.037s. And Sergio Perez looked vulnerable in 12th, considering he was sat in the Force India pits. Quite remarkably, it was the two Williams who improved considerably, with Sirotkin popping into 11th and Stroll 13th – with Perez making a shock exit.

    The Mexican missed out by just 0.001s, with Romain Grosjean sneaking through in the Haas. Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne were the other four drivers to take an early bath. Leclerc was frustrated on team radio, but the margins were so fine. Just two-tenths separated Sainz in eighth and Hartley in 18th.

    Friday’s form guide suggested Ferrari would cruise to the front row, but as we’ve seen so often in Hamilton’s career, he can turn it on when it matters and outperform the car. His lap in Q2 was one such moment. The Briton pumped in the fastest lap time of the weekend by far, breaking into the 1m19s, and though Vettel pipped him a few moments later, the deficit was just 0.013s.

    Admittedly, there was more to come from Vettel, as he ran wide at Parabolica – but it highlighted that Hamilton was still in the hunt for pole if he could get everything right. Bottas was fourth, six-tenths off his team mate, with Verstappen fifth and Force India’s Esteban Ocon a superb sixth.

    The Williams duo chose to do just one run in the closing stages of the session. And Stroll made it count with a stunning effort to reach Q3 for the first time this season.

    Impressive, too, was Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, who made it through in P10. That’ll give confidence to Red Bull, who will switch to Honda power next year. Elsewhere, Vettel improved his advantage over Hamilton to 0.17s while McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen tangled into Turn 1 as they battled for track position, which in turn ruined their final runs.

    Both were knocked out of Q2, along with Sirotkin, plus Ricciardo and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg who opted not to run, given they have sizeable grid penalties for engine component changes.

    Could anyone beat Juan Pablo Montoya’s 14-year-old 1:19.525s qualifying lap record today – and in the process set the fastest lap in F1 history? Yes, they could. First Vettel smashed it. Then Raikkonen bettered that. Then came Hamilton. The trio separated by just 0.107s after the first runs, setting up a nail-biting finale.

    Vettel looked quick on his final run and sneaked into provisional pole position, but Raikkonen was flying. And for the first time in a long while, the Finn made no mistake!

  2. McLaren driver Fernando Alonso has mocked his Haas rival Kevin Magnussen for dropping out in Q2 at the Italian Grand Prix in the aftermath of their on-track run-in during qualifying.

    The pair got in each other’s way in the final moments of the second segment, as Alonso got a run on Magnussen on the start-finish straight and attempted to overtake the Dane around the outside into the Rettifilo chicane.

    He was ahead entering the first part of the chicane, but Magnussen did not yield position – and both drivers’ laps were compromised as Alonso ran out wide exiting the section.

    “Magnussen wanted to race into Turn 1,” Alonso radioed to his team with a hint of laughter, while the Dane appeared to be less amused, asking the Haas pitwall: “What the hell was Fernando doing?”

    The run-in left both drivers out of Q3, with Magnussen 11th – having missed out by just a hundredth of a second – and Alonso 13th.

    In the aftermath, the TV feed captured an argument between McLaren CEO Zak Brown and Haas team boss Gunther Steiner in the pitlane.

    Speaking to media after qualifying, Alonso argued that Magnussen cut in line during the warm-up lap – and reckoned the incident made more of a difference to Haas, which is ahead of McLaren in the pecking order this weekend.

    “We were all running together at the end of the out-lap and with all that traffic one of the Haas cars decided to overtake and start the lap in the middle of all the cars that were more or less in position.

    “So we started the lap together and we reached the first corner together and we ruined both our laps.

    “There are many classes of drivers and then there’s the Haas ones, who have the third- or fourth-best car of the grid and are out in Q2.

    “I got into Q2, which is one of the things that I wanted. It doesn’t change much for me, I guess more for them, but it’s fun, a lot of fun.”

    Both Alonso and Magnussen have been summoned to the FIA stewards over the incident.

    Source: Motorsport.com

  3. After being beaten to pole position by his Ferrari team-mate, Sebastian Vettel was left feeling unhappy and stayed silent on radio message. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    An unhappy Sebastian Vettel blamed a scrappy lap for missing out on pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, as he refused to elaborate on the reason behind a curt radio message at the end of qualifying.

    Just moments after celebrating over the radio as he briefly grabbed the top spot in Q3 at Monza, Vettel was informed by the team that he had ended up in second after being edged out by teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

    Replying over the team radio, Vettel said to the team: “We speak after.”

    Clearly disappointed about missing out on pole, the most likely cause of any annoyance from Vettel would have been that he had been handing a slipstream to teammate Raikkonen, who was running behind him.

    But pushed on his radio comment, and whether there would be team orders in the race, Vettel said: “No, I don’t think anything related to that. Clearly I wasn’t happy but I don’t tell you why.”

    Vettel said that giving the slipstream was not out of the ordinary, because it was Raikkonen’s turn to run second on the track.

    “We have an order that changes every week,” he explained. “This weekend was Kimi to go second, simple.”

    Rather than blame the slipstream issue, Vettel believed that he ultimately lost out because of a series of mistakes over his final qualifying lap.

    “To be honest, it was not a tidy lap, the other laps were actually better,” he said. “I lost a bit at the first chicane, second chicane, the Lesmos, pretty much a bit everywhere.

    “The last sector was okay but not fantastic, so not just a good lap and not good enough obviously. I was lucky to get second instead of third, but it was just not good enough.”

  4. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel commented that his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is allowed to race for the Monza win. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel says his Ferrari Formula 1 teammate Kimi Raikkonen is allowed to race for the win in the Italian Grand Prix after claiming pole position at Monza.

    Raikkonen is a distant third in the championship, 68 points behind Vettel and 85 adrift of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

    But despite the points gap – and the frequent suggestions that Ferrari prioritises Vettel – the four-time world champion says he assumes Raikkonen will challenge for victory on Sunday.

    “If he is starting from pole I guess he is allowed to win,” said Vettel.

    “It is a long race, he wants to win, I want to win. So hopefully one of us will win.”

    Vettel said he would be “a little bit” more careful into the first chicane as it is his teammate alongside him, but Raikkonen said he would drive no differently.

    “We know as a team we can race but we need to be careful with each other,” said Raikkonen.

    “I don’t see how it changes for anybody.

    “I don’t think anybody was purposefully take a stupid amount of risk to damage someone else’s car.”

    Raikkonen ended a long run of near-misses in qualifying this year to secure his first pole of the season at Ferrari’s home race.

    Despite that, he said the result is not a relief.

    “If this would be the first one then of course it is different,” he said. “We keep trying, sometimes it works out and sometimes not, it’s not as easy as it looks on TV.

    “The whole weekend has been working pretty well, conditions have been changing.

    “After practice, one of the three cars was going to get it. Today it was me but it doesn’t really change anything, tomorrow is the main job to be done.”

    Raikkonen’s future at Ferrari is unclear but he appears to be heading for another contract renewal for 2019.

    The 38-year-old said Monza was “probably the best place” to take the pole he has waited this season for.

    “The second chicane on last run was pretty decent and enough for pole position,” he said.

    “It is a lot of games going first and getting out first and this and that, but in the end there was a train of cars and that is enough [for a tow].

    “The car has been working well. We didn’t change the car since the first runs, so all running smoothly so far.

    “Hopefully tomorrow is a similar situation.”

  5. Kevin Magnussen has hit out at his Formula 1 rival Fernando Alonso in the aftermath of their run-in in qualifying, saying the Spaniard “laughed in my face” and “thinks he’s a god”.

    Alonso tried to pass Magnussen round the outside into the first chicane on the final lap in Q2, but the pair ended up scrapping for position and ruining each other’s laps as they both missed out on a Q3 berth.

    The two-time champion laughed off the encounter on team radio, and aimed derisive comments at Magnussen after the session – with the Haas driver now firing back.

    “I don’t care to speculate why he did it. I think it was just pretty stupid and not necessary,” said Magnussen, who had previous disagreements with McLaren driver Alonso earlier this year.

    “He thought he could have the perfect slipstream and overtake me. He gained, I don’t know how many tenths – but you gain a lot if you do that.

    “But I’m not going to let him pass me, and sacrifice my own lap. No way. I know he thinks he’s a god, but no way.”

    Alonso had pointed to Magnussen passing him on the out-lap as a cause of the incident.

    “We were kind of six or eight cars, in a bit of a group,” Magnussen recalled. “And at the exit of Ascari Fernando was warming his brakes, I think, so not going fast.

    “And I’m going fast, so just cruised past him. But then for some reason he decides to try and accelerate and get close to me, rather than create a gap, as everyone else is doing.

    “Obviously he got a perfect slipstream and thought he could overtake into Turn 1 – but I’d rather hang myself.”

    Asked about Alonso’s jovial reaction on the radio, Magnussen said: “He came to me after qualifying and laughed to my face.

    “Just outright disrespectful. Can’t wait for him to retire.”

    When prompted, Magnussen also commented on the Spaniard’s perceived tendency to compliment himself: “He’s talking about his laps being divine and whatnot. He literally thinks he’s a god. It’s pretty amusing.”

    The stewards investigated the run-in after the session and called up both drivers, but ultimately ruled that the incident “did not specifically constitute unnecessary impeding by either driver”.

    “If you impede someone while you’re on a push lap yourself, it’s not impeding apparently,” Magnussen said. “That part is the same as with Kimi [Raikkonen] in France.

    “Perhaps something we need to look at. I don’t really mind, as long as it’s the same for everyone, it’s fine.

    “It’d be interested to see, if it was the other way [around], how it would be. But [I] can only speculate.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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