Raikkonen Takes First Pole in Nine Seasons at Monaco
MONTE CARLO, Monaco- For the first time since the French Grand Prix of 2008, Kimi Raikkonen and his Ferrari teammate, Sebastian Vettel, locked out the front row Saturday afternoon respectively for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix as the Finn clocked a record braking final qualifying time of 1:12:178 in the final session at Monte Carlo. Raikkonen’s countryman, Valterri Bottas, finished his Mercedes in third.
But Raikkonen still knew what was important, and that was the race.
“Obviously, it is the best place to start for tomorrow, but it does not guarantee anything for tomorrow.” Stated Raikkonen afterwards. “Nevertheless, I’ll happily take it. It’s been all weekend quite OK. We’ve been struggling a little bit in certain places and we’ve been working and trying to figure it out and qualifying was better, but by no means perfect. But it is never going to be perfect. It was good enough and I was very happy with the car in there.”
Raikkonen not only had a record braking qualifying time in the last session, but also in the previous one, where he held the old record of 1:12:231. The major surprise of this second session, and of the entire day was the elimination of Lewis Hamilton, who had been struggling since Friday’s second practice session with a lack of grip in his car. Hamilton could do no better than 14th position for the race.
Both Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were close to both the Ferraris and Mercedes cars, but slipped in the order to finish fourth and fifth, respectively, while Carlos Sainz Jr. took sixth in his Toro Rosso. Sergio Perez was seventh in his Force India, and Romain Grosjean took eighth in his Haas F1 entry. For most of the season, McLaren-Honda had been struggling with everything on their car. But in Monaco, Jenson Button, filling in for Fernando Alonso, who is in Indianapolis for the 500, finished ninth, while Stoffel Vandoorne took the last top ten spot even after crashing into the Armco barriers at Tabac late in the second session. Vandoorne though, did not participate in the final session.
For Raikkonen, it has been many years since he has made such an accomplishment, but with two Ferraris on the front row, the Finn hopes that either he or his teammate can win the world’s most prestigious race.
“Obviously we have two cars in the front tomorrow, so let’s try to make the best of it.” Raikkonen concluded.
GRAND PRIX OF MONACO
At Monte Carlo, Monaco- Final qualifying results
1 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari 1:12:178
2 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari
3Valterri Bottas (FIN) AMG Mercedes
4Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing
5Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. (SPA) Toro Rosso
7Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India
8 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team
9Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren-Honda
10Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren-Honda
11Dani Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso
12Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault
13Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas F1 Team
14Lewis Hamilton (GBR) AMG Mercedes
15Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams Martini Racing
16Esteban Ocon (FRA) Force India
17Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault
18Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams Martini Racing
19Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber
20Markus Ericsson (SWE) Sauber
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.