Kimi Raikkonen secures first pole position in 129 races in Monaco Grand Prix Qualifying

With Lewis Hamilton fastest in first practice, Sebastian Vettel fastest in second practice, and Ferrari topping third practice with a 1-2, it was shaping up to be a Ferrari day in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, but with Red Bull Racing also looking competitive, the battle for pole position was far from decided for one of the most important sessions of the weekend.

Kimi Raikkonen secures first pole position in 129 races in Monaco Grand Prix Qualifying

Qualifying 1:

In the first session of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, Max Verstappen set the early pace for Red Bull Racing, however things were close at the top, with only 0.039 seconds separating first to third in the field. Qualifying 1 marked the elimination of five drivers, narrowing the field to 15 drivers for Q2. Esteban Ocon was knocked out of qualifying for Force India, marking the third time that the team have had a car knocked out in the first part of qualifying in 2017. Going into the session, the Frenchman may have had a knock in confidence after crashing in FP3, explaining his lack of pace in the session. Joining Ocon was Jolyon Palmer, who only managed to qualify in 17th place for Renault after suffering from understeer and having limited running in the session after picking up a puncture early on. Lance Stroll was once again knocked out of Q1 for Williams while his team mate progressed to the next session. He qualified in 18th. The two Sauber drivers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the session in 19th and 20th after constantly being slowest in practice so far this weekend. Ericsson’s session also ended early, when his left rear tyre slipped its rim following contact with the wall, ending his day.

Qualifying 2

Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in the second session of qualifying with 1:12.231 – the fastest lap of the weekend so far. Raikkonen was 0.218 seconds faster than Vettel who was second fastest in the session. Another five drivers were eliminated in Q2, and with the session coming to an early end after Stoffel Vandoorne brought out the yellow flags with 17 seconds of the session to go, a number of drivers are out of position on the grid. Daniil Kvyat only managed 11th in Q2 for Toro Rosso after showing strong pace throughout the weekend, bringing his qualifying session to an early end. Nico Hulkenberg was also eliminated from the session and was 12th fastest for Renault. Like Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen was another driver who was eliminated in Q2 after showing a lot of pace for the Haas F1 Team in FP2 and FP3. The biggest shock of the session came from Lewis Hamilton, with the championship leader being knocked out of qualifying early for Mercedes after struggling to set clean and fast laps and ultimately being caught out by Vandoorne’s accident at the end of the session. Felipe Massa was slowest in Q2 in what has been a difficult weekend for Williams, leaving him in 15th place.

Qualifying 3

Going into the final session of qualifying, the battle for pole position was looking close with both Ferrari drivers looking evenly matched and Red Bull Racing looking closer to the front of the grid than usual. As the drivers headed out for their runs of the session, Kimi Raikkonen set the early pace for Ferrari, multiple tenths ahead of his nearest challengers. The drivers then filtered into the pits and filtered back out for their final laps of the session with only a few minutes to go. With Raikkonen improving from his previous time earlier in the session, the Finnish driver was in prime position to take pole, with his nearest challenger, Sebastian Vettel, being multiple tenths off. In his final run, Vettel improved in the first sector as did Bottas, but lost time later in the lap, handing pole position to Raikkonen. Vettel remained in second place while Valtteri Bottas qualified in third place for Mercedes, only 0.002 seconds slower than Vettel. Max Verstappen put his Red Bull RB13 into fourth place, out qualifying his team mate, Daniel Ricciardo, who qualified in fifth place. Carlos Sainz Jr impressively qualified in sixth for Toro Rosso and will start alongside Ricciardo on the third row of the grid. Sergio Perez qualified in seventh place ahead of Romain Grosjean while Jenson Button qualified in ninth place. Stoffel Vandoorne did not set a lap in Q3 after crashing at the end of Q2. Although the two McLaren drivers qualified in ninth and tenth, both drivers will start further down the grid following penalties, promoting Daniil Kvyat into ninth place and Nico Hulkenberg into tenth for the race start. Vandoorne will start in 12th while Button will start in 20th.

This result marks Kimi Raikkonen’s first pole position in 129 races having last started from the first grid slot since the 2008 French Grand Prix. With the grid being very mixed up ahead of Sunday’s race, the Monaco Grand Prix is shaping up to be an interesting and thrilling battle with a number of drivers being out of position on the grid.

Qualifying results from the Monaco Grand Prix:

  1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:12.178
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:12.221
  3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:12.223
  4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1:12.496
  5. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing, 1:12.998
  6. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1:13.162
  7. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:13.329
  8. Romain Grosjean, Haas F1, 1:13.349
  9. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:13.613
  10. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, No time
  11. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, 1:13.516 (Q2)
  12. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:13.628 (Q2)
  13. Kevin Magnussen. Haas F1,  1:13.959 (Q2)
  14. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:14.106 (Q2)
  15. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:20.529 (Q2)
  16. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:14.101 (Q1)
  17. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1:14.696 (Q1)
  18. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:14.893 (Q1)
  19. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, 1:15.159 (Q1)
  20. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:15.276 (Q1)

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