Raikkonen pips Vettel, Hamilton to shock Monza pole
Italian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Raikkonen pips Vettel, Hamilton to shock Monza pole

01/09/2018

Kimi Raikkonen secured a surprise pole position at the Italian Grand Prix with the fastest ever qualifying lap in Formula One at an average speed of 163.785 mph.

Raikkonen beat teammate Sebastian Vettel to the top spot by 0.161s to secure the first Ferrari pole position at Monza since 2010. The order of the two Ferraris was not what the Tifosi would have expected, but the Italian crowd erupted in delight regardless as the Finn set a 1:19.119 -- smashing the old lap record, which has stood since 2004, by 0.4s.

Vettel made a mistake on his fastest lap when he ran wide on the exit of the second chicane and after initially celebrating what he thought was pole position at the chequered flag, later radioed his team to say "we will talk about it later". Raikkonen had benefitted from a slipstream from his teammate by being the second of the two Ferraris on track as per the agreement within the team to alterante the running order from race to race.

Lewis Hamilton had set the fastest time on the first runs in Q3, but couldn't match the Ferrari's on the second attempt and finished 0.175s off Raikkonen. Considering his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was a further 0.362s off, it was a solid attempt by Hamilton but ultimately the power of the Ferrari engine made the difference.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen will line up fifth on the grid after clocking a lap 1.335s off Raikkonen and will have the Haas of Romain Grosjean alongside him in sixth. Carlos Sainz took seventh place for Renault ahead of Esteban Ocon in the Force India, Pierre Gasly in the Toro Rosso and a surprise appearance in the top ten from the Williams of Lance Stroll.

Kevin Magnussen dropped out in Q2 after a bizarre incident involving Fernando Alonso where the two drivers went wheel to wheel into first corner on their flying laps. Alonso had been behind Magnussen on their outlaps but attempted to pass the Haas on the outside into the first corner, only for Magnussen to defend his track position. Inevitably, both drivers' lap was ruined in the opening corner, with Magnussen qualifying 11th overall and Alonso 13th.

In normal circumstances, the driver behind -- i.e. Alonso -- would leave enough space to the car in front to gain a slipstream but not catch the car in front. The two drivers were summoned to the stewards to explain the incident after the session.

Sergey Sirotkin has unenviable job of splitting the two of them on the grid in the Williams after setting the 12th fastest time. Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo made it through to Q2 but opted not to set a time as they will both go to the back of the grid thanks to grid penalties.

Sergio Perez was eliminated in the first session of qualifying after a flurry of quick laps at the end of Q1 saw him plummet down the order. He was just 0.001s off a place in Q2 and appeared to miss out as the grip from the track ramped up in the closing stages as he was returning to the pits. Perez will gain two places back when the grid penalties of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg are applied, but starting 14th will be disappointing after he topped a wet first practice session on Friday.

Charles Leclerc was 17th fastest in the Sauber and was only 0.002s off a place in Q2 and, underlining the small margins at play, just 0.1s off Sainz's Q1 time, which was good enough for eighth. A further 0.045s back, Brendon Hartley was 18th fastest ahead of the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson in 19th. For the second race in a row, Stoffel Vandoorne was the slowest driver in qualifying, but will move forward three places with the penalties of Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Ericsson applied.

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